LIVE BLOG IS FINISHED… Get the full results from today’s epic channel crossing:
2014 Molokai 2 Oahu RESULTS (plus recap, photos and all the other drama from this crazy race)
Welcome to SUPracer.com’s LIVE coverage of the 2014 Molokai 2 Oahu Paddleboard World Championships presented by the awesome folks over at SIC (who just happen to produce about three quarters of the boards that’ll be out there in the channel tomorrow).
Today (Saturday) is the pre-race day, where we’ll be camped out on Molokai chatting to the paddlers as they make their final preparations. Then on Sunday at 8am it’s time for the epic 32 mile voyage across the Ka’iwi Channel (aka the Channel of Bones) to see who will triumph in the 18th annual edition of this iconic event. Stick around all weekend to see how the action unfolds…
>>> Who’s gonna win? Check out our Molokai 2 Oahu PREDICTIONS
WHEN TO TUNE IN AROUND THE WORLD: The race begins at 8:00am Hawaii Time, Sunday 27th July which is 11:00am Pacific Time (eg. California) = 2:00pm Eastern Time (eg. Florida) = 3:00pm Brazil Time = 7:00pm Greenwich Mean Time (eg. U.K.) = 8:00pm Central European Time (eg. France/Spain/Germany/etc) = 8:00pm South Africa Time = 2:00am Western Australia Time (Monday 28th) = 3:00am Japan Time (Monday 28th) = 4:00am East Coast Australia Time (Monday 28th)
Good morning everyone and welcome to SUPracer.com’s LIVE coverage of the 2014 Molokai 2 Oahu Paddleboard World Championships presented by SIC.
Sounds very formal doesn’t it? Well I assure you this live blog will be anything but professional: I’m island hopping all day today (with very patchy internet) and then will be running around at the finish line tomorrow, trying to get through to the lead boats and piece together the story.
So don’t expect an ESPN-style broadcast, but hopefully I can help give you an insight into what makes this race such an amazing event.
Today (Saturday) is pre-race day. Right now I’m on a tiny little plane flying from Maui to Molokai. At the airport I happened to bump into Kai Lenny and his dad Martin, as well as Johnny Kessell from PaddleAthlete.com. Quite a coincidence to be on the same flight as one of the favourites, seeing these planes literally hold about 10 people.
So anyway we’ll see what the internet situation is like on Molokai but the plan is to give you some behind-the-scenes updates all day today: How the paddlers are preparing, what their goals are, how they’re handling the nerves, what they’ll be paddling tomorrow and maybe a few last minute predictions as well.
Should be a fun day so stick around and follow the action. Tomorrow during race day we’ll have solid internet, but today could be a little patchy… so stick with us and enjoy the ride. Better go, this tiny plane is about to land…
Landed on Molokai! It was a cool sight at the airport as every plane arriving was full of paddlers. It’s a tiny little airport too, so you’d inevitably bump into someone as you were passing through.
Definitely a lot of buzz and excitement
There were only 9 people on our tiny little flight from Maui to Molokai and one of them just happened to be a leading contender for tomorrow’s race: Kai Lenny
Also ran into Mo Freitas at the airport, a very quick young kid who I’m predicting for the top 10. Actually speaking of predictions, check out my rather bold picks for tomorrow. I’m going out on a limb and trying to guess the entire Top 10 men. Considering I can’t really see much of a difference between the whole top five, I wouldn’t be putting money on my tips… But still, what fun would it be if the race was predictable? This is gonna be a tight one in both the men’s and women’s races.
Here are the predictions: http://www.supracer.com/2014-molokai-2-oahu-predictions/
Just ran into Travis Grant, Heath Meldrum and Ed Wheeler at the petrol station. Molokai is a pretty small place. Full country.
Now we’re driving down to the start line with Kai Lenny, his dad Martin and Johnny from PaddleAthlete.com. Should be there in 20 minutes. Hopefully get some solid internet and then start relaying the atmosphere to you
Travis Grant and Kai Lenny talking tactics…
Made it! After a long winding drive through the Molokai countryside, we arrived at the start line. Most of the paddlers are staying here so everyone’s just milling around talking story and trying to decipher the forecast for tomorrow…
Speaking of the forecast: Right now it’s looking pretty good. Not epic, but definitely should be one of the faster years. The question mark is a storm forming over the Big Island of Hawaii – if that goes in the right direction then we could get winds up to 25 knots in the channel tomorrow. Right now the forecast is calling 10-15 knots, which isn’t too bad but not an epic downwinder.
Gotta keep in mind Molokai is rarely a downwinder… This isn’t like the classic Maliko run or the epic Maui 2 Molokai race; Molokai 2 Oahu is waaaay harder. Not just the distance but the conditions as well.
We’ll know tonight how it’s gonna look, but right now everyone seems cautiously optimistic about having a fast race. The record in the SUP division went down in 2012, when Connor Baxter and Talia Gangini both smashed the previous times in super good conditions. Connor crossed in 4 hours 13 minutes while Talia was the first woman to break the 5 hour barrier (4 hours 55 minutes)
The starting area for Molokai 2 Oahu is small but interesting part of this race. Molokai is basically all countryside. Very little development. The start line for M2O sits on the north-western tip and is based at an odd little resort that looks like it had its hey dey in the 80s. A bunch of cool little condos right near the beach. It may be getting a little dated, but the views are timeless.
