(Honolulu Hawai`i April 28, 1997)--Coffee Partners Hawaii, an
authorized licensee of Starbucks Coffee International, has signed on as
title sponsor of the annual Moloka`i to O`ahu solo kayak and canoe race
which is produced and organized by Kanaka
Ikaika, Hawaii's oldest
organized racing club. This year's event will be held on Sunday, May
18, 1997, and has been renamed the
Starbucks Moloka`i Challenge. The
sponsorship includes monetary donation, volunteer support and Starbucks
The Starbucks Moloka`i Challenge is the world championship of kayak and one-person canoe racing. An international contingent of men and women race solo for 32-miles across the Kaiwi Channel from Moloka`i to the east shore of O`ahu, finishing at Koko Marina. The Kaiwi Channel, referred to as the "Moloka`i Channel," is considered one of the most challenging and treacherous in the world. To qualify for the Starbucks Moloka`i Challenge, local competitors are required to participate in the Poa`i Puni race series and meet specific finishing time criteria. Poa`i Puni, organized by Kanaka Ikaika, is a series of coastal races which take place between early January and the end of April.
"We are pleased to be the title sponsor of this prestigious event," said Dean McPhail, president of Coffee Partners Hawaii. "We at Starbucks are committed to contributing positively to our communities and look forward to being involved in events that support and perpetuate the Hawaiian culture."
Since the first race, held in 1975, the Moloka`i Challenge has grown considerably each year. In 1979, a mere 18 entrants made the crossing and last year the event hosted nearly 80 participants from around the world including Australia, Japan, South Africa, New Zealand, Venezuela, Tahiti and Guam. With the growth in popularity of one-man canoe racing and increased international interest, the 1997 Starbucks Moloka`i Challenge expects to draw more than 125 entrants.
For the past eight years, the race was sponsored by Bank of Hawaii. "We appreciate the financial, in-kind and volunteer efforts that Bank of Hawaii has given us over the years," said Wayne German, president of Kanaka Ikaika. "Their generosity has been a key factor in the event's growth, and we are grateful that Starbucks Coffee has assumed the role of title sponsor which will ensure the continued growth and success of this event."
Additional sponsors of the 1997 Starbucks Moloka`i Challenge are Ocean Club at Restaurant Row, Outrigger Hotels & Resorts, Hawaiian Isle Water and Koko Marina.
Coffee Partners Hawaii is an authorized licensee of Starbucks Coffee International, a subsidiary of Starbucks Coffee Company. Starbucks Coffee Company is the leading retailer, roaster and brand of specialty coffee in North America. In addition to its 1,185 retail locations in North America and the Pacific Rim, Starbucks has a national direct response business and a specialty sales group, which serves fine dining, food services, travel and hotel accounts.
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