BLUESMITHS Paddle Imua 2018 took place in grueling hot conditions which tested all athletes' skill, stamina and mental strength.
162 standup paddlers, prone paddlers, OC1s, OC2s, OC6s, boats and surfskis took part in the Maliko Bay to Kahului Harbor ocean race for the benefit of children with special needs. With the trade winds shut down and choppy seas the course tested the limits of endurance and skill while focusing paddlers' minds on the event cause. This race is for the kids of Camp Imua and had it not been for the charitable nature of this event, many paddlers might have failed to finish the distance. The light winds meant that the hydro foil riders would have to take a back seat and a tactical battle between boats, OCs and standup paddleboards was played out along the ten-mile course.
This year it would be the surfski of Michael Owens which would reach the harbor mouth first, with OCs and surfskis dominating the top-20. In the SUP division, Australian dark horse Ty Judson flew over the morning of the race from Oahu and, paddling his unlimited SUP, outlasted Maui-based paddler Josh Riccio on his stock 14' board, with Team USA's Ryan Funk in finishing overall third among the men. Funk, who had been set to race on a hydrofoil board opted at the last minute to paddle his stock 14' flatwater board rather than his unlimited due to light wind conditions. Typically, unlimited paddleboards have a big advantage on the Maliko run but when the winds are light their speed advantage is to some extent eroded, which resulted in the tactical battle between crafts gunning for the overall win.
"Thanks so much to the organizers of BLUESMTHS Paddle Imua for putting on such an inspirational race. The atmosphere at the finish line was amazing with all the kids from Camp IMUA greeting us with leis. It’s great to be a part of something so special and showcase the inspiring things that can be done to help kids with special needs. Thank you to all the volunteers and sponsors. The famous Maliko Run was testing and rewarding, if you worked hard for the bumps there were runs the whole way into the harbor."
– Ty Judson, Australia (Blue Planet)
“Another successful charity race on Maui's north shore! We didn’t have perfect conditions, true, but a 10-mile grind along the coast was nothing compared to the kind of challenges the kids at Camp Imua are facing everyday of their lives."
– Bernd Roediger, Hawaii (Naish)
The women's SUP race featured current Paddle League world number-one Sonni Hönscheid and a strong contingent of international and local athletes. Hönscheid has been in impressive form this season and her time of 1:31:43 put her almost six minutes ahead of the runner-up, local Annie Reickert with Yuka Sato from Japan in third. As in the women's race, board choice was critically important. Hönscheid opted for the Unlimited with Annie and Yuka both paddling stock 14' boards.
"The Bluesmiths Paddle Imua is one of the highlights of my year and I am thrilled to win again. This event is much more than a race, it is an event full of celebration with music, friends and most importantly it raises money for Camp Imua. This year we weren't the luckiest with the wind, but the hard paddle was totally worth it arriving at the finish line and getting greeted by the Camp Imua kids with flowers and smiles!"
– Sonni Hoenscheid, Germany (Starboard)
"I took an inside course from the start but did get caught in some of the backwash from the reefs, the wind was light but there were lots of bumps which were so much fun to glide. I have really been enjoying my time in Maui and getting connected to the Hawaiian water. The best part of the day for me was the fun race with the kids of Camp Imua, so much fun, laughter and happiness. I was already really pleased that the event was eco-friendly with zero waste and re-useable cups (will be taking mine back to Tokyo with me). I am really looking forward to returning to next year and hopefully bringing some more paddlers from Japan."
– Yuka Sato, Japan (Starboard)
Words courtesy of BLUESMITHS
Seventh Annual BLUESMITHS Paddle Imua Highlights
Top-3 Mens 14′ SUP
- Josh Riccio (1:22:41)
- Ryan Funk (1:27:09)
- Bernd Roediger (1:29:32)
Top-3 Womens 14′ SUP
- Annie Reickert (1:37:19)
- Yuka Sato (1:38:06)
- Lara Claydon (1:50:58)
Men's OC1: Kevin Dudoit (1:15:42), Nalu Sampson (1:16:28), Lopaka White (1:18:05)
Women's OC1: Kathy Shipman (1:31:12), Theresa Felgate (1:32:13), Christine Donovan (1:35:27)
Men's OC2: Keoni Kalama (1:32:12), Jordan Soon (1:36:37), Ryder Tremble (1:39:00)
Women's OC2: Michelle Cerizo (1:38:38), Sarah Fletcher (1:40:17)
Men's Surf-ski: Michael Owens (1:11:52), Eric Rohozinski (1:20:15), Ricahrd Spork (1:20:52)
Men's SUP Unlimited: Ty Judson (1:22:02), Kody Kerbox (1:29:08), Nathan Cross (1:31:23)
Women's SUP Unlimited: Sonni Honschied (1:31:43), Devin Blish (1:42:44), Andrea Moller (1:53:34)
Men's SUP 14' No Rudder: Josh Riccio (1:22:41), Ryan Funk (1:27:09), Bernd Roediger (1:29:32)
Women's SUP 14' No Rudder: Annie Reickert (1:37:19), Yuka Sato (1:38:06), Lara Claydon (1:50:58)
Laser: Jochen Stuemges (1:43:30), Kai Ponting (2:05:41)
About BLUESMITHS Paddle Imua:
BLUESMITHS Paddle Imua is a downwind paddle race along the Maliko Run in Maui which raises funds for Camp Imua. Camp Imua is a week-long annual camp run by Imua family Services in Hawaii for the benefit of children with special needs.
BLUESMITHS Crafted Waterwear makes the hardest working, most versatile water wear and accessories in the world. Based in Maui, a real-time research and development lab, everything we make is the result of rigorous testing by a small but accomplished team of ocean athletes, pioneers and watermen. At BLUESMITHS, we live for real innovation and problem solving, best-in-class fabrics, timeless styling and uncompromising manufacturing standards. View more at bluesmiths.com