Starboard Dream Team rider Connor Baxter does it again in the famous downwind race between the islands of Maui and Molokai in Hawai for a seventh year in a row and also ever since the event began. Connor arrived with almost a two minutes advantage over Australian Travis Grant managing for the second time ever to make this famous downwind in under the three hours mark at 2.58.51.
Now Connor, the leader of SUPracer’s world rider rankings, will focus on the next big downwind race in Hawai, the 32 miles Molokai 2 Oahu considered as one of the most if not the most prestigious SUP race event in the world that will be held in two weeks.
Also congratulations to Starboard’s Matt Nottage for finishing third in this 2016 Maui to Molokai. Result that will also surely better his actual eleventh position in SUPracer’s world rider ranking and enter him into the world’s top 10! And also to Romuald Mamadou finishing 3rd in 14′ class in 3h37’12” (18 scratch) with the Bart’s ACE model 2012.
For a complete report of the 2016 Molokai 2 Maui race, check SUPRacer’s article here.
Connor’s victory extends the longest winning streak in the men’s sport. Not only has Connor never lost this race, but nobody else has ever won it. Connor took out the inaugural event as a scrawny teenager at 15 years old back in 2010, and he has triumphed every year since.
Here is his impressions after this epic win:
“The 2016 Maui-2-Molokai Event was such an Epic race after racing in Flat Water for 6 weeks in Europe!
The first time I crossed this channel – I was 8 1/2 years old and I was windsurfing and I definitely don’t plan on stopping any time soon.
The race started at 9:30 at Honolua Bay and there were a few heavy hitters on the line with me. Matt Nottage, James Casey, Livio Menelau, Vinnicius Martins and of course Travis Grant – who I was the most worried about.
We were all lined up and ready to go on the start line – and when the horn blew – we all hit the gas like it was a 10 miles race. Up at the front, we had about 6 or 7 guys pushing hard in the flat water – staying together. It took about 20 minutes until we hit some good bumps – so that’s when I started doing my thing and pulling away from the group with Travis and Matt. The three of us stuck together for about 45 min and then Travis and I went into the next gear and pulled away from Matt and then it was a two man race.
Travis and I went back and fourth for the next hour – talking a bit – but both wanting the same thing. I knew the last part of the race would be lighter winds and possibly flat – so I just put my head down and went into my own world and started to surf the bumps. I just kept my eyes on the finish line and focused on winning my 7th title in a row on this run. The closer I got to Molokai the bumps started getting better and better – and I was in my happy place.
The next I knew I had a solid gap on Travis – but it wasn’t over yet. I kept the hammer down all the way to the finish line – and crossed in First Place – in a time of 2 hours 58 minutes 51 seconds.
The conditions were not epic, but it was a really fun run nonetheless. And it was actually a particularly fast crossing. It was my 2nd time to do the crossing in under 3 hours – and only a few minutes shy of the 2:55:46 course record I set in 2012. So that just means I have to paddle harder next year!!
I want to thank my sponsors for all their support – Starboard, Dakine, Maui Jim Sunglasses, Futures Fins, Hammer Nutrition, GoPro, Garmin, UB Super, Waterman’s Sunscreen, OnIt Pro and Hi-Tech Sports.
Also a big Mahalo to all the event organizers and all the volunteers. You know I’ll be back next year to defend my title!”