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World’s top ocean athletes to compete in new Maui Jim OceanFest in Kaanapali

By Staff | Mar 5, 2015

KAANAPALI – Maui Jim Sunglasses last week announced the launch of a new sporting event in which hundreds of the premier ocean sports athletes from around the world will compete on Kaanapali Beach.

Registration is now open for the first annual Maui Jim OceanFest, slated for June 6-7 fronting the Kaanapali Beach Hotel.

Over the course of the two days, teams and individuals will compete in a unique ocean lifeguard-style event that showcases the breadth of a wide range of international and Hawaiian-style competitive ocean sports.

Athletes will compete for $40,000 in prize money – one of the largest purses in the world for this type of event, Maui Jim Sunglasses reported.

“This is the first major international event that has been staged by Maui Jim,” said Jay Black, vice president, Global Marketing for Maui Jim Sunglasses.

“For more than 30 years, our brand has been synonymous with enhancing the experience that people have outdoors in the sun, especially around water. We look forward to hosting people from around the world for an unusual ocean experience, right on the beaches where our sunglasses were first created.”

OceanFest will take place one week after the Maui Jim Molokai Challenge, considered the world championship for surfski and OC-1 paddling.

“We have designed Maui Jim OceanFest to offer the most intense competition for athletes,” said Matt Dubrule, Maui Jim event director.

“But, it’s also a terrific experience for spectators, because Kaanapali Beach allows us to race near the shore. The views will be spectacular, and the races will be fast, competitive and fun.”

The “sprint” nature of each race will create constant excitement for participants and spectators. Races will be no longer than five to ten minutes in length, broken into open and age group categories for men and women. Participants are encouraged to enter multiple races to accrue cumulative points.

Races include swimming, paddleboard, stand-up paddling (SUP), one-person outrigger canoe, surfski and elite mixed events that combine the various disciplines.

For updated race schedules and events, visit MauiJimOceanFest.com.

Complementing an elite field of international ocean athletes, many of Maui Jim’s more than 200 brand ambassadors are expected to participate, most of whom are elite paddlers, surfers and well-known ocean athletes.

The world’s top SUP champion, Connor Baxter, will join a pack of the top paddlers, including Zane Schweitzer and Riggs Napoleon.

OC-1 Champions Kai Bartlett and Pat Dolan, and a long list of the world’s top surfski racers will take to the waters.

For an updated list of registered participants, visit raceroster.com/events/2015/4684/maui-jim-oceanfest/participants.

Surrounding the races will be a Hawaiian beach experience in front of the official host hotel, Kaanapali Beach Hotel.

On the evening of June 7, festivities will include a party at the Kaanapali Beach Hotel with food, music and awards.

Event organizers said the Maui Jim OceanFest will be seen by more than 63 million viewers in 41 U.S. markets and in five countries. International television coverage will be provided by ZONE Media (Ocean Paddler Television, Hawaiian Extreme and WHATSUP). U.S. distribution will be on Universal Sports Network, Hawaiian Skies (Hawaiian Airlines in-flight), Outside Television and Time Warner OC16.

Registration will remain open until reaching capacity. Athletes are encouraged to register for more than one race at no additional charge. Early-bird registration fees until May 23 are $125 to participate in all events on one day or $200 to participate in all events over two days.

Registration fees will be donated to nonprofit charities: Hale Makua Health Services, Imua Family Services, Women Helping Women, Maui Arts and Cultural Center, and the Maui County Junior Lifeguard Program.

Maui Jim OceanFest partners include the Kaanapali Beach Hotel, Kaanapali Beach Resort Association, Hale Makua, Maui Junior Lifeguard Association, United States Lifeguard Association, ZONE Media, Kanaka Ikaika Paddling Association and Kai Wa’a Canoes.