Most of the paddlers are staying here so everybody is wandering around saying hello and generally acting pretty laid back and chilled for the day before one of the biggest races of the year.
I’m sitting here in one of the condos looking out at Oahu in the distance (which you can just see if you look really, really hard). I’ll try give you a glimpse of the view, it’s unreal…
Just did a few quick updates to my Molokai 2 Oahu predictions. Kody Kerbox is OUT due to illness. Kody was one of the favourites for the stock class win, while his key rival there, Travis Baptiste, has also been struggling all week with sickness. That could leave the door open for guys like Riccio, Becker and Logreco.
The mood here is seriously relaxed around here, you really wouldn’t know that such a big race is happening tomorrow. Feels like we’re on holidays…
I ran into the defending prone champion, Brad Gaul, a little earlier. Brad won’t be winning the race this year because he’s not doing prone… He teamed up with surfing legend and fellow Sydneysider Tom Carroll to make the crossing as a team.
Actually look for these two to put on a pretty good show. Tom has been paddling since day one of this sport (he was one of the first guys in Australia to do a SUP downwinder) while Brad is obviously a paddling machine.
But when it comes to the Team Relay division, I don’t think anyone can get close to Zane Schweitzer and Titouan Puyo, who I’m labeling as the Dream Team. These guys are absolute machines. If they were entered in the solo stock division I’d have them as podium certainties, so now they’re combined I think they’re gonna put down a very solid time.
Let’s take a look around Instagram and see what’s happening…
Here’s Chuck Patterson. He’ll be doing tomorrow’s crossing in a two-man team with Thomas Maximus. The duo has already won the trophy for biggest combined biceps…
Here’s Kai Lenny’s nearly identical post to the photo I put up earlier. I say ‘nearly’ identical… the only difference is, his post got 2,000 likes in an hour, mine got about 50. Though as a bonus I do now have 200 teenage girls following me after Kai mentioned @supracer in his post…
I ran into Livio Menelau – practically a top 10 certainty tomorrow – and his Brazilian buddies at Maui airport. They were on the next flight. We could only fit 9 or 10 people at a time on these planes. Very entertaining way to travel…
The wind is seriously blowing out there right now. I’m looking at some great little bumps just off the shore, so I can imagine the channel is churned up pretty good at the moment. The wind forecast for today is similar to tomorrow: East winds at around 10-15 knots. However right now it’s gotta be getting closer to 20, so that’s a good sign for the race in the morning…
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world…
While all the focus is on Molokai this weekend, there’s actually a pretty good race happening somewhere else in the world at the same time: A bunch of the young guns are in Rome, Italy for a very sold race happening as part of the Italia Surf Expo. Casper Steinfath, Jake Jensen, Leonard Nika, Roman Frejo, Dylan Frick and Eric Terrien are all on show. From the looks of it, it’s not a bad spot to be…http://instagram.com/p/q7fWlyMdOZ/
If you’re following this in desktop mode you’ll see that big countdown clock over to the right is sitting at just over 20 hours. That’s counting down to 8am local Hawaiian time, when the SUP divisions of the 2014 Molokai 2 Oahu race will start.
There’s been a bit of chatter already today about record times. Right now the forecast isn’t calling for an all time run across the channel, but there’s a decent chance it’ll improve. If it turns on, then we may see the first ever sub-4hr crossing. That would take a monumental effort – just a few years ago it was considered impossible to break 5 hours on a SUP, let alone 4 – but the required talent is certainly here. Now we just need the conditions.
As a benchmark, Connor Baxter’s record from 2012 is 4 hours, 13 minutes, 26 seconds.
If you’re curious how that went down, here are the 2012 Molokai 2 Oahu results
And here are the 2013 Molokai 2 Oahu results if you wanna relive Travis Grant’s epic performance.
Ok we’ve just embedded the real-time GPS tracking map. Every single competitor will have a GPS chip so you can follow them in real time across the channel. Pretty neat! Combine that with our regular updates from the lead boats + other random insights and you should have a pretty good picture of the race tomorrow.
Refresh the page to see the map up top there. Obviously nothing will be happening until 8am Sunday…
Just chatted to Matt Becker. His summary of the race can be summed up thusly: “Can’t wait to see that finish line…”
Also ran into young Riggs Napoleon, who I get the feeling will be referred to as “young” his entire life. Riggs is paddling the channel with his father Aaron. That’s a pretty formidable pairing. I think the Napoleons will podium in the Team Relay division. I don’t think they’ll get past the dream team of Zane + Titou, but I reckon they’ll be very competitive.
Matt Becker and Riggs Napoleon looking as relaxed as you possibly could with a 32 mile paddle less than 24 hours away…
Matt Becker with Connor Baxter and his girlfriend Anaé (so that’s the secret…)
?How’s that view in the background? Not bad huh… This race quite literally begins in paradise.
Gonna go for a wander around this place and see who else we can find… More updates coming shortly.
