Bobo Gallagher is not your average 8-year-old. He spends his free time paddling on the open ocean and attending Zane Schweitzer’s youth program, the InZane Super Grom Program. This Maui local trained every weekend in preparation for the the OluKai Ho’olaule’a Standup Paddleboarding race this year. He was the youngest to enter the under-17 division. This grom may be young, but that didn’t stop him from dodging 20-foot swells and finishing third in his division.
The OluKai Ho’o consists of multiple paddling races, one of which is a downwind SUP race. Downwind SUP involves paddling in the open ocean for long distances with large swells– child’s play to Gallagher. According to Sup Magazine, the 10th annual race posed some particularly challenging conditions.
After the race was postponed from Saturday to Sunday due to inclement weather (dumping sheets of rain and 15-knot onshore gusts), Sunday’s race arrived without the usual trade winds that grace the Maliko Run, the seven-mile stretch of coastline running from Maliko Gulch to Kanaha Beach Park where the OluKai Ho’o takes place. Instead of the wind came another force– 10 to 12-foot swell providing some of the biggest surf the island has seen yet this year.
The OluKai Ho’o is known as one of the best celebrations of the year.
Despite the conditions and swell advisories, Bobo was ready to compete. After the race, Mike Misselwitz had the chance to chat with Zane Schwietzer, Bobo’s mentor. When asked about how he did, Zane was proud of this youngster.
“It takes a lot of passion, determination and of course bravery as well. Bobo didn’t want to back down.”
When they asked Bobo how it went, he kept it short and sweet.
He simply replied, “Fun.”
While Bobo may be a man of little words, his performance is inspiring. Determination, training, and some fun can go a long way.