….in the Surf Sprint Racing On Day One of the APP World Tour’s Maui Pro-Am!
World-class conditions aligned with the world’s fastest standup paddle racers for another paramount display of APP World Tour competition, as the first race event of 2017 got underway with the Day One Sprint Races at the Maui Pro-Am.
As the morning’s sun rose over Haleakala and filtered through the event scaffolding at Ho’okipa Beach Park, a laundry list of standup paddling’s biggest stars arrived to compete. The first race event of the APP World Tour stood to provide a litmus test for these competitors odds in the season to come.
Hawaiians and Aussies Prevail in Opening Rounds
Round One kicked off with the Maui contingent showing strong, as local hero and current racing world champion Connor Baxter (Starboard) swept the opening heat advancing directly to the third round along with fellow Maui paddler Bernd Roediger and third-place finisher, the Australian Lincoln Dews. Also finishing atop their respective heats, the American Josh Riccio (F-One) and Australians James Casey and Toby Cracknell looked dominant, clearly showcasing their off-season preparation.
While the top three contenders from each Round One heat advanced directly to Round Three, the remaining athletes took to the Round Two repocharge for a second chance to advance. Along the way came a clash of the titans with fellow Starboard athletes, Italian champion Leonard Nika (Starboard) and rising Australian star Michael Booth (Starboard), tangling in the surf for what contest officials deemed an interference on the part of Nika. They resolved the dispute with a single-lap head-to-head heat, and in the end Nika came out ahead and advanced to Round Three.
Casper Steinfath Upsets Hawaiian Favorites in Final Round
As the Men’s field narrowed through Round Three, the Semi-Finals staged the day’s dominant forces. Hawaiian favorites Mo Freitas and Connor Baxter (Starboard) met the Maui conditions with poise to take the top seeds going into the finals, while the likes of Travis Grant, Leonard Nika (Starboard), Matt Nottage (Starboard), Ryan Funk, Slater Trout and Lincoln Dews were relegated to the consolation final. The top two contenders of the consolation final—Dews (1st) and Grant (2nd)—advanced to the Final event of the Mens to battle it out with the day’s top male contenders.
The Mens final commenced with a tightly-matched selection of eight of the day’s fastest paddlers gunning off the start inside the surf line at Ho’okipa. Among them, the Danish Viking Casper Steinfath took the lead ahead of Baxter and Freitas. Steinfath held his lead and muscled into a small bump after rounding the final buoy, surfing it to the finish for an overall victory for Day One, with Freitas finishing runner-up and Baxter claiming third-place for the day.
Terrene Black & Fiona Wylde Dominate Women’s Contention
Then there were the women. With a stacked list of seven of the world’s best all jockeying for the top overall performance of three heats, it could have been anyone’s day. After two laps through the Ho’okipa surf, Australian powerhouse Terrene Black prevailed in Heat One with current racing world champion Fiona Wylde (Starboard) just behind.
In the women’s second heat, Fiona Wylde (Starboard) came out on top with Terrene in second. Meanwhile, perennial title contenders Candice Appleby and Sonni Hönscheid (Starboard) had a bit of a shocker in the sprint races with less desirable finishes.
Perhaps the most impressive underdog display came from Maui’s own Annie Reickert, the youngest women’s contender in the field. She put her local knowledge to good use for a first-place finish in the third heat, but it wasn’t enough to take the overall victory. At the end of the day, Black finished as overall champion ahead of runner-up Wylde for a commanding points lead going into tomorrow’s Distance race on the fabled Maliko Run.
Missed any of the action? Catch the highlight reel here. You can also get the complete results and watch the full webcast replay at APPworldtour.com. Competition continues tomorrow morning with a Na Kama Kai Youth Challenge on SUP Squatches at 10am at Kanaha Beach Park.
At 1pm HST the downwind Distance race will kick off from Maliko Gulch to the finish at Kanaha Beach Park, where the fastest overall male and female contenders will be crowned the overall event champions.
Directly following the competition, the APP World Tour will host lunch along with an awards ceremony and celebration featuring a live musical performance from Hawaiian icon Paula Fuga and friends. Stay tuned to APPworldtour.com for more info, follow us on social media @APP World Tour and use the official hashtags #mauiproam and #appworldtour.