Thomas Maximus and Chuck Patterson – hot favourites in the Clydesdale Division…
The Brazilians have been out in force the past few weeks. There was one group of 14 Brazilians camped out on Maui for Downwind Month, not to mention the expats such as Andrea Moller and Livio Menelau. Look for those two to perform well tomorrow, as well as Brazil’s #1 all round paddler, Vinnicius Martins. Also keep an eye on Alex Matero, who’s doing his 10th channel crossing..!
The wind is seriously picking up! Granted by this time tomorrow, most of the paddlers will have crossed the line. But still… pretty good sign. It’s not going to be a straight downwind run (it rarely is) but it’ll be coming in over the paddlers’ right shoulders. So basically they’ll wanna catch the bumps, surf towards the right, paddle hard with the wind, catch another bump, surf towards the right again, and repeat… for five hours or so.
It’s now 3pm here in Hawaii, which means exactly 17 hours til the start of the 2014 Molokai 2 Oahu Paddleboard World Championships. All of the stand up paddlers will start at 8am local time Sunday morning (the prone paddleboard dvisions will start at 7:30am)
If you want more coverage also keep the official Molokai2Oahu.com live feed running the whole time. They’ve got some great photo updates + they’ll have the live results as the paddlers cross the finish.
Combine the official M2O.com live feed, photos, GPS and results with our behind the scenes updates and hopefully you’ll get a great insight into this huge, crazy, iconic race called Molokai. It’s really quite amazing that we can follow this event more closely than your average beach race. The action in Molokai 2 Oahu happens miles from shore in a wide, open and unforgiving stretch of ocean. So hats off to the organisers for introducing the GPS this year, as well as feeding a bunch of cool pics through Facebook. Hopefully SUPracer.com can play its small role in the spectacle.
It’s now 3:15pm and this place is still incredibly chilled out considering what’s coming up… I was just chatting with Jenny Kalmbach and she summed it up pretty well: “Earlier in the week I was totally stressed but today there’s no worries at all…”
Jenny is the 2009 M2O champion for those new to the sport…
Speaking of relaxed, here’s how the two leading Clydesdale Division contenders are enjoying themselves:
And here’s a great one from Becker describing the torture that was last year’s M2O (when conditions went sour and paddlers endured one of the slowest crossings ever):
“This picture pretty much sums up my #molokai2oahu world championship experience last year. My first year took me 4 hours and 45 minutes to cover 32 miles, the next year (last year) took me 6 hours and 4 minutes. I fell 22 times and paddled about 15 miles into 3-6 foot chops coming from 3 different directions with the rest of the competitors during the last portion of the race. Paddling over a 12 foot tiger shark and falling right after didn’t help either. It was by far one of the most humbling experiences of my life … Hopefully this year goes a little better @surftechpaddle @barkboards @qbpaddles @virusintl @officialmauijim @futuresfins @futuressup @proliteint @prolitesup @ultimatesupshowdown”
It’s interesting to look back at the past winners of Molokai 2 Oahu. The first ever stand up paddler officially made the crossing in 2004 I believe, however it wasn’t an official division for two more years. Kevin Horgan won the first two editions (his 2006 time was 7:23:14, which just goes to show how fast the sport has evolved), followed by Oahu surfing supremo Duane DeSoto. After the the Kalamas dominated for a couple of years before Connor Baxter matured into a world beater. Amazingly, Travis Grant became the first non-Hawaiian to win the SUP solo unlimited division with his victory last year.
2013: Travis Grant (Australia
2012: Connor Baxter (Hawaii)
2011: Connor Baxter (Hawaii)
2010: Dave Kalama (Hawaii)
2009: Ekolu Kalama (Hawaii)
2008: Duane DeSoto (Hawaii)
2007: Kevin Horgan (Hawaii)
2006: Kevin Horgan (Hawaii)
On the women’s side we’re going to see every single past champion in action tomorrow, EXCEPT for the defending champion Terrene Black (who was battling chronic fatigue syndrome up until a couple of months ago and so obviously didn’t have time to prepare).
2013: Terrene Black (Australia)
2012: Talia Gangini (Hawaii)
2011: Andrea Moller (Brazil)
2010: Andrea Moller (Brazil
2009: Jenny Kalmbach (Costa Rica/Hawaii)
2008: Morgan Hoesterey (Hawaii)
It’s now 3:30pm here on Molokai. In a couple of hours we’ve got the race briefing and then the athlete dinner, at which point I’ll leg it back to the airport for my flight to Oahu. I’ll be at the finish line in Hawaii Kai bright and early, feeding through the updates from the lead boats as they come through.
It’s now 20 past 5 here on Molokai. In a few minutes we’ll start the race briefing then it’s the athletes’ dinner, at which time I’ll be on a plane back to Oahu for my base camp at the finish line.
Been a lotta fun hanging out here at the start line today, though definitely not what I expected. The atmosphere was super mellow and friendly, not tense and nervous as I’d expected. I think most paddlers got their nerves out of the way several days or weeks ago; now it’s just time to get it done and then celebrate over on Oahu.
Tomorrow’s going to be a great race, so tune in at 8am for live updates. We’ve got a bunch of escort boats on speed dial, including Travis Grant, Kai Lenny, Scott Gamble, Connor Baxter, Dave Kalama, Sonni Honscheid, Andrea Moller and a few others. So we should get some great behind-the-scenes updates to compliment the awesome new GPS tracking map.
