Connor Baxter wins the Triple Crown Overall Elite

Personal Account by Connor Baxter


Dave Kalama and Connor Baxter getting out to the wind line. Photo by Karen Baxter.



Start at Honolua Bay Maui. Photo by Karen Baxter.


Dad handing Connor a Hammer Bar. Photo by Karen Baxter.


Lots of Surfing. Photo by Karen Baxter.


Triple Crown Winners - 2nd year in a row!! Andrea Moller and Connor!! Photo by Karen Baxter.

MAUI, Hawaii - The 2012 Triple Crown of SUP is an event that spans over 3 weekends on Maui.


The first event was a downwinder from Maliko Gulch to Kahalui Harbor on July 1st. I missed this event - because I was competing in Chicago at the Stand Up World Series event. 


The event is run on a point system. So missing this first leg - I had zero points going into the second leg of the event. Calculating the points - I figured if I won the next 2 events - I could still win the Overall Title - and defend my Title from last year. So - pressure was on!


The second event was on July 8th - and was suppose to be a downwinder from Kihei to Makena - 10 miles.


Unfortunately, the conditions were not as good as hoped for, so luckily they changed the course and made it shorter. The race started at The Maui Canoe Club and went to the Kihei boat ramp. It was a beach / water start and when I heard that horn blow I jumped on my board, put my head down and paddled my brains out. For the first 10 minutes the wind was on my back and I was catching some small bumps. I thought to myself - this isn't going to be so bad.  But, then after those first ten minutes it was complete hell. The wind switched 180 degrees - and was straight into my face. So, for the rest of the race, I had to just man up and keep going - paddling straight into the wind. I went as close to the shore as I could to help out a little bit. An hour later, I was close to the finish and I could hear everyone cheering me on, mostly my mom haha,  which made me paddle harder. I crossed the finish line in first place and I was super stoked considering I was a little sick. 


The third and final event of the Triple Crown is the Maui to Molokai race - 27 mile channel crossing - The Pailolo Channel. When the trade winds are blowing east / northeast - this crossing is the best downwinder in the state.


We met our escort boat at the Lahaina harbor and headed up to the start line at Honolua Bay. On the way up the winds were up and blowing in the perfect direction. After anchoring in the bay - I took my board off the boat and paddled into shore. There were about 45 competitors down at the beach ready to go. They had the skippers meeting - and then it was a 10:00am start.


I got in my mindset and paddled out to the start line. Looking down at my clock counting down all I was thinking is “I got this I got this. "5, 4, 3, 2, 1 GO!!!!!"  And I was off with my head down paddling as hard as I could out to the wind line. Once I got to the wind, Dave Kalama and I just took off and put a gap on the other competitors. For the first hour and a half Dave and I were very close together talking and catching bumps. Then Dave went to stretch and just lost his balance and fell in. I thought to myself this is my chance and put the hammer down and took off. I held a gap on him and the other competitors for the rest of race - all the way to the finish. As I got closer to Molokai the wind got stronger - around 30-35 mph and it just got amazing. I didn’t even have to paddle just put my paddle up to catch a few bumps. Some overhead swells came through and were breaking. But for the last 12 miles it was just pure surfing. I just kept paddling my hardest all the way to the finish. When I turned the outside buoy - my escort boat yelled out to me that I was going to break my record from last year. So, I kept the throttle up and broke the record by 15 minutes - and in doing so did the course in less than 3 hours. Figuring it out - I did the course in 2 hours 55 minutes - 27 miles - my average speed was 9.25 miles per hour. I believe this is the fastest anyone has done this course on a SUP!!!


And - I won the Overall Triple Crown Title - for the second year!!! Great Day - Great Event!!!


I want to thank my sponsors for all their support – Starboard, Maui Jim, Rainbow Sandals, Rista Fins, Dakine, GoPro, On It Pro, Waterman’s Sunscreen, Sunrite Maui, Hammer Nutrition, EFX and Hi-Tech Sports. 


Also a big Mahalo to my escort boat - Mike Holmes!! And, to all the event organizers and volunteers. I'll be back next year for sure!!!!!


Aloha -    Connor Baxter


Last modified onThursday, 19 July 2012 00:44

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