We’ve just wrapped up the second and final day of the 2014 Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge, with Connor Baxter and Annabel Anderson dominating an all-star field in what will surely be remembered as one of 2014′s best events.
After their respective victories in Saturday’s Course Race, the Starboard duo made it a clean sweep by claiming today’s unique “Double Downwind” event. With the winds lighter than usual for the Gorge (but much better than we’d feared last night), the elite field battled their way up the Columbia Gorge in back-to-back downwind runs. The majority of the world’s top athletes were on show today, which gave us some intense racing and a great spectacle (especially from my vantage point out on the media boat). → READ MORE
We’ve just finished an incredible Molokai 2 Oahu Paddleboard World Championships, where Connor Baxter has narrowly reclaimed the crown from defending champ Travis Grant in what was an amazing race…
After a tight contest early – where the top five favourites of Connor, Scott, Kai, Dave and Travis were all within shouting distance – it became a two-man duel in the last five or six miles before Connor eventually broke free to win in record time. Coming home strong was Scott Gamble for 3rd, with Kai Lenny relinquishing an early lead to settle for 4th. Travis Baptiste put in an absolutely extraordinary effort to finish 5th overall on his 14 footer, just seconds behind Kai and half a minute in front of Dave Kalama.
On the women’s side it was a superhuman effort from Germany’s Sonni Hönscheid, who led for most of the crossing to defeat the determined Jenny Kalmbach. → READ MORE
We’re less than 48 hours away from the 2014 Molokai 2 Oahu Paddleboard World Championships. On Sunday morning a few hundred brave souls will line up on the western shores of Molokai, staring out into the distance at a destination they can’t even see: Oahu.
One of those paddlers will be Travis Grant, the defending champion and one of the big favourites again this year. This guy is always humble and understated, however he knows a hell of a lot about the ocean and how to paddle across it very fast. Well now thanks to NSP you can get some pre-race insights from Trav, including interesting comments about how to approach the race and what to expect out in the middle of the channel. → READ MORE
We’re right smack bang in the middle of the grand spectacular that is SIC’s Downwind Month, when the world descends on the Hawaiian Islands to chase big bumps and endless glides.
Downwind Month is about having fun in the open ocean no matter how fast you go, though it does happen to feature a string of big, elite races as well. In a week and a half it’s the grand daddy: Molokai 2 Oahu, which we’ll be covering LIVE on July 27th. However last weekend saw another big channel crossing: Maui 2 Molokai, where Connor Baxter defeated the likes of Kai Lenny, Dave Kalama and Travis Grant to claim his 6th straight M2M crown.
And thanks to EPIC Aerial Productions, we can now enjoy the race from above… → READ MORE
One of the biggest and longest-running paddleboard races in the world was held in Hawaii today: The 36th Annual Da Hui Race on Oahu’s North Shore. The event is also the first race of SIC Downwind Month and from all reports the wind was blowing and the bumps were rolling today.
Da Hui’s “Independence Day Race” is held each year on the 4th of July and always attracts hundreds of paddlers but this year was surely a record: 338 stand up paddlers and over 600 in total (across the SUP, prone and outrigger divisions).
Click through for pics and full results from all the action on the North Shore today… → READ MORE
Connor Baxter and Andrea Moller have reasserted their dominance of the Hawaiian downwind scene, taking out the 2014 OluKai Ho’olaule’a in surprisingly good conditions on Maui today. Despite Facebook being flooded with messages such as “Hey does anyone have a flat water board I can borrow?!” over the past 48 hours, the wind along the famous Maliko downwind run turned on just in time for the start of the race.
Connor showed once again that he’s the King of Maliko, finishing in a very solid time of 51 minutes, over two minutes clear of the only guy who got within shouting distance of him, Aussie Travis Grant. Maliko stalwart Jeremy Riggs put in a good effort to take home third, while Kody Kerbox came home in 4th ahead of Danny Ching and Livio Menelau.
With close to 300 paddlers on the line, including several of the biggest names in the sport, the event itself has shown it’s one of the world’s premiere races. → READ MORE
Woah… What a race. That was 13 miles of pain. I’m hurting.
Congrats to Danny Ching for muscling his way through this one and to Annabel Anderson for coming out on top despite a huge push from Jenny and Lina. Danny has now won this event three years in a row while Annabel has gone back to back in her first two attempts.