I gotta run to the airport now. Might have a few more updates later tonight if some breaking news comes through, but if not we’ll see you in the morning. If you’re just joining us, scroll down to see what you missed today on Molokai. Also check out the official Molokai2Oahu.com news feed which has some great photos from today.
For now I’ll leave you with the view of the start line here on Molokai. This place is a real paradise…
We’re just over 10 hours out from the start of the 2014 Molokai 2 Oahu Paddleboard World Championships. The race starts at 8am local Hawaii time on Sunday. So what time is that everywhere else in the world?
8:00am Hawaii = 11:00am Pacific Time (eg. California) = 2:00pm Eastern Time (eg. Florida) = 3:00pm Brazil Time = 7:00pm Greenwich Mean Time (eg. U.K.) = 8:00pm Central European Time (eg. France/Spain/Germany/etc) = 8:00pm South Africa Time = 2:00am Western Australia Time (Monday 28th) = 3:00am Japan Time (Monday 28th) = 4:00am East Coast Australia Time (Monday 28th)
So there you go – wherever you are in the world, make sure you’re tuning in for this one. Should be a classic. Race starts at 8am local time and I’d expect the leaders to cross just after 12 noon (the record is 4 hours 13 minutes, but I don’t think we’ll break it this year).
It’s race day!
In 90 minutes the stand up paddleboard divisions will set off from Molokai for the 32 miles crossing to Oahu. It’s 6:30am here in Hawaii and the gun will go off for the SUPs at 8am (the prone paddleboarders will start first at 7:30am)
It’s a nice morning on both Molokai and Oahu. Hardly any clouds (which means it’ll probably be a very hot race).
I’m over at the finish line on Oahu, however we’ve got Mike from StandUpMagazin.com at the start line giving us the inside look.
Paddlers are on the beach right now for the traditional Pule’ (Hawaiian prayer). This is the iconic image where paddlers form a huge circle for a traditional Hawaiian pre-race blessing. We’ll have some pics in a moment…
For now I’ll leave you with the view of the start line here on Molokai. This place is a real paradise…
Matt Becker with Connor Baxter and his girlfriend Anaé (so that’s the secret…)
How’s that view in the background? Not bad huh… This race quite literally begins in paradise.
It’s a very iconic sight to see the hundreds of paddlers gathered in the circle, with a couple of hundred escort boats in the background.
If you squint really, really hard, you can actually see Oahu and the finish line waaaay off in the background of that second photo…
The paddleboarders are on the beach making their final preparations, some of them are paddling out to their escort boats for last minute instructions, whiel others are just chilling and waiting for the inevitable pain that’s about to come…
Just chatted to Mike from Stand Up Magazin who said the atmosphere over there is “good but hectic” with everybody running around looking for their boats.
The start line over on Molokai is at a fairly small little beach, so with 300 odd boats it can get pretty crowded. Some of those boats don’t show up until an hour before the race, and many paddlers have never met their captains or seen their boats before today, so it can actually be rather difficult to line up with your escort.
It’s mandatory to have an escort boat across the channel, for safety purposes.
However this year, the escort boats will play another very important role: They’ll be holding the GPS satellite tracking chips for their respective athletes, which will allow us to follow the race in real time. See the big GPS map up above? (Refresh the page if you can’t) that’ll start updating when the prone paddlers set off in about 20 minutes. SUP race start is still 50 minutes away.
Ok so if SUPracer.com crashes for any reason in the next few hours (and it probably will as thousands of stand up fans hit the site to follow this classic race), here are some vital links you should bookmark:
Direct link for the GPS tracking map:
Mobile version of the tracking map:
Official Molokai2Oahu.com race feed:
(they won’t have live news updates but they’ll have live GPS and photos)
So what can we expect from today’s race?
Conditions are decent but not great. This race is all about the conditions and paddlers will often obsess over the wind and tide in the lead up to race day.
Molokai 2 Oahu is rarely a “fun downwinder” and is usually a bit of a sidewind grind. The prevailing trade winds blow from north to south, which pushes the paddlers south of their preferred line. So basically you follow the wind and then when you catch a bump, surf towards the right to make up for it.
Today the winds are looking fairly good. East/North East, which isn’t too far away from a straight line across the channel. The tides aren’t favourable but they’re not terrible either. This morning the tide will be pushing from south to north, which is a little bit in the face of the paddlers but will actually help keep them on course as the wind is pushing them in the opposite direction.
Winds are predicted to hit around 15 knots. You’d want at least 25 knots for the really good bumps to form, but at least it won’t be flat out there.
There was a bit of a buzz over on Molokai yesterday, with a few paddlers predicting very favourable conditions and perhaps even record times. But the M2O race director Mike Takahashi squashed those rumours as last night’s race briefing, suggesting it could be “A lot more difficult than you think out there tomorrow.”
If anyone knows this channel it’s Mike, so I’d say we have it on pretty good authority that today’s race won’t be breaking any records. Hopefully conditions improve and we can see some fast times, but I’d expect the leaders to hit by around 12:30pm, 4.5 hours after the 8am start.
The record from 2012 is 4 hours 13 minutes, while last year the leading times were around 4 hours 50 minutes. So you can see how much conditions impact the times… This year I’m calling somewhere right in the middle of those two.
