08-Aug-2011 02:54 p.m.

6th Annual Naish Paddle Championships Maui

Jeremy Stephenson leading the start from Maliko Gulch

Two hundred and thirty-eight competitors from Europe, Tahiti, the US Mainland and Australia as well as Hawaii’s strongest paddlers gathered on Sunday afternoon to participate in the 6th Annual Naish Paddle Championships. The 9.54 mile paddle board and SUP race follows Maui’s north shore from Maliko Gulch to Kahului Harbor.

The race began at 1pm with a staggered start out of Maliko Bay after the Pule (Hawaiian prayer), releasing first the paddle boarders, then the SUP 12’6” class 3 minutes later, followed by the SUP 14’0” class (with the most competitors) and finally the unlimited class. The winds were relatively light for Maui, but it was just enough to help the racers glide downwind and the mid-day cloud cover was a welcome relief from the hot sun.

Paddle boarding legend and 9-time Molokai 2 Oahu champion, Jamie Mitchell crossed the finish line first, saying later that the Maliko race was a perfect preparation for the upcoming Molokai 2 Oahu Paddleboard World Championships, where he hopes to win his 10th paddle board world championship. Naish’s Dave Kalama, who participated in the unlimited class, won the race overall in 1:09:29, putting him in an excellent position to defend his SUP world title in the Molokai 2 Oahu championships next weekend. The women’s 14′ class was dominated by Naish teammates Sonni Hoenscheid from Germany who came in first, followed closely by US paddler Karen Wrenn, both on Naish Glide 14’0”s.

The youngsters are already on the heels of the top paddlers, with 17 year old Kody Kerbox winning the 14’0” class ages 17 – 29 on his Naish Glide 14’0”, and 14 year old Bernd Roediger placing 3rd in the 14’0” class for <16 year olds on his Naish Glide Javelin 14’0”. Some other notable results: Maui’s Mike Newbro and Tahitian Naish importer Yannick Lii placed 2nd and 3rd in the 46 – 59 age class both on their Naish Glide 14’0”s. Check out full race results here.

The event wrapped up in style with an award ceremony and picnic party, which with the support of Kona Brewing Co., offered enough liquid aloha to hydrate competitors and spectators alike.


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