The ‘Top 16 of 2016’ — The Best Paddlers in the World This Year

Bilbao World SUP Challenge Connor Baxter
What a year it’s been for our sport, with great performances by incredible athletes at big events all around the world making for an exciting season of racing.

But who was the best? Who dominated all season long? Who were the standout stand up athletes this year? It’s time to reveal the Top 16 of 2016…   → READ MORE

Foil Master: Kai Lenny Goes Downwinding on a Shortboard

Kai Lenny foil surfingYou know those kind of people that do something great and then sit back, relax and enjoy the afterglow? Kai Lenny is not one of those people.

The superstar of SUP seems to have hit after hit these days. Just a week after scoring one of the most talked about SUP racing videos of the year via his freakish performance in Fiji, Kai is already back home on Maui creating more internet-breaking clips. This time he’s dropped the paddle but it’s still fairly close to the world of stand up paddling: Downwinding the Maliko run. The twist? Kai does it on a shortboard…   → READ MORE

Connor Baxter Won the Red Bull Heavy Water Event in San Fran (and Pocketed $20,000)

red-bull-heavy-water-sup-raceConnor Baxter took out the much-hyped Red Bull Heavy Water event in San Francisco last week, surviving the solid waves at Ocean Beach to edge out arch-rival Kai Lenny and pick up a record $20,000 prize.

Zane Schweitzer crossed in third to make it a clean sweep for the Maui Boys, with Casper Steinfath having to settle for fourth place.   → READ MORE

Kai Lenny and Fiona Wylde Won the World Series Finals on Maui

stand-up-world-series-mauiAlthough the season has started winding down after the high of Doheny earlier this month, the racing season never really ends these days… There were a bunch of events around the world in late October, and we’ve still got the Worlds next month before Aussie Downwind Week and the Paris Crossing in December.

Over on Maui last week, Kai Lenny and Fiona Wylde took late-season wins at the World Series event, edging out a small but elite field in fun conditions that saw both a Maliko downwind run and a surf race at the windsurfing mecca of Ho’okipa.    → READ MORE

Kenny Kaneko Outlasts Kai Lenny and Casper Steinfath in Hong Kong to Claim Maiden International Victory

Hong Kong stand up paddle board raceKenny Kaneko has gatecrashed the Naish party in Hong Kong, defeating the superstar duo of Kai Lenny and Casper Steinfath, along with world number two Mo Freitas and the hero from Hood River, Bernd Roediger, to claim his maiden international race victory at the 2nd annual Hong Kong International SUP Championship.

In challenging conditions, with a mix of flat water, sidewind, upwind and downwind that saw most of the field either retire or get pulled from the 21km (13 mile) elite course due to time limits, Kenny crossed the line in 2 hours, 28 minutes and 28 seconds, giving the SIC team rider a big win ahead of Kai (2:34:48) and Casper (2:36:26). Bernd was 4th, while Mo was a mid-race retirement.    → READ MORE

#M2O: Post-Molokai Reflections (and Photos) from 38 of the World’s Best Paddlers

Molokai 2 Oahu Kai Lenny Travis GrantThe boards are back on the rack, the boats are back in the harbour and the trophies are up on the mantelpiece. Molokai-2-Oahu is done for another season, however the memories from this year’s epic will live on forever. The most prestigious race in the world certainly lived up to its hype this year, with the 20th annual crossing of the Ka’iwi Channel proving to be the fastest, most competitive and most exciting edition yet.

I could wax lyrical about this storied event, however nobody says it better than the paddlers themselves, the ones who were actually out there battling in the Channel of Bones for pride and glory. So to give you a better insight into what M2O really means, here’s a selection of post-Molokai reflections from the world’s best paddlers…   → READ MORE

Post-Molokai World Rankings

Kai Lenny Molokai to Oahu

After the epic crossing of the Ka’iwi Channel from Molokai to Oahu yesterday, we’ve updated the leaderboards on the SUP Racer World Rankings with the latest results.

The most significant moves come from the M2O champions, with Kai Lenny jumping +3 to world number four, while Sonni Hönscheid becomes the new world number two after her third-straight Molokai-2-Oahu title.

Other big movers include Jimmy Casey, who cracks the world’s top 10 for the first time following a supremely impressive fourth place finish (where he was less than a minute behind three-time Molokai winner Connor Baxter). Jimmy’s compatriot and fellow top five giant killer, Toby Cracknell, is +10 this week and becomes the highest-ranked paddler with less than the minimum five best results, meaning he could easily crack the top 20 with one more decent result.

Kai Lenny WINS Molokai-2-Oahu, Outlasts Travis Grant to Set New Course Record; Sonni Hönscheid Overpowers Annabel Anderson to Claim Third Straight Title

Molokai 2 Oahu 2016 results

Kai Lenny has achieved one of his biggest goals in life, claiming the prestigious Molokai 2 Oahu title after outlasting defending champ Travis Grant in a four hour epic, setting a new course record and further cementing his reputation as one of the all-time greats.

After a see-sawing battle across the Channel of Bones, Kai triumphantly crossed the line in a time of 4:07:41, half a minute ahead of Connor Baxter’s 2014 benchmark. The downwind bumps were solid but not exactly all-time, however favourable currents, a hungry lineup of elite talent and the superstar on a yellow board helped make this a record-breaking year.   → READ MORE

Molokai “Preview & Predictions” — Who’s Going to Win the Most Prestigious Race of the Year?