Here’s another angle of this morning’s Pule’ thanks to the official Molokai2Oahu.com feed
Just 10 minutes from the start of the prone race. Most of the paddleboarders are out in water ready to go. This year we’re going to see a new champ in the men’s unlimited prone division, with two-time defending champ, Australia’s Brad Gaul, choosing to do the crossing as a team relay with surfing legend Tom Carroll.
I’m not a betting man and I know very little about prone paddleboarding, but even with Brad out of the picture I’m gonna say that Australia is looking veeery good to take this year’s race. That’s on the men’s side. On the women’s side Aussie superstar Jordan Mercer will be very, very hard to keep up with.
The prone paddleboarders are off!
In a few minutes, as the escort boats start motoring out into the channel, we’ll get to see how well the GPS tracking map works. Hopefully it all goes smoothly, this is A grade technology that M2O organisers have invested a lot in. Stoked they stepped it up this year and gave everyone a new way to follow the race.
Ok so the prone paddleboarders are officially on, which means the stand up paddlers will now start making their final preparations.
There are a LOT of boats out there… Here’s a cool shot courtesy of Mike from StandUpMagazin.com:
Paddlers don’t have to weave their way through that chaos, they actually start a couple of hundred metres to the right of this picture, with a clean line out into the channel. At that point it’s up to each individual boat captain to spot and follow their athlete. If you lose contact with your escort boat, or if it breaks down, technically you’re not supposed to race, though I’ve heard a few stories about paddlers quite literally doing this crossing “solo” …
If you look at the GPS tracking map up top, you can see the dots that represent each prone paddleboarder moving out into the channel. Remember the tracking chips are on the escort boats, not the paddlers, but for 99% of the race the boats will be side by side with their respective athletes, so we should get a pretty accurate summary of the action.
Cool shot of the prone start from the official Molokai2Oahu.com live feed
Here’s another view of the SUP competitors getting ready for the start, which is now just a few minutes away…
Thanks to Mike from Stand Up Magazin for the shot. Mike’s on the media boat with a bunch of stoked out photographers:
Two minutes til the horn blows…
And they’re off! The 2014 Molokai 2 Oahu Paddleboard World Championships is officially underway for 150 odd brave and determined stand up paddlers. Confronting them is a 32 mile stretch of ocean named the Ka’iwi Channel, otherwise known as the Channel of Bones due to it’s merciless nature.
Kai Lenny has taken off like a rocket, sprinting out to an early lead as the others give chase
In my Molokai 2 Oahu predictions, I called this as a five way race between Scott Gamble, Travis Grant, Dave Kalama, Kai Lenny and Connor Baxter. I’m certain one of those five will win it, but don’t count out guys like Kaeo Abbey and Livio Menelau, who will push hard for a top five spot. In the women’s, it’ll be a four-way battle between Andrea Moller, Sonni Honscheid, Jenny Kalmbach and Talia Decoite, though I think the winner will come from the trio of Andrea/Sonni/Jenny. I’m tipping Sonni. Just.
According to Mike from Stand Up Magazin, who will be relaying us photos and race updates all morning, Kai is out front with Connor right behind him. There is a 50 metre gap (and growing…) to the rest of the field.
Kai now has a slight lead and is moving a little further to the south. He and Connor still have a good 50 metres plus on the rest of the field. Looks like the two young guns have gone out super hard. But… this is a long race. There are still 31.5 miles to go…
Kai with a slight lead from Connor, with the two youngsters taking a very slightly different line rather than chasing each other.
If you look at the GPS tracking map up top you’ll see the dots moving out into the channel. It’ll be a little hectic early on as everyone is bunched together – probably won’t be for another hour or so that we see the clear positions right through the field.
If SUPracer.com starts going slow, head over to the official Molokai2Oahu.com live feed where you can catch the GPS tracking map.
Failing that, here’s the direct link to the GPS map:
While it’s too early to properly tell, we can kinda see that most paddlers are looking to take the “Rhumb line” which is the nickname given to the straight line between Molokai and Oahu. Basically it’s the shortest distance… and the most logical route. However sometimes conditions can be such that a more north or more south line will actually get you there faster, even if it means you cover more distance. But yeah right now everyone’s gunning it straight out into the channel according to the GPS map. Though it looks like Matty Becker has gone quite a long way to the north by himself.
Update from Mike @ StandUpMagazin.com: Women’s race seems to be a close battle, with Andrea leading from Talia and Sonni.
Here’s a good shot of the group charging out into the channel…
Update from Mike @ StandUpMagazin.com:
Kai Lenny has gapped everyone, including Connor Baxter and now has a 100 metre lead. Connor 2nd. Dave Kalama has moved up into 4th.
The dots are starting to spread out on the GPS map now and we’re getting a clearer picture of what’s happening. Kai Lenny is leading with Connor Baxter and Travis Grant virtually even in second. A little further back we have Dave Kalama and Scott Gamble neck and neck in 4th/5th. Very close to them is Travis Baptiste on his 14 footer, meaning he’s leading the stock class.
In a few minutes I’ll start calling in on the lead escort boats for some athlete updates. I’ve got the boats for Kai Lenny, Connor Baxter, Travis Grant, Dave Kalama, Scott Gamble, Sonni Honscheid and Andrea Moller on speed dial, so we should get some interesting insights about the leaders.
