Paddling has entered a new level of competition with the Maui Jim Triple Crown of Stand-Up Paddle, which concludes in Kaunakakai on Saturday.
The series entails three races with the Elite division accumulating points towards claiming a perpetual Koa trophy along with pride and bragging rights. The purpose of this style of contest is to separate the “Sunday Paddlers” from the extreme challengers. The Maui Jim Triple Crown of Stand-Up Paddle is the first opportunity for elite paddlers to showcase their skills through three different courses of varying difficulty.
The first race, the Handsome Bugga Poi Bowl, took place July 3. The three-star course (9 to 14 miles) was a 9.54-mile downwind paddle from Maliko Gulch to Kahului Harbor, Maui. A show of nearly 60 competitors with light to moderate winds left the participants feeling excited and geared up to give it their all. Connor Baxter, the rising star of Stand-up Paddle was the first place elite finisher with a time 1:10:03. His win earned him 1,000 points toward the Triple Crown.
The second leg of the Maui Jim Triple Crown, Maliko Gulch to Honolua Bay, took place July 10. Connor Baxter finished in first place in the Men’s Elite Division Race followed by Kaeo Abby in second place and Livio Menelau in a close third. Andrea Moller-Bouwens won the Women’s Elite Division Race followed by Devin Blish in second place and Alison Fullagar in third place.
The third and final leg of the Triple Crown is the Mormaii World Cup, starting at Honolua Bay and finishing 27 miles later at the Kaunakakai Wharf. Late entries will be accepted at the race start up until 9 a.m. An after-race party will take place at the Molokai Yacht Club immediately following the race.
Molokai sponsors of this event include Molokai Vacation Properties, Coffees of Hawaii and Kumu Farms.
Go to www.handsomebuggaproductions.com for sponsorship and registration information.