Molokai 2 Oahu paddleboard race
We’re just over 24 hours away from the most prestigious race of the season, and what a race it’s shaping up to be. The 20th annual crossing of the Ka’iwi Channel between Molokai to Oahu is already destined for the history books, but a record level of talent and a few last-minute twists should ensure we’ll be talking about this one for many years to come.

The Molokai-2-Oahu Paddleboard World Championships, aka M2O or just simply Molokai, has become the ultimate event of the international stand up paddle racing season. The race has taken on an almost mythical status over the years, and it’s surely one of the toughest trophies in the sport to get your hands on. Becoming a Molokai champion makes you an instant hero, while many paddling legends have built their reputations by conquering this epic, dangerous, thirty-two mile stretch of open ocean between these two imposing Hawaiian islands.   → READ MORE

Kai Lenny Pushes the Boundaries by Unveiling New Hydrofoil Race Board

Kai Lenny stand up paddle foil boardWhile all eyes are on Maui this weekend to see who will triumph in the 8th Annual OluKai Ho’olaule’a, Kai Lenny made us temporarily shift focus after dropping this crazy little nugget on Instagram a few hours ago.

That’s Kai somewhere along the Maliko run (the venue of this weekend’s big race) on what can only be described as a mutant hydrofoil race board.   → READ MORE

2016 Molokai 2 Oahu Start List Revealed, Set to Be Most Competitive Channel Crossing Ever

Molokai to Oahu paddle raceThe start list for the 2016 Molokai 2 Oahu Paddleboard World Championships has just been revealed, with the men’s solo stand up paddle division attracting the most competitive field in the event’s 20 year history.

Top ranked athletes including three-time champ and world number one Connor Baxter, two-time champ and world number two Travis Grant, number three Danny Ching, and number four Kai Lenny will be racing across the Ka’iwi Channel (aka the “Channel of Bones”) on Sunday, July 31st.   → READ MORE

PHOTOS: World’s Top SUP Athletes Surfing Crazy Big Waves in the Off-Season

Jamie-Mitchell-big-wave-surfingWhat are some of the world’s top SUP athletes doing in the off season? What they love most: Surfing big waves.

Jamie Mitchell, Kai Lenny, Mo Freitas, Connor Baxter, Zane Schweitzer and 7-time OluKai champion Andrea Moller were just some of the stand up paddlers to feature recently in a string of historic big wave sessions.    → READ MORE

Superstar: Kai Lenny Just Became the First Paddler to Hit 100,000 Followers on Instagram

Kai-Lenny-SUPAs if it wasn’t obvious enough already, it’s now official: Kai Lenny is the biggest star in the world of stand up paddling. Today, Kai hit the magic 100k mark on Instagram, amassing more followers than any other paddler in the world.

Kai joined Instagram on the 21st of October, 2011, or 220 weeks ago. With 2,153 posts in the past four years, Kai is a bit of an Instagram junkie to say the least. And it’s paying off. Just 18 months ago he had a mere 25,000 followers, while he was only just north of 50k this time last year. I wouldn’t be surprised if he hits 200,000 followers by December.   → READ MORE

Noa Ginella’s Tour Notes: Behind the Scenes with the Young Guns of SUP

Noa Ginella Tour Notes SUP videoCheck out this great little behind-the-scenes clip from everyone’s favourite SUP freesurfer/indie film maker, Noa Ginella.

The reel includes a who’s who from the world of the “young guns” – incl. Kai Lenny, Kody Kerbox, Connor Baxter, Mo Freitas, Tucker Ingalls and Riggs Napoleon – as they battle it out at the Huntington Beach Pro and just basically kinda enjoy life in general. Oh and it also features Kai taking an ice bath (so that’s the secret).   → READ MORE

The BOP-Pocalypse: Massive Changes to the World Rankings as We Finally Say Goodbye to the Battle of the Paddle

BOP-pocalypse explosion
Twelve months ago to the day, we were standing on the shore of Salt Creek beach watching some of the most spectacular, carnage-fueled racing in the history of stand up paddling. The 2014 Battle of the Paddle was an epic event. Not only for the all-time conditions but also the all-time field of competitors, which gave it a massive weighting on the SUP Racer World Rankings.

But when the BOP announced earlier this year that it wouldn’t be returning, it set in motion a ticking time bomb known as the BOP-pocalypse, with almost all of the top paddlers set to lose a big bag of points on the day the Battle was removed from the rankings system. That day is today…   → READ MORE

Candice Appleby, Kai Lenny Win the Hayama pro in Japan

stand up world series japanResults are in from Japan, where the World Series is holding the second of its four stops this year. The Hayama Pro has attracted an elite little group of the world’s best young (and a few not so young) paddlers, including Kai Lenny, Connor Baxter, Candice Appleby and Fiona Wylde.

Click through for the final standings…   → READ MORE

Mid-Year World Rankings: Travis Grant Is Number One (And There’s A Flaw In The System)

ISA Worlds
And just like that, it’s August. This year has flown by. Seems like only yesterday we were getting excited about the first major race of the year, the Carolina Cup. That was four months ago.

We’re now halfway through the international stand up paddling “season,” which loosely runs from April to October (with a couple of outposts in December). Carolina, OluKai, the Worlds, the Euro Tour, Payette and Molokai have already been run and won, while we’ve still got the Gorge Paddle Challenge, Pacific Paddle Games and a few World Series races to look forward to.

So because we’re halfway through the year, I thought it’d be a good time to analyse the best paddlers of 2015 so far.   → READ MORE