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POST RACE REPORT: MOLOKAʻI-2-OʻAHU PADDLEBOARD WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

Australians take top honors in SUP and prone divisions. World Champion Surfer John John Florence completes first M2O in team race. Kai Lenny wins inaugural hydrofoil race. 

Front Page: 2X World Champ JJF wins Silver on first entry to the iconic race.

HONOLULU, HI (July 31, 2018) — At the start of the 22nd Annual Molokaʻi-2-Oʻahu Paddleboard World Championships (M2O), presented by Kona Brewing, favorable winds appeared to be creating promising conditions for todayʻs racers, but the Kaʻiwi Channelʻs fickle personality created a puzzle board of mixed swell for athletes to navigate.

Despite the less than desirable waves, those competing in the foil board division sliced through the water in what seemed like effortless flight as their boards glided just above the oceanʻs surface from bump to bump.

Kai Lenny, 25, who has won both the SUP stock and unlimited races at M2O, led a small group of foilers across the Molokaʻi Channel, finishing in blistering time of 2:52:58. His time is now the standard for this new division at the storied race. Lenny was reportedly clocked traveling at 15 to 18 knots at points during the race.


Kai Lenny crossing the Molokaʻi Channel in inaugural hydrofoil race at M2O.

The Open Foil division rounded out with a few young guns with Nathan Van Vuuren,16, representing South Africa in 2nd place with a time of 3:17:38  followed by Jeffrey Spencer, 17, from Maui in a time of 3:34:08.

Annie Reickert, 17, from Maui marked her crossing as the first and only woman to compete in the inaugural foil division, finishing in 5:20:06.

This yearʻs M2O also featured an icon from the professional surfing world. Two-time World Champion John John Florence paddled in the two-person prone division with his teammate Kona Johnson. The two tackled the challenge in a time of 6:20:06.

Florence, 25, said of his experience, “It was amazing, I had so much fun. I hope to come back and do it again next year.”


Pro surfer John John Florence paddles first M2O.

SOLO PRONE PADDLEBOARD RACE

It was an all-out Australian assault in the prone division in both the menʻs and womenʻs races.

Matt Bevilacqua, 26, claimed his fourth straight championship at M2O in a time of 5:05:27. Given his skill and experience, “Bevi” now holds the course record and has the second most wins behind his countryman Jamie Mitchellʻs impressive ten consecutive victories set between 2002 and 2011.

Alex Wright, 21, was second in 5:12:45.

 Matt Bevilacqua en-route to fourth consecutive championship.

Stewart McLachlan finished third overall on a stock board against the faster unlimited racers to claim top honors in the stock race (5:33:26).  This is Stewart’s 3rd consecutive win here at the race.   “Doing the race this year as a father made it all the more special, it meant the world to me.  That was the hardest of them all, you think it would get easier but it didn’t, this is the channel, you never know what you are going to get”

Lachie Lansdown, 22, could not catch the 30-year-old McLachlan in the closing miles and finished second in the stock race (5:37:56). Harrison Stone, 20, took the final podium spot among the stock paddlers in 5:49:17.

 Stewart McLachlan winning the stock prone race for second year in a row.

Australiaʻs Harriet Brown who claimed her second straight championship at M2O said, “At times it felt like we were going slower than if the channel was flat. Youʻd catch a runner and hit another bump, which made you feel like you weren’t catching anything.”

The 28-year-old Brown finished in 5 hours, 51 minutes, 32 seconds, about 37 minutes behind her record-setting performance last year.

Finishing closely behind Brown in the womenʻs unlimited prone race was Australian Lizzie Welborn. The 19-year-old finished in 5:56:19. The two women were evenly matched over the entire course, but Brown had the finishing strength to create a five-minute lead on Welborn in the final miles.

Maddie Spencer, 21, finished third in the unlimited race (6:18:32), after paddling and winning the stock race last year. Japanʻs Mao Kamimura won the womenʻs stock race in a time of 7:26:26 ahead of Australian Heli Murray who finished in 7:33:48.


 Harriet Brown mid-channel on her repeat victory tour of the Molokaʻi Channel.

SOLO STAND UP PADDLEBOARD RACE

After becoming the first SUP athlete to paddle the channel under four hours last year, Australian Travis Grant, 35, glided to his fourth victory at M2O since his first win in 2016. Grantʻs time of 4:23:15 kept Maui paddler Connor Baxter, 23, to a second place finish (4:38:39).   “It was a battle out there, but I kept my strategy, and kept my eye on Conner Baxter and gave it everything.  It really is the most challenging race, but also the most rewarding”.

James Casey, 26, from Australia finished third in a time of 4:48:42.

Travis Grant adds a fourth M2O victory to his trophy case.