Click through for full results from all the races. → READ MORE
If you need a nice lofty goal to keep you motivated then here’s a good one for ya. Travis Grant, reigning Molokai champ and newly minted Green Card holder, scored an epic downwinder in his backyard on Oahu yesterday, averaging 14km/h (8.7mph) and regularly hitting bursts of over 20km/h (13mph/14mph). Trav is clearly having fun in his newly-adopted home of Hawaii.
Yesterday’s downwinder was on the classic Hawaii Kai run, which stretches from Hawaii Kai, around Diamond Head and finishes at top end of Waikiki. It’s been the site of some classic downwind races in past years and when it’s on it rivals any downwind run in the world. → READ MORE
The reigning Molokai and BOP Distance Champ, Travis Grant, has returned to form with a solid win on the weekend, his first race on a SUP since having knee surgery three months ago. Travis took out stop #6 of the Oahu-based “Kanaka Ikaika” race series, finishing two minutes clear of young gun Mo Freitas and four minutes ahead of Kaeo Abbey.
Not only was this Trav’s first race since coming back from injury, it was actually only the second time he’s paddled standing up since November… → READ MORE
Check out this great interview with reigning Molokai and BOP champ Travis Grant. The full length clip is a little longer than what we’re used to, but it’s packed so full of great insights that I bet you’ll watch it right through. The reel includes everything from technique and training to Travis’ thoughts on paddle design and his plans for the future.
I’ve long said that Travis is the single most under rated paddler in the world: For someone who’s won just about every major race, Trav still flies under the radar. That might change now that he’s got a signature paddle on the market though. The Trifecta by Quickblade is a paddle the Aussie not only used to claim his two major victories last year (Molokai and the BOP Distance Race) but also one he personally helped design. → READ MORE
So who wants to get on a SUP podium? Now’s probably a good time to have a crack at it, because the five best paddlers in the world are all carrying injuries and are all officially out of action at the moment.
In what is an amazing yet unfortunate coincidence, Connor Baxter, Travis Grant, Danny Ching, Kai Lenny and Georges Cronsteadt – aka the top five guys in our Top 13 of 2013 list – have all suffered problems at the same time. Fortunately for these five guys (and unfortunately for everyone else) it’s the off season right now, meaning there aren’t really any big races that you could jump in on and magically gain five positions on the leaderboard.
The SUP racing “season” (if such a thing exists in our sport) roughly runs for seven months between mid-March to mid-October. All these guy got injured in late 2013, giving them a few months to recover and get back in shape before the big races start rolling again.
The injuries for Travis and Georges are the most serious, with up to six months recovery time, while the others should be back within a month or two. Though it’s worth noting that all these injuries were NOT caused by the normal stresses of Stand Up Paddling; they mostly happened while free surfing, except for Georges, who was just plain out of luck during the Battle of the Paddle. So here’s wishing the world’s finest a speedy recovery. But what exactly happened? Here’s a closer look… → READ MORE
On Monday we asked “what” is the Stand Up Paddle Athletes Association. Well now we know “who” it is as well, with the initial Board of Directors line up revealed. And it’s not too shabby…
The new organisation, which aims to promote the sport by giving the athletes a collective voice, will be helmed by: both of the reigning Molokai-2-Oahu Champions, National Champions, State Champions, European Champions, SUP adventure record holders as well as perhaps the most well-traveled SUP athlete in the world.
In case you missed our story yesterday or have completely avoided Facebook the past 24 hours (seriously, every three seconds I see new “such and such likes SUPAA” pop up in my news feed), here’s the elevator pitch (this is the group’s official “Mission Statement”): → READ MORE
There are less than 48 hours until Battle… 48 hours until the world’s best line up at Doheny for the sixth annual Rainbow Sandals Battle of the Paddle California.
However… not ALL of the world’s best paddlers will be on the start line this year. As happens every year, a few of the top names are out for one reason or another. This year that little group just so happens to include three past Elite Race champions…
This isn’t necessarily major news on its own, as we said, this happens every year. However with the recent Battle of the Paddle drug testing announcement, we thought it prudent to put this out ahead of time and make it clear why each of these athletes are pulling out, lest there be any sneaky whispers on the beach come race time. So take a deep breath: Here are the paddlers you won’t be watching compete in the Elite Race on Saturday afternoon. → READ MORE
Most serious race fans will agree that one of the few top picks ahead of this year’s Battle of the Paddle is Travis Grant. The Aussie has been on an absolute tear the past nine months, winning several international-level races in Australia and Europe before posting some big results in Hawaii, which culminated in his epic Molokai-2-Oahu victory six weeks ago. Travis is also a former BOP Elite Race champion (Hawaii 2011) and a permanent fixture on the podium.