Kai Lenny still out in front setting a blistering pace. This kid is one of the most determined and focused people I’ve ever met. He definitely has both the talent and the mindset to take this race, however it’s a long way across the Ka’iwi Channel and Kai has some pretty darn stiff competition.
The bumps are picking up… Here’s a great shot from the official Molokai2Oahu.com live feed
And just like that, we’re already one hour into this race… I predict the leaders will finish in around 4 hours 30 minutes, so we’ve still got a long way to go…
Still a fairly close race. Kai maintaining a lead but about 100 metres behind him are Connor Baxter, Scott Gamble and Travis Grant, who are virtually even but on slightly different north-south lines.
Looks like Kai is still leading but it’s a very close race behind him, with Travis, Scott and Connor all neck and neck. 500 metres behind him we’ve got Dave Kalama battling it out for 5th with guys like Kaeo Abbey, Armie Armstrong and Livio Menelau
Sonni Hönscheid appears to be leading in the women’s race. Just. Behind her we’ve got Andrea Moller and Talia Gangini in a close race, while a little further back is Jenny Kalmbach.
Cool shot of Scott Gamble taken from the official live feed:
Just chatted to Martin Lenny (Kai’s dad) for some mid-channel updates: Very tight group out front – Connor and Kai are neck and neck with a slight lead over Travis Grant and Dave Kalama. Scott Gamble a little further back in 5th place. Beautiful day out there in the channel, conditions are very nice, lots of wind. Not an epic downwinder but we should see some pretty solid finishing times.
Close race between the top 5 as we expected, with Kai and Connor pushing each other at the moment and securing a slight lead.
We’re now 1 hour 30 minutes into this race (or roughly a third of the way across the channel), so probably 3 more hours to go…
The GPS tracking map above, as amazing and awesome as it is, can take a few minutes to update, so it’s not always showing the exact positions. But after chatting with Kai Lenny’s boat, sounds like the order right now is:
1st: Kai Lenny
2nd: Connor Baxter
=3rd: Dave Kalama
=3rd: Travis Grant
5th: Scott Gamble
Interesting to see what size board each paddler has chosen for this crossing. The “standard” unlimited length is 17 feet, but most have gone a little above or below that.
Dave Kalama: 18’6″ x 25″
Kai Lenny: 17′ x 25″
Connor Baxter: 17’4″ x 25″
Travis Grant: 17’6″ x 25.75″
Scott Gamble: 17′ x 27″
Sonni Hönscheid: 17’4″ x 27″
Andrea Moller: 17’4″ x 27″
Jenny Kalmbach: 16′ x 26″
Talia Decoite: 16′
Just called in on Travis Grant’s wife Blair, who is on the defending champ’s boat. Trav has made a move up into 2nd place, just behind Connor. The two are going back and forth. Kai still leads by about 50 metres. 100 metres behind Connor and Travis are Scott and Dave, who are neck and neck
Still a very close race between the top five. I don’t wanna play favourites but I would love to see Travis go back to back… I predicted him to finish 5th but that was more me trying to be overly unbiased – or maybe I’m just trying to find a disclaimer in case my predictions are wrong :-D
No matter what, this is still anybody’s race!
Travis Grant being stalked by the media chopper:
Here’s a good shot of Kalama showing just how bumpy it is out there. This pic was taken over half an hour ago, so it’s probably even rougher by now.
The leading stand up paddlers are passing through some heavy traffic as they overtake much of the prone paddleboarding field. The winner of the SUP division will probably cross the line about 20-30 minutes faster than the leading paddleboarder. However the prone paddlers started half an hour earlier, so the winners should hit Oahu right around the same time.
Livio Menelau (Brazil/Maui) and Kaeo Abbey (Oahu) are battling for 6th place. They’re actually very close to the top five and could still cause an upset or two.
Cool post on Facebook from the SIC crew. Their star women are leading the race – it’s a tight battle between Andrea, Sonni and Talia right now. Meanwhile the men’s race features plenty of SIC boards as well… Dave and Connor are on customs that they purchased from the SIC factory on Maui, while Scott Gamble is on a hollow V2 Bullet (the only top 5 guy not on a custom foam board). SIC team rider Livio Menelau is in a great battle for 6th place with Kaeo Abbey.
Speaking of Team SIC, there’s a very interesting side story about Andrea Moller…
The Brazilian-turned-Maui-local is competing in her 10th straight Molokai 2 Oahu. Now that’s impressive, but it’s no record on its own – quite a few paddlers have done the crossing more than that. But here’s where it gets really cool: Andrea is doing her 10th straight crossing on a Stand Up Paddleboard… And SUPs have only been allowed in the race since 2005… Meaning Andrea has crossed the channel on a SUP every single year it’s been allowed. Nobody else can match that record as far as I know.
So yeah, Andrea was paddling the 32 miles from Molokai to Oahu before most of us even knew that SUP existed
Kai Lenny has dropped off ever so slightly, with Connor Baxter and Travis Grant now taking the lead. The three of them are fairly even but on a slightly different line north to south. Scott and Dave about 600 metres further back, so right now it’s a three way race.
