Anderea Moller and Connor Baxter–both nominated for SUP Awards–wrapped up Triple Crown victories this weekend on Maui following the 27-mile Maui to Molokai race. It was the second time both have finished atop the Triple Crown podium, which consisted of the Maliko Gulch to Hahalui Harbor, Kihei to Makena and then the finale from Maui to Molokai.
Connor wraps up his Triple Crown victory, below..
The third and final event of the Triple Crown is the Maui to Molokai race – 27 mile channel crossing – The Pailolo Channel. When the trade winds are blowing east / northeast – this crossing is the best downwinder in the state.
We met our escort boat at the Lahaina harbor and headed up to the start line at Honolua Bay. On the way up the winds were up and blowing in the perfect direction. After anchoring in the bay – I took my board off the boat and paddled into shore. There were about 45 competitors down at the beach ready to go. They had the skippers meeting – and then it was a 10:00am start.
I got in my mindset and paddled out to the start line. Looking down at my clock counting down all I was thinking is “I got this I got this. “5, 4, 3, 2, 1 GO!!!!!” And I was off with my head down paddling as hard as I could out to the wind line. Once I got to the wind, Dave Kalama and I just took off and put a gap on the other competitors. For the first hour and a half Dave and I were very close together talking and catching bumps. Then Dave went to stretch and just lost his balance and fell in. I thought to myself this is my chance and put the hammer down and took off. I held a gap on him and the other competitors for the rest of race – all the way to the finish. As I got closer to Molokai the wind got stronger – around 30-35 mph and it just got amazing. I didn’t even have to paddle just put my paddle up to catch a few bumps. Some overhead swells came through and were breaking. But for the last 12 miles it was just pure surfing. I just kept paddling my hardest all the way to the finish. When I turned the outside buoy – my escort boat yelled out to me that I was going to break my record from last year. So, I kept the throttle up and broke the record by 15 minutes – and in doing so did the course in less than 3 hours. Figuring it out – I did the course in 2 hours 55 minutes – 27 miles – my average speed was 9.25 miles per hour. I believe this is the fastest anyone has done this course on a SUP!!!