My guest today is a great paddler and an all-round great guy, and he’s someone I have a great deal of respect for. Kenny Kaneko is Japan’s long-time number one, but he’s also a fantastic ambassador for paddling in general.
We chatted about his love of Molokai, outrigger and his original plan to become a pro football player. Kenny also shared his thoughts on the power of paddling, the future of the sport and life as a family man in the quarantine era.
Defending champion and four-time winner Travis Grant has withdrawn from this year’s Molokai-2-Oahu race through injury, throwing the door wide open for what is surely the most prestigious title in our sport.
Travis, the 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2018 Molokai champ and many tipsters’ favourite to claim a record fifth crown next week, injured his ribs while steering a six-man outrigger canoe in the 4th of July race at Waikiki. The ever-humble Aussie gave himself time to recover but the injury wasn’t improving, telling me on Messenger this afternoon that “I can barely even paddle right now, let alone race a distance like that.” → READ MORE
The pre-season shuffle is virtually complete with nearly a dozen athletes changing teams ahead of the international race season.
I call it “Trade Week” in honour of the big sporting leagues (NBA, AFL, etc) that have set periods each year where players can be poached by rival teams. SUP athletes aren’t really “traded” per se, but hey, never let the truth get in the way of a catchy title 😉 → READ MORE
In brief: Japan’s long-reigning number one Kenny Kaneko has departed Team JP and moved to ONE ahead of the 2019 season, delivering the boutique Aussie brand one of the sport’s finest ambassadors and hardest-working athletes.
World number number two Lincoln Dews and number three Fiona Wylde have each produced a clean sweep in Chigasaki, surviving the challenging combination of an international field and typhoon swell to claim the 300-strong Mynavi SUP Japan Cup and earn another 40x Paddle League points along the way.
Fiona first vanquished home-nation hero Yuka Sato in the 10K challenge on Saturday, before the Starboard Dream Team rider backed it up with a clean sheet in Sunday’s Survivor Race to take a big chunk of the gender-equal $27,000 prize purse.
Meanwhile Lincoln, up against half a dozen all-star internationals and plenty of dark horse locals, cemented his favouritism for next month’s season-ending showdown in California after claiming both days. → READ MORE
In brief: Michael Booth has defended his Japan Cup title on the black sands of Chigasaki this weekend, overpowering a small but elite field of internationals that raced alongside hundreds of weekend warriors in one of Japan’s biggest paddle events.
Boothy was too good for compatriot and PPGs podium-getter Matt Nottage, who continued his meteoric rise over the past few months with a solid runner-up finish to give Starboard yet another 1-2 result. Local hero Kenny Kaneko rounded out the men’s podium for Team JP after the results were mirrored in both the 18km marathon and knockout Survivor race. → READ MORE
Japan’s top ranked paddler and best-known international export, Kenny Kaneko, has joined JP Australia, continuing the wave of team changes among top athletes in the new year.
Kenny’s new colours, which he announced on Instagram this morning, follows on from Jake Jensen’s move to ONE last week and comes as several other top riders are getting ready to reveal their new stripes for season 2017. → READ MORE
Annabel Anderson and Mo Freitas have claimed lucrative wins on the second and final day of the Mynavi Japan Cup here in Chigasaki.
Under grey, drizzly skies, which stood in stark contrast to Saturday’s draining hot sun, Mo surged to victory on the final, 10-man lap of the short, sharp survivor course, holding off the Aussie quartet of James Casey, Michael Booth, Toby Cracknell and Matt Nottage. Hometown hero Kenny Kaneko finished just outside the money in sixth. → READ MORE
Kenny 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
The 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
The 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
Travis Grant has taken out Japan’s “Kumano SUP Marathon” for the second year in a row, with the current world number two holding off an impressive Kenny Kaneko in wild ocean conditions.
In what looked to be a beautiful sunny day in a very picturesque part of the country, the pro divisions were sent out of the protected Atashika Bay and into the open ocean. Once outside, they paddled along a rugged coastline of jagged cliffs and small islets that were getting slammed by swells, creating a backwash effect that looked either a whole lot of fun or an absolute nightmare (depending on how wide your board was). → READ MORE
Results are in from the Japan Cup, which was held in the surfing town of Chigasaki on the weekend to continue a big run of events in the land of the rising sun this month.
Fiona Wylde dominated the women’s event, while Mo Freitas, Toby Cracknell, James Casey and Daniel Hasulyo all got a spot on the men’s podiums, with the weekend split between an 18km distance race and the always-entertaining Jamie Mitchell Survivor Race. → READ MORE
There are big changes to the World Rankings following an incredible weekend of racing up in the Gorge. We have a new world number one, a top 10 debutante, several bolters and dozens of other +/- movers on the Men’s Top 100 Leaderboard.
Click through for our full analysis of the latest changes… → READ MORE
I’ve just finished a great few days in Japan, which included a stop at the All Japan SUP Championships. What an incredible trip… Japan has definitely discovered SUP racing and is taking full advantage of their vast amounts of water to explore and have fun.
I was so moved and excited to see all the smiling faces of so many people who have all recently discovered this great sport of ours… → READ MORE
Boss Man’s note: Japan is one of the new frontiers in the world of stand up paddling. They have a fast-growing, super stoked paddling community that features some serious talent. I predict 2015 will see a lot of elite international talent heading to the Land of the Rising Sun to compete…
I’ve just finished a brief but amazing trip to Japan, a place with so much spirit, so much generosity and so much potential to become a major SUP destination. It was unreal.
After hanging out with the NSP Japan guys for a couple of days, which included some amazing food and ridiculously generous hospitality, the main part of the trip was in the small but beautiful town of Kumano, which sits on the Pacific Ocean side of the country just a few hours south of Osaka. → READ MORE
Mo Freitas has taken out the Shonan Chigasaki Pro in Japan ahead of Aussie trio Paul Jackson, Toby Cracknell and Beau O’Brian. Chase Kosterlitz rounded out the top five while Bart de Zwart finished sixth. Despite a relatively small field in the women’s event, Angie Jackson continued to show her strength with a very dominant display.
On day one’s sprint race, it was all Mo Freitas, however on day two’s distance race, Mo had to settle for runner-up behind a very impressive Paul Jackson from Australia. Jacko mastered the tricky upwind/downwind conditions, finding bumps and a couple of well-timed waves to win comfortably. → READ MORE
As we mentioned late last year, Stand Up Paddling in Japan is taking off. The country boasts a fast-growing SUP scene that, given the size of population, economy and history in the ocean sports world, holds more potential than just about any other nation.
We’ve already seen Team Japan in action at the ISA Worlds, while there are literally hundreds of awesome downwind runs in Japan just waiting to be explored. The Land of the Rising Sun also has an established culture of surfing and windsurfing, both of which are very strong foundations for a thriving stand up paddleboarding community. There have already been hundreds of local SUP races and a handful of events featuring international paddlers, however next weekend sees Japan’s most lucrative international event to date: The $20,000 Shonan Chigasaki Pro. → READ MORE