1st: Travis Grant
2nd: Connor Baxter
3rd; Kai Lenny
4th: Scott Gamble
5th: Dave Kalama
Those last updates came courtesy of Travis’ boat, where we were chatting with his wife Blair on the phone.
Just spoke to Nate on Andrea Moller’s boat: Andrea looking very relaxed and comfortable, cruising along at 80%. Good conditions, much better than usual, though the bumps are a little messy and sticky as different wind/swell directions cause some turbulence.
Andrea is taking a straight line across the channel, further to her north is Talia Decoite who is virtually even but on a slightly wider line. However according to the GPS, Sonni is out in the lead by about 500 metres. Though again, most paddlers are taking different lines so it’s hard to say exactly how big the gaps are.
Here’s a cool shot of Connor from moments ago, heading towards a couple of photographers as he pulled away slightly from Travis and Kai. The 2011 + 2012 champ is looking good and getting very close to a third win, but Kai and Travis won’t let him out of their sights.
This pic comes from the official live feed, which has some great photo updates:
Interesting to watch the line the paddlers are taking, now that we’re two thirds of the way through the race:
The pic below shows Connor Baxter’s crossing across the Ka’iwi Channel. That little red dot on the far left is the finish line, however paddlers can’t see that: The peninsula sticking out into the ocean on the south east corner of Oahu is the rough target for each paddler. That’s where the infamous ‘China Walls” lies: China walls is the big rock cliffs that paddlers go around before they start their 1 mile upwind grind to the finish line in the town of Hawaii Kai.
I’m sitting here right near the finish line in Hawaii Kai. The wind is blowing hard… The infamous upwind finish is going to be in full effect this year. There are some small waves off China Walls but not much… Paddlers are going to have to grind out the final mile of this race. That might even be where the race is won if it’s close enough between the top few paddlers.
Interestingly it looks like the lead SUP guys have overtaken every single one of the prone paddleboarders (who had a 30 minute head start).
Matt Poole and Rory Chapman from Australia are the lead prone guys right now and he’s virtually even with Connor Baxter, but on a much more northern line (so he’s got further to paddle home). If they’ve already taken the overall lead and we’re still 8 or 9 miles from the finish, that suggests the leading SUP guys are putting on a very fast pace.
Matt Poole and Rory Chapman from Australia are the lead prone guys right now and they’re virtually even with Connor Baxter, but on a much more northern line (so they’ve got further to paddle home). If they’ve already taken the overall lead and we’re still 8 or 9 miles from the finish, that suggests the leading SUP guys are putting on a very fast pace.
Updates from Travis Grant’s boat: It’s now a three way race between Travis, Connor and Kai.
1st: Connor Baxter
…30 metre gap…
2nd: Travis Grant
…20 metre gap…
3rd: Kai Lenny
Dave Kalama and Scott Gamble have been dropped, while Vinnicius Martins, Livio Menelau and Kaeo Abbey are all pushing to claim one of the top 5 podium spots.
The race for the men’s SUP unlimited crown is VERY very close. It’s between Connor, Travis and Kai. Could be anyone’s race and it might come down to a one mile sprint upwind into Hawaii Kai… We’re still at least 90 minutes from the finish though so anything could happen before then.
Just got an update from StandUpMagazin.com’s Mike Jucker, who is on the Ocean Paddler TV media boat: Connor has opened up a big lead in the past few minutes and now has 200 metres on Travis and Kai!
The GPS tracking is actually showing Vinnicius Martins from Brazil in the virtual lead ahead of Connor, Travis Kai.
I had Vini picked as a strong contender to sneak into the top five, but I didn’t expect he’d have the pace to stick with the leaders. This young guy from Brazil is a phenomenal paddler but of course the GPS chips are on the boats (plus the tracking can sometimes lag by a few minutes) so we can’t say for sure if Vini is right up there or not. We’ll try and get an update from one of the lead boats.
It looks like the top three or four SUP guys are right in the mix alongside the top two prone guys (Australia’s Matt Poole and Rory Chapman). Seeing the prone paddleboarders had a 30 minute head start and the SUPs are already level, you can expect the SUP leaders to eventually pull away. But for now at least it looks like an interesting little duel for the overall lead.
Travis just made a big move! Caught almost all the way back up to Connor. Only about 50 metres behind.
This is some very cool tracking technology that M2O organisers have invested in… Thanks to the official crew for making this race so much easier to follow:
I just spoke to Travis Grant’s wife Blair on his boat: Travis has overtaken Connor! The defending champ from Australia is in the virtual lead right now. Just. He and Connor are switching back and forth as they close in on Oahu. Kai Lenny is a couple hundred metres further back, while Dave Kalama and Scott Gamble seem to be in a race for 4th right now. This is going to be an exciting finish!
Looks like Travis Grant’s pre-race line of “not really prepared, didn’t really do the training” was his standard routine of talking down his chances. This guy is so humble I’m starting to wonder if it’s all a master plan to fly under the radar :-D
Travis is also making a mockery of my predictions. And I couldn’t be happier. I try not to play favourites but will be the first to admit I’m always cheering for Trav whenever he’s on the water. It helps that I grew up five minutes from him, but it’s more the fact this guy is so down to earth and so genuine. He’s like the underdog you always support, even though he’s so damn talented that “underdog” is a ridiculous label…
Looks like Travis Grant’s pre-race line of “not really prepared, didn’t really do the training” was his standard routine of talking down his chances. This guy is so humble I’m starting to wonder if it’s all a master plan to fly under the radar :-D
Travis is also making a mockery of my predictions. And I couldn’t be happier. I try not to play favourites but will be the first to admit I’m always cheering for Trav whenever he’s on the water. It helps that I grew up five minutes from him, but it’s more the fact this guy is so down to earth and so genuine. You can’t help but wanna root for this guy.
