Honscheid and Baxter Win the 10th Annual Olukai Ho’olaule’a on Maui
Team Starboard Dominates Olukai Race
Starboard’s Sonni Honscheid and Connor Baxter came out victorious against not only their competitors but also the weather in this year’s Olukai on Maui. For the second year in a row, the 8-mile downwind race was postponed a day because of hazardous conditions that included rain, poor visibility and a North wind. Conditions improved enough for race officials to run the full length of the course from Maliko Gultch to the beach at Kanaha, with ocs and surfskis starting 30 minutes ahead of the SUPS. The normal tradewinds that make the Maliko Run such an epic downwinder remained non-existent but the North wind did calm down. Baxter and other races remarked on how different the course was with the normal “bumps” to catch and glide down Maui’s North Shore.
While the ocean may have been “flat” the waves on the outer and inner reef at the finish line were not. A high surf advisory was in effect at race time and huge sets at least 15 feet high could be seen about half a mile or more away from the beach at the race finish. The end of the Olukai requires paddlers navigate through a narrow opening or channel in the reef and with yesterday’s conditions, that demanded perfect timing. Race director Archie Kalepa stressed safety in his pre-racing briefing and jetskis were positioned at the channel entrance to help paddlers locate it and to assist if necessary. We heard no reports of serious injuries, but we did here of some damaged boards and outriggers.
Local favorite Zane Schweitzer, who, along with Baxter, Kody Kerbox and several other racers also did a foil race after the Maliko Run, assisted an 8-year old boy – the youngest competitor in the race – down the entire length of the Olukai course and through the surf, winning the hearts and minds of everyone at the awards ceremony. Just one of the many stories sure to be relieved after this epic event.
Top Five Woman
Sonni Honscheid – 1:27:36
Penelope Strickland -1:33:18
Annie Reickert – 1:33:48
Yuka Sato – 1:35:46
Jade Howson – 1:36:39
Top Five Men
Connor Baxter – 1:12:50
James Casey – 1:14:45
Travis Grant – 1:15:35
Ty Judson – 1:15:50
Matt Nottage – 1:18:41
Full Results on Paddle Racer here.