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The conditions were good for the 2017 Molokai 2 Oahu but the contention was epic. After a tight battle across the 32-mile Ka’iwi Channel, seasoned Hawaii paddler Travis Grant claimed his third M2O title among the men and New Zealand powerhouse Penelope Strickland scored her first among the women.
The action in the men’s pack was punctuated with a neck-and-neck battle out front between Grant and three-time M2O champion Connor Baxter. This race is probably the most prestigious title of the year for these two legends, and both are savage and seasoned competitors with supreme drive in this channel. Their little avatars on the M2O live tracker pogoed back and forth all 32 miles. Halfway across the channel, Grant, Baxter, Vinnicius Martins, Titouan Puyo, James Casey and Kody Kerbox led the front pack. Grant broke away as the paddlers approached Oahu for a strong finish. Kai Lenny, last year’s M2O SUP champion and record-holder for the course was absent from the competition (Lenny is a man of many crafts and opted to partake in a Big Wave World Tour surf event at Puerto Escondido, Mexico, instead).
“You definitely had to work for it out there, it wasn’t all-time,” said runner-up, three-time M2O victor Connor Baxter. “Nothing is given out there, it never is, but when you work it you get some insane rides, some of the longest rides I’ve had in a long time.”
In the women’s division, Annabel Anderson’s shot at the title looked unrivaled going into the race. The Kiwi hasn’t been downwinding much this year, but massive results in all sorts of other races boded well for her with three-time M2O champion Sonni Hönscheid sitting this year out and former course dominator Andrea Moller racing in the team division. But fellow New Zealander Penelope Strickland and Australian racer Terrene Black wouldn’t be ignored. Halfway across the channel Strickland had a commanding lead with Black and Anderson jockying behind and carried it to the finish for her first M2O crown, beating the women’s course record by upwards of three minutes. An unprecedented performance also came in the women’s prone division with Harriet Brown cracking the previous course-record for prone.
Much more to come as our editor in chief, Will Taylor, is currently coming into the finish and will be providing onsite insight and an exclusive racer’s perspective recap after the race! Until then, check out Taylor’s thoughts going into at M2o.
- Travis Grant
- Connor Baxter
- Titouan Puyo
- James Casey
- Vinnicius Martins
- Penelope Strickland
- Annabel Anderson
- Terrene Black
(Full results coming soon)
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