HONG KONG - SIC Global Team Athlete Kenny Kaneko scored an impressive victory at the Hong Kong International SUP Championship 2016 presented by the Hong Kong Stand Up Paddle Board Association. Kaneko tore through the 13 mile (21 kilometer) elite course with a finish time of 2:28:28, leaving Naish athletes Kai Lenny and Casper Steinfath over 6 minutes behind with a 2:34:48 and 2:36:26 finish respectively. This was an extremely strong showing from Kaneko as he was able to overpower five of the top paddlers in the world during this elite race.
"It was awesome being back in Hong Kong for the second time to race in The 2nd Hong Kong SUP International Championships supported by MVision," Kaneko said. "I was over the moon on my first win at an international event. All the support everyone has given me over the years made this possible and hoping to keep the momentum moving forward. Thanks to the organizers and volunteers of the race and hope to see you there again soon."
Kenny Kaneko at the finish. | Photos via: Kenny Kaneko
The Hong Kong Stand Up Paddle Board Association (HKSUPBA) hosted a strong event with over 100 athletes showing up for the 200 meter, 1 kilometer, 8 kilometer and 21 kilometer races. With the number of world class athletes attending the event, the Hong Kong International SUP Championship was placed on the SUP Racer World Rankings this year, scoring 16.5% on their Race Index. Kaneko's 16.50 points scored at this event moves back into the world's top 30 rankings.
"I had always wanted to go back after seeing the culture and the stoke in the paddling community last year for the first edition," said Kaneko. "The turnout for this race was bigger and was a real international affair with the likes of Kai [Lenny], Casper [Steinfath], Mo [Freitas] and Bernd [Roediger] here for the race. There were also paddlers from all over Asia like Taiwan, China, Singapore and Korea. We took a speed boat over from Sai Kung to Ham Ting Beach which is 20 kilometer east. The only option to get there is a ride on the speed boat or a 1.5 hour hike. The beach there was beautiful and most of the competitors set up tents to camp out for the night, drinking and talking with the local paddlers. We got hit by a big thunderstorm which flooded some of our tents but it made for another unforgettable experience."
Photos via: Kenny Kaneko
Kenny continued, "The next morning, the elite paddlers competed in the 21 kilometer race. 21 kilmeter is long but going into the race I felt confident with the distance from racing 21 kilometer in Japan the week before and training for M2O earlier in the year. The conditions that greeted us was very tough with a lot of sidewind, upwind and a little bit of downwind. Kai, Casper and Mo got a lead at the start and were always about a 100 meters in front of me. I knew it was a long race and nutrition and pacing was key so I kept taking my gel and water to try and keep myself fresh for the last 8 kilometer leg of the race. Once we got to the last 8 kilometer, I just kind of put my head down and paddled as hard as I could. I knew I had put in the time in training to push myself to the finish and I just paddled as hard as I could. I also took a good line which helped me get into the lead. Coming into the finish with the local paddlers waiting on the beach made the win that much sweeter."
Congrats to Kenny on his big win in Hong Kong and congrats to all competitors for a great race!
Kai Lenny, Kenny Kaneko and Casper Steinfath being presented with their well-deserved prize money. | Photo via: Kenny Kaneko
About SIC Maui
SIC Maui is the stand up paddling industry’s premiere manufacturer of high quality, race proven stand up paddleboards and accessories. Founded on the island of Maui and cultivated on a legacy of world class open ocean racing, SIC is an authentic stand up paddleboard maker proud to lay claim to a heritage of designing the most winning board. Share together with our team of elite athletes, brand ambassadors and customers around the globe. Five Star Performance is our motto and we wear it with pride each day through our commitment to extending the SIC experience on and off the water to our growing family. SIC is committed to delivering the very best paddling can offer; for any condition, discipline or ability level. For more information please visit www.sicmaui.com
About Hong Kong Stand Up Paddle Board Association
HKSUPBA aims to be recognized, as a leading National Sports Association through its commitment to the development of SUP and related water sports activities for the people of Hong Kong. The aim is to encourage widespread participation in SUP and water sports activities, nurture a successful squad of elite athletes, spot and foster the potential of younger athletes, develop proficiency in coaching, race direction and associated technical aspects of SUP and promote public awareness of SUP and related water sports activities Ultimately secure a sound future, for the continued development of SUP in Hong Kong. For more information please visit www.hksupba.com