Travis Grant and Sonni Hönscheid have crossed a relatively calm Ka’iwi Channel to claim their respective 2015 titles at the Molokai 2 Oahu Paddleboard World Championships today.
Grant once again proved his prowess across the Channel of Bones after a runner up finish last year and a win in 2013. He’s easily one of the best downwind paddlers on the planet and was able to pick up tiny runners during the race. But the fact that Grant won so handily in very light wind conditions also means that this guy is still only getting faster. An extremely impressive performance by Grant in an extremely impressive year (he won the Carolina Cup against the world’s best in April). He finished only 22 seconds short of five hours, about 50 minutes longer than last year.
“It doesn’t get much flatter than that,” he said at the finish. “It was a grind. I wanted to pull out multiple times.”
Kai Lenny put on a strong second place performance, separating himself from the pack but never getting within striking distance of Grant. Relative newcomer Lincoln Dews rounded out the top three with Brazilian Vinnicius Martins in fourth. Travis Baptiste continued his winning ways in the stock category, with his third win in as many years (he took fifth overall on a stock—extremely impressive).
2014 champ Hönscheid made it a two-year reign, proving again that she is going to be a contender in open ocean paddling for years to come. This comes on the tail of an impressive run in Europe this summer, with multiple wins. Hönscheid is on her way to her best year to date.
In one of the performances of the event, Annabel Anderson came in second on a 14-foot stock board (no rudder). She honestly could have won it all. But even a second is a huge feat from the Kiwi, though not especially surprising considering Anderson’s race résumé and sheer tenacity on a SUP. If you read Anderson’s pre-race essay on our site, you know that she was stoked.
Fellow Kiwi Penelope Strickland took third for the second year running.
The nearly windless and hot conditions saw multiple withdrawals from the race, including perennial contender and 2014 champion Connor Baxter, who pulled out, citing stomach cramps and back pain.
On the men’s side, SUP line honors went to stock team of Danny Ching and Kai Chong.
Look for our full recap and results with an exclusive gallery from Erik Aeder tomorrow.
1. Travis Grant (04:59:38)
2. Kai Lenny (05:15:59)
3. Lincoln Dews (05:19:18)
4. Vinnicius Martins (05:25:14)
5. Travis Baptiste (14') (05:26:47)
1. Sonni Hönscheid
2. Annabel Anderson (14′)
3. Penelope Strickland