MAUI, Hawaii - In a wet and stormy weekend on Maui the 10th Annual Olukai Ho’olaule’a took place in massive swells and rough conditions. The race was originally set to take place on Saturday but due to the conditions event organizers decided to hold off ’til Sunday in hopes that conditions would clean up a bit. Unfortunately, the weather held and the race was given the green light to run regardless of the harsh conditions making it incredibly challenging for even the most skilled competitors. In fact, many competitors pulled out of the race leaving most of the field open to the elite paddlers.
As the third stop on the Paddle League World Tour the Olukai Ho’olaule’a once again drew in a solid international field of competitors giving the local paddlers a run for their money however they couldn’t stop local boy Connor Baxter from winning in his hometown and giving him his first win of the season. Behind Connor were Aussies James Casey and Travis Grant taking the second and third spots.
Clockwise: Paddlers line up for the start of the race, Connor Baxter coming in for the win, women's winner Sonni Honscheid, mid-race conditions. | Photos: Olukai / 808photo.me
For the ladies, Sonni Honscheid once again dominated the field and is looking unstoppable to take the overall Paddle League crown at the end of the season. Behind Sonni was New Zealand’s Penelope Stricklind in second and youngster Annie Reickert in third.
A big shoutout also goes to 8-year-old Bobo Gallagher who not only completed the tough race on Sunday but is the youngest competitor to ever do so. Bobo eagerly navigated through the big waves at the start without fear, and continued to catch waves and paddle the entire race on his Starboard. Bobo has been training under the watchful eye of Zane Schweitzer through Zane’s InZane Super Groms program and is no doubt creating a bright future for himself in the sport.
LefT: Bobo Gallagher is the youngest competitor ever to finish the Olukai race. | Photo Courtesy: Shawneen Schweitzer / Right: Connor Baxter and Kody Kerbox battle for first in the SUP Foil division. Photo: Olukai
Although the winds were quite disappointing for the race the first ever foil division at the event took place with many of the elite paddlers competing in both the SUP and SUP foil categories. It was none other than Connor Baxter crossing the finish line in first, stoked to claim a double victory in 2018. Behind him was SIC Maui’s Kody Kerbox in 2nd, Zane Schweitzer in 3rd, James Casey in 4th, and Austin Kalama in 5th.
Despite the unideal weather the 10th Annual Olukai Ho’olaule’a was once again a hit with both competitors and spectators alike. For more info on this iconic event, click HERE.
For more SUP race news click HERE.