Koloa Plantation Days draws crowds to miniature golf, paddling

KOLOA — One by one, the pastel pink, yellow and orange golf balls plunked into the water hazards on the miniature golf course yesterday at the Lawa‘i Beach Resort.

As part of the Koloa Plantation Days celebration, the free miniature golf tournament attracted more than 75 keiki under age 13.

“It’s going good,” said Karen Bukoski, a Lawa‘i Beach Resort staffer who was stationed at Hole No. 1. “We’re not keeping score — everyone’s a winner.”

The kids receive goodie bags and are entered in a lucky number drawing, she added.

“The prize in the drawing is a backpack and school supplies — just in time for back to school,” said Kaulana Keale of Anahola.

The par at each hole did not matter as the kids applied untraditional methods, including the two-fisted grip and one-handed swing to get the ball in the hole.

“I win!” a little tyke declared after his ball dropped in the hole.

To celebrate his victory, he promptly plopped his golf ball into the water.

Once the tournament finished, the kids were treated to pizza and juice.

Meanwhile, a few minutes away at Po‘ipu Beach Park, the first annual Kukui‘ula Outrigger Canoe Club Paddle Fest was underway.

Some 70 people signed up to compete in the one- and two-man outrigger canoe and paddle board races, according to race coordinator Fran McDonnell.

“I think this is one of the first stand-up paddle board races on the island,” McDonnell said. “I’m really excited — it’s turning out really well.”

At 10 a.m., the one- and two-man outrigger canoes left Kalapaki Beach and were expected to finish the 12-mile race at Po‘ipu Beach Park at noon.

Prone and stand-up paddlers started at Po‘ipu Beach Park at 11 a.m. for a 2.5-mile race along the South Shore, ending at Kukui‘ula Harbor.

“This is a great opportunity for our elite paddlers, local residents and visitors to gather together to enjoy a day on the beach and on the water,” Laola Lake-Aea said. “It is very fitting with the theme of this year’s celebration ‘Getting Together, Plantation Style.’”

Throughout the day, members of the Kukui‘ula Outrigger Canoe Club and other water sport experts answered questions and held demonstrations on outrigger canoe paddling and paddle boarding.

“The outrigger canoe is, to me, the most significant, singular artifact to have survived our (Hawaiian) people’s turbulent past,” Tim Cotchay, head coach of the Kukui‘ula Outrigger Canoe Club, said. “Nowhere else can the lessons of our ancestors be made clearer than working, playing and living through the use of an outrigger canoe.”

Paddle Fest is one of the new events featured this year during Koloa Plantation Days.

“I am psyched to have new events this year,” said Melissa McFerrin, event coordinator of Koloa Plantation Days. “It’s getting better and better each year.”

Held July 19 through July 27, Koloa Plantation Days celebrates the many ethnic groups that came to Hawai‘i to work on the sugar plantations and the Hawaiians who welcomed them through music, food, dance and costumes.

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