So with the 2013 California Battle of the Paddle just two weeks away, Travis was considered by many (us included) to be one of the hot favourites for the Elite Race title along with the likes of Connor Baxter and Danny Ching. But unfortunately Travis’ BOP campaign could be over before it’s even begun, after he dislocated his knee while surfing in Hawaii yesterday. → READ MORE
There are certain names that are synonymous with the Battle of the Paddle. Names such as Danny Ching, Candice Appleby, Jamie Mitchell, Travis Grant and Connor Baxter. These fine athletes have dominated the BOP and pushed the sport to new levels, while at the same time creating strong rivalries among themselves.
Rivalries are what make sport so enthralling. Federer vs Nadal. Slater vs Irons. England vs Australia. It gives individuals added motivation to perform while giving fans something extra to get excited about and cheer for. And now thankfully we have a few genuine rivalries in SUP racing as well.
So as part of our 24/7 coverage of the 2013 Battle of the Paddle in partnership with Starboard, today we’re looking at some of those rivalries up close… → READ MORE
We’ve just wrapped up the first ever “Ultimate SUP Showdown” here in Waikiki, an event that featured a stack of the world’s best and a new format that could be the start of something big.
The event had three parts: in the morning there was a SUP surf contest and a standard SUP race, then the finale, aka the “Showdown” was another race in and out through the surf. The waves at Waikiki didn’t exactly cooperate, so we didn’t get to see the full potential of the format. Even without waves the event was definitely a success and plus the paddlers put on a super exciting show, especially in the Showdown final when it was a classic battle between Connor Baxter and Travis Grant right to the line.
We’ll have a full recap, photos and videos up in the morning, but for now here are results… → READ MORE
Listen to a great interview with the newly crowned Molokai 2 Oahu champ Travis Grant.
If you somehow missed the news about Molokai last week (I don’t know how you possibly could have, but just in case), Aussie Travis Grant blizted an all-star field to claim the title in what turned out to be a grueling year for the crossing. → READ MORE
Molokai 2013 was epic. It had everything… The record entrants. The hype and buzz surrounding the build up. The excitement of Kai v Connor. The drama of Danny’s withdrawal. And then of course Travis Grant’s spirited, determined effort that delivered him the crown and a spot on the podium alongside good friend Scott Gamble. And that was just the men’s race…
This year’s Molokai 2 Oahu Paddleboard World Championships won’t be forgotten any time soon. So while we’re still consuming the pics and words that are filling our Facebook and Instagram feeds right now, I thought I’d reflect on the pre-race predictions I made, which I summed up by saying “My heart says Travis or Scott, my head says Kai or Connor, while my gut says Danny…” → READ MORE
We’re still coming down from the high that was Molokai 2013. What a race… Travis Grant’s epic, and under-the-radar performance to take the crown, the exciting, neck-and-neck duel between Kai and Connor, the drama of Danny Ching’s withdrawal, plus the see-sawing battle between Terrene Black, Jenny Kalmbach, Sonni Honscheid and Andrea Moller.
It was an exciting race for the fans but a grueling race for the competitors (“Hardest race I’ve ever done” was heard a few times at the finish line). Well now you can get a peak into the race with some awesome Molokai 2 Oahu photos. Facebook is flooded with Molokai right now but we’ve picked some of the highlights, so click through to view the full Molokai gallery… → READ MORE
All hail the new King and Queen of the Ocean: Travis Grant and Terrene Black both caused dramatic upsets at the Molokai 2 Oahu Paddleboard World Championships today, beating home local favourites in one of the most exciting SUP races we’ve ever seen and claiming Australia’s first ever M2O Stand Up Paddleboard World Titles in the process.
The pair led an Aussie clean sweep of the event, with Brad Gaul and Jordan Mercer winning the men’s and women’s Prone Paddleboard World Titles respectively. What a race… what a performance by the Aussies… Click through for full race results plus a recap and photos of the action. → READ MORE