Hawaii in July is Downwind Month. It’s when the wind starts blowing, the bumps start rolling and the paddleboarding world descends on the Hawaiian islands to chase endless glides and elite competition in an absolute paradise. From Maui to Molokai to Oahu, four weekends of big downwind races and one whole month to enjoy the fun and freedom of the open ocean.
The action starts tomorrow with the Da Hui Race on Oahu, before heading to Maui for two massive races back to back: Maui to Molokai and the Maui Paddleboard Race. After that it’s the big one. The main event. The grand finale of Downwind Month. Perhaps the most prestigious race in the world: The Molokai 2 Oahu Paddleboard World Championship on July 27th.
And now thanks to SIC we’re going to focus on the Hawaiian downwind season all month long, including LIVE COVERAGE of Molokai 2 Oahu.
Ever since the birth of SUP racing, paddlers have unofficially labeled July as “Downwind Month” in Hawaii. But I say let’s make it official. July. Hawaii. Downwinders. It’s Downwind Month.
We partnered with the SIC Maui crew for this special feature because they share every paddler’s stoke and passion for riding bumps. SIC is downwinding and SIC is Maui. The SIC brand was founded on Maui by Mark Raaphorst and focused on high performance downwind designs. While these days their range extends to some pretty slick flatwater and all round boards, still at the heart of the SIC brand is the downwinder.
Their iconic “Bullet” downwind board is synonymous with racing in Hawaii and consistently fills the podiums. The SIC team riders include many of the world’s foremost downwind masters, such as the Downwind Queen, Andrea Moller and the local Maliko heroes Jeremy Riggs and Livio Menelau. Even guys and girls that aren’t on the team will often pick up an SIC board when they’re in Hawaii, knowing there’s probably nothing better suited to the amazing glides on offer along the coasts of Maui, Molokai and Oahu.
So SIC was the natural choice to present “Downwind Month” and together we’re going to deliver you all the downwind goodness you can handle. We flirted with “Mini Downwind Month” in May but now July is the main event. Over the next four weekends we’ll see many of the world’s best paddlers tackle some of the biggest races in the world, while enjoying endless glides and good times in between competing.
The action starts tomorrow on the North Shore of Oahu with the Da Hui Race, then goes right through until the end of the month. That’s when SUPracer.com and SIC will bring you LIVE COVERAGE of the 2014 Molokai 2 Oahu race, including live play-by-play updates and LIVE GPS TRACKING on what will be an absolutely massive day for the SUP community.
Outside of the races, we’ll peek behind the scenes and see how the world’s best paddlers enjoy Downwind Month. We’ll have interviews, insights and tips from the downwind masters, video highlights from the world’s best downwind runs and just generally be sharing the stoke of the downwind scene in general.
The SIC Downwind Month race schedule looks a little something like this:
The Da Hui Race, North Shore of Oahu, July 4th
– Perhaps the single biggest paddleboard race in the world, where hundreds of stand up and prone paddlerboarders race along Oahu’s North Shore. I spoke to organisers and they’re at a record 300+ pre-registrations for tomorrow’s race, with another 300 expected to sign up on the beach. This might just be the biggest paddleboard race ever seen.
Maui to Molokai, July 12th
– Known as the funnest downwinder in the world, this 26 mile voyage across the Pailolo Channel is part race/part joyride. Connor Baxter is the undisputed king of this run, having never been beaten in a race between his home on Maui and Molokai, though he’ll have a stack of the world’s finest chasing his title this year.
Maui Paddleboard Race, July 20th
– One of the longest running races in the world. Traditionally the “warm up” to Molokai but now a fully fledged headliner in its own right, the Maui Paddleboard Race calls the world famous Maliko Run home, meaning it’s pretty much guaranteed to be a fun, fast day on the water.
Molokai 2 Oahu, July 27th
– This is the big one. The grand finale of SIC Downwind Month. Many of the world’s top paddlers will challenge the local wildcards in what has become perhaps the single most prestigious SUP race in the world.
The solo SUP divisions for Molokai sold out in three hours this year, despite this being one of the most difficult races in the world (and that’s just getting to the start line…). However that just goes to show you how prestigious this race has become. It’s like a mecca that paddlers from around the world have to make a pilgrimage to at least once in their lives.
This year we’ll see a very interesting M2O battle between the previous three champions: Travis Grant, Dave Kalama and Connor Baxter. Throw in a hungry Kai Lenny and local chargers such as perennial bridesmaid Scott Gamble, Jeremy Riggs, Livio Menelau and you’ve got a big race. In the women’s, Andrea Moller will look to reclaim her crown while last year’s 2nd and 3rd place finishers (Jenny Kalmbach and Sonni Hönscheid) will be hoping to stand a little higher on the podium this year.
Oh and the whole thing will be brought to you LIVE here on SUPracer.com thanks to the SIC crew. We’ll have live play-by-play updates, as we did last year when over 20,000 paddling fans hit the site in the space of a few hours (and crashed our server about a dozen times in the process). But the uber-cool new feature this year is the GPS TRACKING, which the Molokai 2 Oahu organisers have introduced to us for the first time.
Molokai 2 Oahu is going to be a massive day and an amazing way to cap off Downwind Month, but between now and then we’ve got four weeks of downwind goodness to enjoy. So if you can’t make it to Hawaii to enjoy the bumps yourself, we’ll keep you covered with everything that’s happening on the ground and in the water.
SIC Downwind Month. It’s gonna be big and it’s gonna be a whole lotta fun..
While we’re waiting for the action to start, here’s a very cool angle of Hawaii’s most iconic downwind run, Maliko, courtesy of Jeremy Riggs and Livio Menelau.