WORLD’S HOTTEST WINNER CROWNED AT POLYNESIAN CULTURAL CENTER JOSEPH CADOUSTEAU WINS 2015 WORLD FIREKNIFE CHAMPIONSHIP
Laie, Hawaii – May 9, 2015 – Joseph Cadousteau of Tahiti tonight won the world’s hottest competition earning the title of World Fireknife Champion for 2015, following an amazing display of athleticism and cultural artistry by the three finalists.
It was Cadousteau’s third time winning the World Fireknife Championship, having previously won this international competition in 2012 and 2013.
“This means so much to me, especially having my wife and daughter here to see this,” said Cadousteau. “I’ve received so much support from the people in Tahiti. I feel very blessed to win this year’s championship.”
Mikaele Oloa of Waialua, HI was named first runner-up, with Via Tiumalu of Orlando, FL named as second runner-up. Both are also former winners of the World Fireknife Championship.
Wearing a traditional lavalava and accompanied by the rhythmic beat of 10 Polynesian drummers, all three finalists gave stellar performances with routines that had them leaping and tumbling about the 100-foot by 70-foot stage of the PCC’s Pacific Theater, all while tossing, twirling, and balancing the flaming fireknives at blinding speed and seemingly impossible angles.
Cadousteau was nearly flawless with his performance, showing power, flexibility, artistry, and a flair for drama as he was the only finalist to use three fireknives in his routine, even juggling them at one point.
Now in its 23rd year, the World Fireknife Championships is presented by the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) and is the featured event of the We Are Samoa Festival, Hawaii’s largest Samoan cultural celebration.
“Our congratulations go to Joseph Cadousteau and all the competitors for their superb performances,” said Alfred Grace, PCC President and CEO. “The caliber gets better every year and to be this good is a lifelong pursuit for these athletes. The sacrifice and effort they make is comparable to any world-class athlete in any other sport.”
This year’s three-day World Fireknife Championships began with the opening round on Thursday, May 7. Nineteen of the world’s top fireknife dancers, from Samoa, Tahiti, Orlando (FL), Pittsburgh (PA), Hong Kong, Japan, and Hawaii (Oahu and Hawaii Island), began the quest to determine the best-of-the-best in 2015.
Seven competitors, including four former World Fireknife Champions, advanced to perform in the semi-finals on Friday night (May 8), from which the panel of judges selected the three finalists.
Fireknife dancing draws its roots from the Samoan ailao, a warrior’s knife dance, performed before battle with the nifo oti, or “tooth of death.” The PCC established the World Fireknife Championships to showcase this treasured Samoan tradition and perpetuate it for future generations to embrace.
Samoa is one of PCC’s six authentic island villages, the others being Hawaii, Tahiti, Tonga, Fiji, and Aotearoa (New Zealand), that celebrate the native culture and people of its heritage amidst the Center’s 42 lushly landscaped acres. At each village, guests are immersed in fun and engaging presentations, exhibits, and hands-on activities.
The Samoa village has historically been one of PCC’s most popular daily attractions for visitors, who take great enjoyment in an entertainment program that’s both funny and exciting, including tree climbing, coconut husking, and fire-making demonstrations.
For more information, please visit www.worldfireknife.com.
For more information or to make reservations at the Polynesian Cultural Center, visit www.polynesia.com or call (800) 367-7060. In Hawaii, call 293-3333.