Honolua Surf Co.’s Ultimate SUP Showdown has certainly been generating some buzz lately, so much so that the it’s become one of the most highly anticipated events of 2014.
We already knew there’d be big names and a big prize purse, however things really went next level when we revealed that Showdown 2014 will be broadcast across the USA in prime time, thanks to a major deal with CBS Sports Network.
And now, according to the giant countdown clock I just spotted on Instagram, the Showdown is only 16 days away.
So in just over two weeks’ time we’re gonna see a whole stack of the world’s best go at it on the shores of Waikiki Beach. But who exactly is going to be in that stack?
The event teased us with Showdown: Draft Day, a very interesting concept in which the athletes got a personal call from Showdown head honcho Boyd Jeffery (remember: Showdown is invite only). However that invite list was a closely guarded secret.
Because now we’ve got our hands on the full list. And it’s mighty impressive…
Almost every big name you can think of has signed on for the Ultimate SUP Showdown. From Kai Lenny and Connor Baxter to Travis Grant and Danny Ching to Annabel Anderson and Candice Appleby. This event is suddenly on par with the Battle of the Paddle in terms of level-of-competition.
Check out all the names down below.
This list isn’t just who was invited to compete either; this is who IS competing. This list is confirmed. Perhaps there’ll be one or two changes over the next two weeks, but I’ve been assured this is pretty much set.
The “Big Five” guys from my Top 13 of 2013 are all there: Connor, Travis, Danny, Kai and Georges Cronsteadt. This is the first time they’ll all be in the same race since… Actually I can’t even remember: Travis was injured in last year’s BOP Elite Race while Georges missed the Distance Race, so this could be the first time they’ve battled each other in years.
Likewise the top three women from last year’s Top 13 list are going to be on show: Annabel, Jenny and Candice. I believe this is the first time they’ve been seen together since the 2012 BOP.
And they’re joined by a virtual who’s who of the paddling world, plus a couple of dark horses that I’m confident will cause some major upsets. Which all means one thing: Showdown 2014 is going to be a hell of a lotta fun to watch. In the words of Justin Holland: I’m frothing to see this clash go down.
We’ve got Connor/Kai/Danny/Travis/Georges and probably another dozen guys who are a legitimate chance to win, especially given the randomness of the Showdown course. Zane Schweitzer? Jake Jensen? Kelly Margetts? Those guys are all lightning fast and love the waves.
Then on the women’s side we’re going to see the top names battle it out for the first time in a long time. Annabel and Candice haven’t faced of for almost two years. Jenny is in great shape. Throw in some dark horses such as Shakira Westdorp (could be my tip – definitely one to watch), Sonni Hönscheid (who can hardly be called a dark horse after winning Molokai on the weekend…) and this may just be one of the most entertaining women’s SUP events we’ve ever seen.
Anyway go through the list below and see what you reckon. If you’re a hardcore racing-only fan like me, you might not recognise a few of these names: The Showdown combines surfing and racing, so naturally many of these paddlers are surf specialists. There’s also an “Alternates” list, i.e. if someone pulls out and a spot opens up, which we’re waiting to get our hands on. A few names are missing; Some paddlers had conflicting events while a couple chose not to fly out to Hawaii. But overall this is a pretty darn stellar lineup.
So yeah… Good luck winning this one.
Koliah “Fuzzy” Jardine
Jen “Waikiki Love” Kalmbach
It’s hard not to be excited about the Showdown. Race fans like myself always wanna see the “big names” go head-to-head but very rarely does that happen. So my hats off to the Showdown crew for assembling one of the most-elite groups of paddlers ever seen. This event didn’t even exist 12 months ago, yet in that short time the organisers have managed to convince almost the entire elite community to get behind them and support a bold but very different kind of stand up paddle event.
It’s certainly going to be a fun couple of days in Waikiki on August 17 & 18 and we’ll be right there bringing you live updates.
Tags: Ultimate SUP Showdown