Floridian Josh Riccio, 29 won the menʻs stock SUP race in a time 5:01:27. He finished fifth overall against a fast and deep unlimited field and nearly edged out Mauiʻs Kody Kerbox at the finish line.  Noted Josh at finish, “Yeah, it was a battle out there, but it makes crossing the finish line that much more special.”

Vinnicius “Vinnie” Martins, 22, from Brazil was second and Japanʻs Takuji Araki was third. Their times are 5:24:25 and 5:27:52 respectively.

Terrene Black is back on top at M2O after her win in the unlimited SUP race in 2013. The 34-year-old SUP veteran looked in excellent shape and had to prove it in a field of former champions. Blackʻs time of 5:27:27 was enough to fend off Germanyʻs Sonni Honscheid, 37, in todayʻs competition.

From Terrene, “I love this event, this race is what brought me to stand up paddling, you can’t beat it.  Every year you strive to do well, and every year you are faced with a different challenge”.

Honscheid, who finished second in 5:32:36, won three consecutive M2O championships from 2014 to 2016.

Last yearʻs champion Penelope Strickland from New Zealand finished third in 5:57:09.

Siri Schubert, 49, from Switzerland defended her 2017 title in the women’s stock SUP race (7:06:18).

Determination and a love for the Kaʻiwi Channel keep Terrene coming back.  

2-Person Teams – Prone Paddleboard Division
Top Women’s team:
DJ O’Brien / Tiana Pugliese (California) 7:35:45

Top Men’s teams:
Isaac Smith / Hugh McAlpine (Australia) 5:47:07
John John Florence / Kona Johnson (Hawaii) 6:20:06
Fletcher Davies / Alex Hayes (California) 6:21:32

Top Mixed Teams
Steve Shlens / Morgan Hoesterey (California) 6:58:30
Marisa Kuiken / Joey Diasparra (California) 7:20:56
Wally Buckingham / Liz Hunter (California) 7:32:34

2-Person Teams – Stand Up Paddle Division
Top Women’s Team
Gemma Bellman / Chloe Scott (Australia) 8:15:32

Top Men’s teams:
Hobey Moss / Alexandre Bicrel (Hawaii) 5:16:10
Alex Mawae / Slater Fleck (Hawaii) 5:44:21
Will Anido / Darren Borg (Australia) 6:00:27

Top Mixed Teams
Tomoe Yasu / Hidehiko Fukushima (Japan) 6:32:19
Rodney Ellis / Kristy Morris (California) 6:36:34

3-Person Teams – Prone Paddleboard Division 
Top Mixed Team
D.Jones / K.Jones / M.Jones (Hawaii) 6:46:14

Top Men’s Team
Stoddart / Coates/ Coates (Australia) 6:02:36
J. Sutherland / Sutherland / Portillo (Hawaii) 7:18:53
Wataoka  / Egbert /  Fritz (Hawaii)  7:29:16

3-Person Teams – Stand Up Paddle Division 
Top Women Team
Kristin Thomas / Jane McKee / Jen Fuller (Hawaii & California)  6:54:35

Top Men’s Team
Bojan Bernard / Paul Zacharias / Kanai Sharsh (California)  6:13:18
Scotty Fong / Bonga Perkins / John Makua (Hawaii)  6:27:50
Sam Tierney / Tom Gallagher / Kaeo Abbey (California & Hawaii) 6:46:57

For Official Results click here

ABOUT THE MOLOKAʻI-2-OʻAHU PADDLEBOARD WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

Founded in 1997, M2O has grown from a grassroots challenge for the legendary lifeguards of Oʻahu to the premiere event in the sport of paddleboarding. The race annually crowns world champions in the two disciplines of traditional (prone) and stand-up (SUP) paddleboarding. In 2018, a hydrofoil division was added to welcome the evolution of technology in the SUP. Connecting the islands of Molokaʻi and Oʻahu, the 32-mile race crosses the Kaʻiwi Channel, also known as the Molokaʻi Channel and Channel of Bones. Men and women from more than 20 countries will face strong currents as they navigate the fastest downwind-route over one of the most beautiful and powerful channels in the world. Top athletes can complete the crossing in less than five hours, riding mid-channel waves that crest more than 12 feet and carry paddlers hundreds of meters. M2O starts in Kepuhi Bay on the northwest shore of Molokaʻi and finishes in Maunalua Bay on the southeast shore of Oʻahu. The annual race is a deeply personal experience, challenging every paddlers’ physical and mental endurance. Every finisher experiences an individual championship.

M2O is proudly supported by Kona Brewing Company, Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority, Duke’s Waikiki, Oakley, Patagonia, Rogue, Futures Fins, Blue Rush, Amavara, Salonpas, Greenlayer, Outrigger Hotels, Enterprise, Stand Up Paddle Magazine, Ocean Paddler, DotVison, Aqua Pro Fitness, XO Activewear Paddle League and Fin Film Company.

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