Maui News

Paddleboard World Championships to Feature Hydrofoil Technology

July 9, 2018, 5:00 AM HST
* Updated July 9, 6:00 AM
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On Sun., July 29, 2018, hundreds of international athletes will gather on the shores of Moloka’i to compete for the world title in the disciplines of paddleboarding and SUP at the 22nd annual Moloka’i-2-O’ahu Paddleboard World Championships (M2O).

This year, for the first time in the events history, an elite group of athletes will compete for the coveted title using hydrofoil technology. Hydrofoil technology lifts boards from the water’s surface allowing athletes to harness the ocean’s continuous wave energy.

The favorite in this year’s foil division is Maui’s Kai Lenny who holds M2O championships in both the men’s SUP stock and unlimited categories. Lenny is at the forefront of pushing hydrofoil technology in the sport of SUP, a technology that was first seen in the surfing world, most notably attributed to big wave surfer Laird Hamilton.

According to M2O’s race director Mike Takahashi the biggest challenges for these athletes will be experienced in the calm waters at the race start in Kepuhi Bay on Moloka’i and in the tumult caused by wave refraction near the race finish at Portlock on O’ahu.

Should the Ka’iwi Channel serve up its hallmark windswept waves mid-channel, the foil athletes could produce some of the fastest finish times in race history. On the contrary, if the channel indicates it may fall quiet, as if did in 2015, these athletes will need to make a race-day decision to gamble on the foil or transition into the stock or unlimited SUP categories.

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SUP FOIL ATHLETES (AS OF JUNE 20, 2018 )

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Kai Lenny, 25, Maui
Tomoyasu Murabayashi, 40, Saiwaki, Japan
Jeffrey Spencer, 17, Maui
Finn Spencer, 14, Maui
Nathan Van Vuuren, 16, South Africa
Ryan Funk, 18  Maui
Eric Terrien, 36, Nantes, France
Bernd Roediger, 22, Maui
Armie Armstrong, 47 New Zealand

For more details, visit Molokai2Oahu.com.

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