Gillian Gibree, Travis Grant win Waikiki Paddle Festival

This year’s Quiksilver Waikiki Paddle Festival at Duke Kahanamoku Beach in Honolulu was a mix of old and new. On the men’s side in the new “Survivor” format where competitors are eliminated each lap, the perennial top racers in the sport (Travis Grant, Danny Ching, Jamie Mitchell, Connor Baxter, who finished 1-4) are still, perennially, the top racers in the sport, and should make it fun to watch this year’s race circuit unfold. “We’re good friends on and off the water,” said Ching. “I got a chance to go over to Australia and train with Travis and Jamie this winter.”

On the women’s side, while Jenny Kalmbach and Candice Appleby continued to prove their two of the best women in SUP racing, Gillian Gibree shook things up, edging them both out for arguably the biggest win of her career, followed closely by relative newcomers Angela Jackson and Terrene Black.

“I’m kind of in shock right now,” Gibree said just after her win. “That was an awesome format. I love how it was set up. And I had some awesome girls out there pushing me. “

The Survivor format, created by Mitchell, was the right mix of crowd interaction and quick races that kept spectators involved. It did prove difficult for the athletes though. Competitors were forced to finish a race, then walk back up the beach to their boards if they made it through a round, with five minutes in between each heat. Five minutes goes fast in that type of situation. Connor Baxter, who was ill prior to the event and barely got the start, ended up on oxygen after the race.

The lifeguard competition-style was perfect for Australian Travis Grant, who won for the second year in a row at Waikiki. “It’s an Aussie format so it suited us a little,” he said. “I just conserved and conserved each lap and caught that bump at the end. My legs are shaking from the nerves.”

The event was re-booted after last year in both title sponsor and feel. The Paddle Festival not only rearranged the race system for standup, but added outrigger, surfskis and prone paddleboards to the program.

“To be honest, it was nearly more for the crowd than the athletes,” Mitchell said. “I hope they enjoyed it. I enjoyed it. “

Sunday, the Festival’s final day, features the Hawaii Kai downwind run. –Joe Carberry

Men’s Survivor

1. Travis Grant
2. Danny Ching
3. Jamie Mitchell
4. Connor Baxter
5. Jake Jensen
6. Kelly Margetts
7. Paul Jackson
8. Slater Trout

Women’s Survivor

1. Gillian Gibree
2. Jenny Kalmbach
3. Candice Appleby
4. Angela Jackson
5. Terrene Black

Open Race

Under 29

1. Travis Baptiste
2. Ke’ea Lum
3. Dalbert Jr. Rivera
4. Nicholas Salanoa
5. Yuri Cowe

30-39

1. Evann Yamada
2. Jinny Fitt
3. Dan Immeker
4. Chris Levins
5. Mark Dayao

40-49

1. Paul Zacharias
2. Bean Oliveira
3. Claudio Chain
4. Doug Loch
5. Alika Willis

50-59

1. Warwick Gray
2. Jeff Chang
3. Scott McPhall
4. David Lester
5. Mark Becker

60-69

1. Walter Machado
2. Gerry Lopez
3. Kevin Kondo
4. Stephen Katayama
5. Russell Higa


SUP magazine regrets any misspellings. For corrections, please email letters@supthemag.com.

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