In the women’s race it looks like Talia is also making a mockery of my pre-race suggestion that her lack of racing in the past twelve months would count her out of a top three finish. Right now the 2012 champ is leading ahead of Sonni and Andrea…
Actually it looks like Jenny is right up there as well, according to the GPS map. Right now it looks fairly even between Sonni, talia and Jenny, with Andrea in 4th
Travis Grant showing classic form as he battles for the lead with Connor:
Photo below thanks to the official live feed:
Another shot from the Official Feed showing Travis take over the lead from Connor:
It’s going to be a super close finish!
Ok now we know why Vinnicius Martins was charging ahead of the leaders… According to the official Facebook feed, Vini has pulled out of the race.
So his boat would have been speeding past the leaders on the way to Oahu, with his GPS chip still active.
Cruel way to finish what has been an amazing few weeks in Hawaii for the 18 year old. Vinnicius put on some memorable performances in Maui and was looking like a top 5 chance in this race before he pulled out. But this kid is a serious talent and I’m sure the always-smiling Brazilian will be back again soon!
Receiving a few reports that the awesome GPS tracking map is a little unstable under the weight of thousands of paddleboarding fans trying to follow this race. We’ll try and keep you posted right til the finish line, though SUPracer.com is crashing intermittently as well… I’ll have a chat with NASA this week and see if we can get things a little more stable for 2015 :-D
But that just goes to show how much interest ther eis in this race. Molokai 2 Oahu gets an even more hardcore following than the Battle of the Paddle. It truly is one of the great races in our sport.
Update by Mike from Stand Up Magazin, who is on the media boat tracking the leaders: Connor has just overtaken Travis and established a 100 metre lead. Still very even between these two guys. Kai is “way back” and Scott, Dave and the others are out of the picture. Looks like a two horse race to the line…!
Women’s race still looks very close according to the GPS map: Sonni and Jenny seem to have a lead of about 500 metres on Andrea, with Talia dropping back to 4th…
Current positions still the same: Travis and Connor neck and neck. Kai distant 3rd. Scott/Dave battling for 4th.
Update from Mike: “Here is your winner, 99%…” as Connor pulls away from Travis
Connor just a mile and a half from the finish… I think heäs got it! Travis still has a chance but getting gapped…
We can see Connor from the finish!
Cannot see him losing from here… it has been a brave performance from Travis but I think Connor will take it for the third time
He can’t lose from here! Sprinting the final half a mile…
Connor owering towards Hawaii Kai. Travis only 200 metres behind but Connor will cross the line in less than 2 minutes…
CONNOR BAXTER WINS THE 2014 MOLOKAI 2 OAHU PADDLEBOARD WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Woah sorry for the delay… server just crashed hard right after the finish!
Travis Grant finished just a minute behind connor. They both crossed in record time. There was about a 10 minute gap to Scott Gamble in third, who made up a lot of ground in the dyingstages. Big gap further back to Kai Lenny, who finished just ahead of Travis Baptiste (5th overall and 1st stock – amazing effort) with Dave Kalama just behind that.
Riggs Napoleon and his dad Aaron have won the Team Relay… Zane and Titou about 5-10 minutes behind in 2nd
Sonni looks like she’ll take the women’s… Jenny is 300 metres behind… Penelope Strickland has moved right up into 3rd… Talia 4th Andrea 5th
Mo Freitas crosses for 10th.
Just chatted to Vinnicius Martins from Brazil – his rudder broke when he was in about equal 4th or 5th position.. heartbreak! But as always, Vini was smiling and happy at the finish. Seriously I’ve never met anyone who’s so consistently happy as this guy. Love it.
SONNI HÖNSCHEID WINS Molokai 2 Oahu 2014! Jenny Kalmbach 2nd.
Amazing performance from Sonni, with the German crossing in around 5 hours. We’ll see if she beat the five hour mark when the official results come through in a few moments…
It’s quite an amazing scene down here at the finish… Some very emotional paddlers crossing the line after six hours out in the ocean. Tonne of spectators cheering them right to the end. Some amazing stories floating around about what it was like out there: comebacks, retirements, broken equipment, good conditions, bad conditions, lots of emotion, lots of drama, lots of excitement. It’s so cool to see the champions just hanging out chatting away with everybody like it’s a regular Sunday afternoon. That’s what I love about this sport…
We’re going to wrap up the live blog and move over to the results and recap, which will be posted on SUPracer.com’s front page shortly. Thanks for following along with us and sorry the site crashed two dozen times! Hope it gave you a good little insight into this amazing race. Congratulations to Connor, Travis, Sonni, Jenny and everyone that crossed the Ka’iwi Channel today. Amazing race…
Look for fresh updates on our Facebook page.
There’s also more coverage on the official site: