All hail the new King and Queen of the Ocean: Travis Grant and Terrene Black both caused dramatic upsets at the Molokai 2 Oahu Paddleboard World Championships today, beating home local favourites in one of the most exciting SUP races we’ve ever seen and claiming Australia’s first ever M2O Stand Up Paddleboard World Titles in the process.
The pair led an Aussie clean sweep of the event, with Brad Gaul and Jordan Mercer winning the men’s and women’s Prone Paddleboard World Titles respectively.
What a race… what a performance by the Aussies…
The day started with good conditions and a predicted 20 knots of downwind fun. However the wind never really materialised and the race soon turned into a slog fest. Bumps were small & short and conditions were messy as a light ENE wind met a small SE swell. Combining that with the swell bouncing back off Oahu and a tide pushing the wrong way the entire race, and the 32 mile crossing soon became an absolute grind.
Connor Baxter, Kai Lenny and Danny Ching started as race favourites, while Travis Grant and Scott Gamble were the dark horses that had all the work to do. And work they did. Taking a totally different line across the Ka’iwi Channel between Molokai and Oahu, Travis and Scott snuck through on the traditional Northern route while the pre-race favorites Kai and Connor battled it out a long way to the South.
Kai was the Southernmost paddler on the entire course, following the guidance of the experienced Kai Bartlett and Dave Kalama, while Connor was taking the same course, perhaps assuming (incorrectly) that Kai was the greatest threat to his quest for a three-peat. Danny Ching meanwhile opted for a more direct line over the Channel and was slightly behind yet still in contention right up until he pulled out with a shoulder injury. It was a cruel blow for the Battle of the Paddle champion, as the light conditions nullified much of Kai and Connor’s home ground advantage and would have suite Danny perfectly. However three solid months of non-stop outrigger racing clearly took their toll, with the retirement coming around 45 minutes from the finish.
So while Kai and Connor were locked in an epic battle – the two switching back and forth all the way during the second half of the crossing – Travis, paddling his awesome Robello Rosa custom unlimited board, kept his line and his cool a long way to the North, following the guidance of his experienced boat crew (and shapers) Billy Robello and Marshall Rosa.
Molokai 2 Oahu is a stubbornly tough race to call, with paddlers stretched out for miles from North to South, making it impossible to tell who is in front at any one point. It wasn’t until Travis reached the infamous China Walls – where paddlers turn the corner for the final, brutal, upwind, against-the-tide one mile paddle to the finish line in Hawaii Kai – that it became clear just how much of a lead the Aussie held. Kai and Connor were out of sight and Scott Gamble was a mile behind.
But despite the surprisingly big lead, Travis dug deep as his escort boat screamed encouragement at him all the way to the line. The Aussie crossed in 4 hours 50 minutes and 17 seconds, 10 minutes ahead of Scott Gamble, who, like Travis, had snuck through on the Northern line, and 12 minutes ahead of two-time defending champ Connor Baxter. Kai Lenny was a further 5 minutes back in fourth place. The times showed just how tough the race was. Last year Connor crossed in 4 hours 13 minutes. This year he was 49 minutes off his own pace, or 20% slower.
Trav’s stealthy route to the North fooled everyone. It’s not like it was a mystery, most paddlers take that route, it’s just that everyone was focused on the Kai vs. Connor battle. The race directors and media crew were totally thrown off by Trav’s lead. They were following Connor/Kai closely and assumed right up until the end that the two young guns were first and second. When Travis hit China walls ten minutes ahead they didn’t even know who it was, scrambling to get the video crews back over to record the actual race winner. When Connor broke Kai in the final 20 minutes and sprinted towards Hawaii Kai with a considerable lead over his rival, he and his support crew thought he was going to win, only to realise moments later that both Travis and Scott Gamble had already finished.
What an amazing performance from Travis Grant. He’s overcome the odds and beaten Connor Baxter and Kai Lenny on their home turf. And it was awesome to see Scott Gamble – who painfully retired from the race twelve months ago – take second place. Scott and Travis are good friends and were the sentimental favourites for many, including ourselves. Our pre-race prediction was summed up with the line: “Heart says Travis or Scott, head says Connor or Kai, gut says Danny.” Our head and gut were wrong but our heart called it.
This was an epic race that won’t soon be forgotten, especially in Australia where the celebrations among the hardcore Aussie paddling community are just beginning.
And this was just the men’s race… The women’s race proved to be just as exciting, with the pre-race favourite faltering in the liht conditions and another Aussie dark horse storming home to take the crown.
Terrene Black finished third in this race a year ago and should have been given more recognition before the race, especially given her performances in many of the lead-up races over the past month. But it was the Downwind Queen Andrea Moller that everybody was predicting to win.
So just like Travis, Terrene had to fight hard the whole way against the local favourites. And that’s exactly what she did. Despite trailing by a few hundred metres mid-race, the Aussie dug deep and pulled alongside Andrea with about five miles to go. From there something snapped inside the Aussie’s mind and she went into overdrive, dropping Andrea and Jenny Kalmbach and powering her board all the way to Hawaii Kai.
By the time Terrene hit the line she was five minutes clear of runner-up Jenny Kalmbach, while Andrea Moller hit wall and had to settle for fourth place, 12 minutes off the pace and 17 seconds behind the impressive third-place-getter Sonni Honscheid.
Terrene’s amazing performance was the third title for Australia this afternoon, after Brad Gaul (prone champ) and Travis Grant set the tone for the Green & Gold. Minutes after Terrene crossed, 19 year old Jordan Mercer added to her dominance of the event as she won the women’s prone title.
Raw video footage from today’s race, including an interview with the champ himself
So that meant Australia claimed all four of the major Molokai 2 Oahu Paddleboard World Championship titles today. Though just for good measure, Zeb Walsh claimed the men’s prone paddleboard stock class win as well, giving Australia a 5th victory. Combine today’s efforts with Jamie Mitchell’s historic 10x straight World Titles in this event and suddenly Molokai 2 Oahu belongs to the Aussies.
What a race. Connor and Kai’s epic battle to the South, Danny Ching’s heartbreak when he had Oahu in sight and then Travis’ determined, persistent effort on the Northern line.
All hail the new kings of the ocean.
>>> MORE: Relive the action from our Molokai Live Coverage
2013 Molokai 2 Oahu Paddleboard World Championships RESULTS
|1||Travis Grant||4:50:17||Men's Unlimited||1|
|2||Scott Gamble||5:00:53||Men's Unlimited||2|
|3||Connor Baxter||5:02:02||Men's Unlimited||3|
|4||Kai Lenny||5:07:57||Men's Unlimited||4|
|5||Kaeo Abbey||5:11:48||Men's Unlimited||5|
|6||Luiz Carlos Guida||5:17:29||Men's Unlimited||6|
|7||Travis Baptiste||5:22:59||Men's Stock||1|
|8||Eric Terrien||5:24:36||Men's Unlimited||7|
|9||Kody Kerbox||5:26:21||Men's Stock||2|
|10||Mo Freitas||5:27:43||Men's Unlimited||8|
|11||Tamarua Cowan||5:28:46||Men's Unlimited||9|
|12||Marcus Tardrew||5:30:28||Men's Unlimited||10|
|13||Vinnicius Martins||5:34:14||Men's Unlimited||11|
|14||Tomoyasu Murabayashi||5:38:07||Men's Unlimited||12|
|15||Livio Menelau||5:39:32||Men's Unlimited||13|
|16||Terrene Black||5:40:40||Women's Unlimited||1|
|17||Will Anido||5:42:54||Men's Unlimited||14|
|18||Lincoln Dews||5:43:59||Men's Stock||3|
|19||Jennifer Kalmbach||5:45:22||Women's Unlimited||2|
|20||Stephane Bodet||5:47:27||Men's Unlimited||15|
|21||Christian Bradley||5:47:49||Men's Stock||4|
|22||Noa Ginella||5:51:08||Men's Unlimited||16|
|23||Sonni Honscheid||5:52:07||Women's Unlimited||3|
|24||Andrea Moller||5:52:24||Women's Unlimited||4|
|25||Scott Trudon||5:58:37||Men's Unlimited||17|
|26||Norman Hann||5:58:55||Men's Unlimited||18|
|27||Takuji Araki||6:02:27||Men's Stock||5|
|28||Matt Becker||6:04:34||Men's Unlimited||19|
|29||Jimmy Spithill||6:09:24||Men's Unlimited||20|
|30||Jeremy Riggs||6:09:52||Men's Unlimited||21|
|31||Mariko Strickland||6:10:43||Women's Unlimited||5|
|32||Zane Schweitzer||6:15:56||Men's Stock||6|
|33||Gustavo Oliveira||6:17:23||Men's Unlimited||22|
|34||Jimmy Fitt||6:18:18||Men's Unlimited||23|
|35||Yoshiaki Nagamatsu||6:18:50||Men's Stock||7|
|36||Scott McPhail||6:19:47||Men's Unlimited||24|
|37||Lina Augaitis||6:27:02||Women's Unlimited||6|
|38||Devin Blish||6:34:15||Women's Unlimited||7|
|39||J Stephens||6:38:54||Men's Stock||8|
|40||Patrick Broemmel||6:44:37||Men's Unlimited||25|
|41||Roberto Araujo||6:46:09||Men's Unlimited||26|
|42||Kimon Dos Santos||6:47:00||Men's Stock||9|
|43||Stuart Murray||6:53:27||Men's Unlimited||27|
|44||Joel Pepper||6:54:17||Men's Unlimited||28|
|45||Kevin Horgan||7:03:19||Men's Unlimited||29|
|46||Chikara Tsumura||7:05:29||Men's Unlimited||30|
|47||Joel Comer||7:08:34||Men's Unlimited||31|
|48||Jennifer Lee||7:09:04||Women's Unlimited||8|
|49||Michael Nunnery||7:10:16||Men's Unlimited||32|
|50||Andrew Ching||7:23:37||Men's Unlimited||33|
|51||Christian Cook||7:26:18||Men's Unlimited||34|
|52||Terry Stevens||7:27:13||Men's Stock||10|
|53||Michael Richards||7:29:35||Men's Stock||11|
|54||Chuck Glynn||7:29:53||Men's Stock||12|
|55||Brad Feldman||7:36:38||Men's Unlimited||35|
|56||Peter Petersen||7:48:17||Men's Stock||13|
|57||Bob Arnot||7:58:14||Men's Stock||14|
|58||Matthew Schollard||8:00:41||Men's Stock||15|
|59||Brigette Van Aswegen||8:55:00||Women's Stock||1|
Class / Division
|1||Bess/Raioha||5:18:51||SUP STK 14' 2 Team M01-79|
|2||Kalepa/Napolean/Kerbox||5:24:12||SUP Team 3 Male|
|3||Moore/Francis||5:39:09||SUP STK 14' 2 Team M01-79|
|4||Stehlik/Pavao||5:39:17||SUP STK 14' 2 TEAM M01-79|
|5||Grimaud/Frogier||5:45:32||SUP STK 14' 2 Team M80-99|
|6||Fong/Perkins/Uemura||5:50:59||SUP Team 3 Male|
|7||Wheeler/Harrison||5:52:37||SUP STK 14' 2 TEAM M01-79|
|8||Patterson/R Lenny||5:52:59||SUP STK 14' 2 Team M01-79|
|9||Jeppesen/Oliver/Tillman||6:06:31||SUP Team 3 Mixed|
|10||Roberts/Helm||6:07:56||SUP STK 14' 2 Team M80-99|
|11||Smith/Evatt||6:11:30||SUP STK 14' 2 Team M100+|
|12||Lui-kwan/Lui-kwan/Lui-kwan||6:12:36||SUP Team 3 Male|
|13||Schweiger/Notar||6:14:23||SUP STK 14' 2 Team Mixed|
|14||Chang/Madisok/Pugh||6:17:05||SUP Team 3 Mixed|
|15||Moller/Moller/Pagdilao||6:22:57||SUP Team 3 Mixed|
|16||Szymanski/Friedman||6:23:24||SUP STK 14' 2 Team M80-99|
|17||Pestana/Lii||6:24:37||SUP STK 14' 2 Team M100+|
|18||Walker/Vento||6:26:28||SUP STK 14' 2 Team Mixed|
|19||Cachuela/Machado/Tom||6:29:39||SUP Team 3 Male|
|20||Lopez/Hope/Lopez||6:37:01||SUP Team 3 Male|
|21||Ouellet/Meter||6:37:07||SUP STK 14' 2 Team Mixed|
|22||Hart/White||6:44:58||SUP STK 14' 2 Team M80-99|
|23||Frey/Darbyshire/Welch||6:46:01||SUP Team 3 Male|
|24||Klemawesch/Klemawesch||6:48:57||SUP STK 14' 2 Team M100+|
|25||Smith/Balouskas/Viveiros||6:51:42||SUP Team 3 Male|
|26||Smith/Sohier||6:54:00||SUP STK 14' 2 Team Mixed|
|27||Hoesterey/Dowling/Riddle||7:03:56||SUP Team 3 Female|
|28||Farrer/Morgan/Thomas||7:23:40||SUP Team 3 Male|
|29||Fourcade/Yonehiro||7:24:17||SUP STK 14' 2 Team M01-79|
|30||Titcomb/Kam/Kam||7:25:50||SUP Team 3 Male|
|31||Nagasawa/Ashikawa/Takabayashi||7:29:22||SUP Team 3 Mixed|
|32||Gomes/Look/Noa||7:30:48||SUP Team 3 Female|
|33||Froiseth/Adams/Deeley||8:17:45||SUP Team 3 Male|
1st: Brad Gaul (5:05:32) Australia
2nd: Cam Cole (5:07:49) Australia
3rd: Matt Poole (5:11:09) Australia
1st: Jordan Mercer (6:10:00) Australia
2nd: Leanne Darling (6:22:40) USA
3rd: Candice Appleby (6:41:22) USA
>>> MORE: Relive the action from our Molokai Live Coverage
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