MARSHALLESE CULTURE AND TRADITIONS

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BECKER COMMUNICATIONS, INC. Honolulu, Hawai‘i

NEWS RELEASE March 25, 2002 Majuro, Marshall Islands

CELEBRATED WITH 6TH ANNUAL
OUTRIGGER MARSHALL ISLANDS CUP

The culture and tradition of Marshallese canoe building and sailing will be celebrated on May 3 and 4, 2002 as participants from more than 21 atolls come together for the 6th annual Outrigger Marshall Islands Cup. This nationally recognized event, held at the Outrigger Marshall Islands Resort, will feature a variety of competitions, along with a celebration of traditional Marshallese arts, crafts, traditional dancing, navigational stick charts, food and more.

The two-day event will open on Friday, May 3, with a tipnol (canoes that are 19 plus feet long) sailing canoe race along the lagoon from the airport to the Outrigger Marshall Islands Resort. A men’s and women’s canoe paddling race, featuring two paddlers per canoe, will follow in front of the Resort. The opening day will also host a recycled boat race for children, with last year’s winner – Delap Elementary School – defending its title for the best canoe made entirely from recycled materials.

Day two will offer the main event Outrigger Marshall Islands Cup, which will determine the country’s best sailor. Participants from more than 21 atolls will compete in this six-mile men’s race across Majuro Lagoon in one-person sailing canoes, called korkor. Each korkor is handmade and built on its home atoll using only traditional materials and techniques, with the exception of modern sails.

New to the festivities this year, a Kone Jubar (Iron Man) competition will test the skills of participants in such Marshallese customs as sailing, coconut tree climbing and weaving. In addition, day two will feature a riwut (small model canoes up to 5 feet long) race, with over 30 competitors sailing their unmanned model canoes across the three-mile lagoon.

Both days of the event will offer a variety of displays and activities celebrating Marshallese culture and tradition, including demonstrations of distinctive crafts from outer atolls – such as kili bags, marmar necklaces, navigational stick charts and high quality baskets made from pandanus leaves, coconut fronds and cowry shells. There will also be a traditional dance competition and booths featuring traditional Marshallese fare.

Over the years, the Outrigger Marshall Islands Cup has helped to rejuvenate interest and excitement of traditional Micronesian canoe building and has become a nationally recognized cultural event for the people of the Marshall Islands. Thousands of spectators attend each annual event, which attracts competitors from throughout the Marshall Islands, including Ailinglaplap, Ebon, Namdrik, Arno, Wotje, Ujae, and Majuro atolls.

The Republic of the Marshall Islands is situated 2, 285 miles southwest of Honolulu and 1,624 miles each of Guam. The nation is comprised of 29 atolls and five coral islands. The islands are a primary destination for world-class scuba diving and deep-sea fishing. The Outrigger Marshall Islands Resort is the only first-class full-service hotel in the Marshall Islands.

For information on the 6th annual Outrigger Marshall Islands Cup, call Race Coordinator Bill Weza at the Outrigger Marshall Islands Resort direct at (692) 625-2525 or email at omrhtl@ntamar.com

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