Saturday, Dec. 3, is the inaugural Wailea Molokini Challenge, a benefit paddle/swim circumnavigating Molokini to raise money and awareness for the diverse population of people with disabilities on Maui.
Island paddlers are invited to participate in a variety of popular divisions, including stand up, OC-1, OC-2 and traditional outrigger canoe. Age divisions include teen, adult and senior.
The race begins and ends on Wailea Beach and will be followed by a picnic lunch for all race/event participants provided by Outback Steakhouse. The race entry fee of $35 includes refreshments.
Karen Gaffney, seen here preparing for her record wintertime swim across Lake Tahoe, will swim the course from Molokini to Wailea Beach, finishing in front of the Grand Wailea Resort between 10 and 11 a.m. as part of the Wailea Molokini Challenge on Saturday, Dec. 3, an awareness and fundraising event for Ka Lima O Maui and Best Buddies Hawai‘i.
Leading the charge at this inaugural event is world-renowned swimmer Karen Gaffney. An incredible success story, Gaffney, who has Down syndrome, will swim the course from Molokini to Wailea Beach, finishing in front of the Grand Wailea Resort between 10 and 11 a.m. She has broken many records, completed many notable ocean swims (including crossing the English Channel) and has been featured on NBC's "Today Show." Around the globe, she is an inspiration to athletes and ocean-lovers, as well as people with disabilities.
The swim will start at 6 a.m. Paddlers will take off from Wailea Beach from 7 to 9 a.m. to circumnavigate Molokini and then paddle back to Wailea Beach.
Later that afternoon from 4 to 8 p.m., the Wailea Molokini Challenge Benefit Lu'au at the Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa will feature celebrity guests. The community is invited to meet Karen and enjoy an evening of Hawaiian entertainment and hula, a lu'au buffet, silent auction, awards ceremony and prizes.
Actress Maureen McCormick (aka Marcia Brady of "The Brady Bunch") will present awards to the winning competitors.
Lu'au tickets are just $75 for the general public and $55 for race participants and their families.
Proceeds from the event support two fine Maui nonprofit organizations, Ka Lima O Maui and Best Buddies Hawai'i, which provide friendships, leadership training and jobs for our students and adults on Maui with disabilities.
Register online at www.kalimaomaui.org.
Spectators and supporters welcome!
Contact Ka Lima O Maui at 244-5502 or Best Buddies Hawai'i at 242-6962 for information.
Submit event press releases to editor@maui weekly.com. Type "blue column" in the subject line.