An impressive field of elite standup paddlers descended upon Oahu’s Kuhio Beach in Waikiki this weekend for Honolua Surf Company’s Ultimate SUP Showdown. The second annual event, held during Duke’s OceanFest, brought 74 of the best SUP surfers and racers together to battle before a spectator-lined beach. And, after two days of competition, Maui’s Connor Baxter and New Zealand’s Annabel Anderson charged ahead of the competition to take the wins.
The second annual Ultimate SUP Showdown didn’t disappoint, with the sport’s best athletes from around the globe showing up and throwing down for big prize purses and major bragging rights. Somewhat of a precursor to the upcoming Battle of the Paddle in October, the Ultimate SUP Showdown had competitors racing in and out through the surf on a Z-shaped course for the finals (to qualify for the finals, paddlers came from placing in the top half of either the race competition of the surfing competition). Rivalries brought extra excitement to the race, with Kai Lenny and Connor Baxter, as well as Candice Appleby and Annabel Anderson battling throughout the course.
The women’s race saw tight battles with Anderson starting on the heels of Appleby, Jenny Kalmbach of Hawaii, Shakira Westdorp of Australia and Morgan Hoesterey. The pack raced together until Anderson pulled ahead and used her small lead to finish with the win.
On the men’s side, the Connor Baxter/Kai Lenny rivalry continued with the two starting off in a heavy field that included Hawaii’s Zane Schweitzer, Kody Kerbox, Riggs Napoleon, and Slater Trout, as well as California’s Danny Ching and Australians Travis Grant and Jake Jensen. Baxter and Lenny shook the competition and had their own race, with Baxter finding a bump on the final leg in to push a few board lengths ahead of Lenny, and win with a jump through the finish line.
1. Connor Baxter
2. Kai Lenny
3. Danny Ching
4. Riggs Napoleon
5. Travis Grant
1. Annabel Anderson
2. Candice Appleby
3. Jenny Kalmbach
4. Shakira Westdorp
5. Morgan Hoesterey
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Paddle event has raised more than $100,000 for Moffitt Cancer Center over past four years.