Baxter and Anderson Reign Victorious at 2017 Maui 2 Molokai
For Connor Baxter it’s the same story, different verse.
For the eighth year in a row, Maui’s SUP racing phenom won Maui 2 Molokai again. Baxter not only remains undefeated since the race’s inception in 2010, but more importantly, he now owns the longest winning streak in SUP history after surpassing Andrea Moller’s record of seven straight victories at the Olukai Ho’olaule’a.
However, this race was anything but a breeze for the 22-year-old powerhouse.
Aussie Travis Grant came out strong in the 26-mile downwind run across the Pailolo Channel and appeared poised to complete the upset after leading the first 23 miles.
Not to be denied, Baxter dug deep with only three miles to go and powered past Grant en route to a winning time of three hours and nine minutes. Grant would finish two minutes later with James Casey rounding out the podium with a strong run.
As for the women, Annabel Anderson continued her dominance in 2017 by winning the Molokai 2 Maui in her first attempt. Finishing with a time of just over three hours and 53 minutes, the Kiwi was able to overpower downwind specialist Andrea Moller by nearly five minutes. Meanwhile, fellow New Zealander Penelope Strickland finished third.
Anderson’s victory is part of her continued efforts to gear up for the prestigious M2O race taking place later this month. She has yet to win the M2O and is determined to check off that final accomplishment in her illustrious paddling career.
Following her victory, she reflected on Instagram upon the challenges of the race and her training in the daunting Hawaiian channels.
“There’s a massive month of learning going on right now making the transition to [the] new kit for this downwind season,” Anderson said. “It’s fair to say there’s been a lot of humble pie being consumed, but when the smallest of moments come together, the learning curve is well worth the effort.”
Another stellar performance was turned in by Maui’s Bernd Roediger. While most competitors at the front of the pack rode unlimited boards, Roediger competed in the stock division on a 14-foot board. Despite the size disadvantage, he once again proved to be one of the sport’s top downwind racers by finishing fourth overall and dominating the stock division.
What an amazing experience yesterday! I raced the #M2M for the first time in my life and ended up winning the 14′ Stock class, as well as 4th overall behind @conbax, @travenormous and @james__casey! The race was graced with amazing conditions and there were some sections in the run that totally blew my mind! Huge thanks to Rodney Kilborn, the handsomebugga, for putting on a beautiful event. Thanks to my sponsors whose continued support makes these dreams, reality. @naishsup @dakine @quiksilver @blackprojectsup
Baxter and Anderson won’t have long to enjoy their victories as everyone’s attention now shifts to the granddaddy of all downwind races, the 32nd annual Molokai 2 Oahu taking place on Sunday, July 30th.
Stay tuned to SUP Magazine for previews, predictions and live onsite coverage from M2O.
|19||Bart de Zwart||Unlimited||4:09:18|