HONOLULU, HI (July 25, 2019) – Moloka’i-2-O’ahu Paddleboard World Championships (M2O), presented by Kona Brewing and Hawaii Tourism Authority is set to produce favorable conditions this year for the 23rd annual crossing. 2018 saw some of the toughest conditions in the race history and the athletes are back to challenge the 32 miles across the Ka’iwi channel this Sunday July 28th. Over 200 athletes from 20 countries are arriving to the Hawaiian Islands to test themselves against one of the most unpredictable bodies of water in the world.
The 2019 Moloka’i-2-O’ahu Paddleboard World Championships will be live streaming from the Oahu finish line and periodically crossing to live coverage from the channel throughout the race at https://www.facebook.com/molokai2oahu/.
You can also live track the competitors in the water with Dot Vision GPS at http://www.molokai2oahu.com.
A complete start list is available at Molokai2Oahu.com.
Race Lead Up Video HERE
Solo Unlimited Prone Paddleboard Race
The Australians have had their best on the podium for many years and this year is no exception. Australia’s Matt Bevilacqua is back to compete for his fifth straight M2O win after a 5:05:27 finish time in 2018. Matt ‘Bevi’ Bevilacqua holds the course record of (4:29:32) and is on the road to chase fellow Australia Jamie Mitchell’s impressive ten consecutive wins (2002-2011).
Campbell Guthrie will be looking to better his 2018 fifth place after a strong finish this past winter at the elite ‘Ocean 6 Series’ in Australia.
The women’s race will feature another head-to-head challenge between 2018 champion Harriet Brown and runner up Lizzie Welborn. In a memorable 2017, their finish times included Harriet’s record time of 5:14:15 and Lizzie’s third fastest time in history (5:25:54) joining Jordan Mercer’s second fastest in history of 5:22:31, who will not be racing this year. Harriett will be vying for her third straight win.
Brielle Cooper, 20, will look to better her fourth place finish in her rookie year last year.
Solo Stock Prone Paddleboard Race
Stewart Mclachlan has been unstoppable the last few years. Mclachlan finished third overall in 2018 on a stock board with a time 5:33:26. Mclachlan is set to challenge his own personal best and keep his lead on fellow Australian Lachie Lansdown who was just four minutes behind Mclachlan in 2018. Lansdown (23) is chasing his first M2O victory along with fellow young guns Hunter Pflueger (20) from Hawaii and fourth overall stock 2018, and Harrison Stone (20) 2017 age group winner.
Lachlan Bruce, (22) long time Australian Lifeguard Board Finalist, will be contesting M2O for this first time.
In suite will be Australian Maddie Spencer returning to the Women’s Stock Division after competing in the Unlimited Division in 2018 finishing third overall. In 2017, Maddie won the Stock Division in 6:06:24. M2O Veterans include DJ O’Brien from California and 2018 Runner up Robin Lang from Florida.
First time athletes to M2O from Australia Tess Dubberley, Michaela Henderson, Briana Newson and Lia Trebilcock will be joining the strong women’s stock for 2019.
Solo Unlimited Stand Up Paddleboard Race
2019 will crown a new Molokai 2 Oahu World Champion in the Men’s Unlimited Division with 2018 champion and course record holder Travis Grant on the sidelines with an injury. James Casey from Australia who finished third in 2018 and fourth in 2017. Also missing this year is M2O Champion Connor Baxter from Maui who is in Peru representing the United States at the Pan American Games this weekend.
Kenny Kaneko (31) from Japan is back and ready to race M2O and brings plenty of experience to the channel on numerous crafts.
Australia’s Terrene Black returns to defend her title this year challenged by three-time champ Sonni Hoensheid, from Germany. These women have dominated the race for the last seven years with top honors going to Honscheid in 2014, 2015, and 2016 and to Black in 2013 and 2018. They will be looking to optimize the conditions and pushing each other to break the five-hour barrier and record of 4:52:32 set by Penelope Strickland in 2017.
Jennifer Lee joins the field from Hawaii finishing fourth in 2018.
Solo Stock Stand Up Paddleboard Race
This year’s race features the return of M2O Champion Josh Riccio (30) from Florida. Riccio is looking to improve on his sub five-hour performance and solidifying his third consecutive win this year. His impressive 4:35:45 in 2017 is a top three time in history and inching closer to Kai Lenny’s record of 4:22:14. First time athlete Miquel Roigé (39) from Spain joins the race this year coming off a successful European SUP tour.
Mao Kamimura switches from Stock Prone to Stock SUP this year after winning the stock prone division in 2018. She is joined by fellow country woman Kiyomi Sheppard from Japan with her switch from Unlimited SUP in 2018 to stock this year.
After last year’s inaugural success and recording breaking run from Kai Lenny, he will return to the Foil division to challenge his 2018 time of 2:52:58. Crowd favorite Annie Reickert (18) from Maui is back to beat her time of 5:20:06 from 2018.
Japan’s father son solo entrants Shuri Araki (13) and Takuji Araki (45) will be challenging each other for family bragging rights this year. We will also see the return of 2018 athletes Jeffrey Spencer and Bernd Roediger.
About the Moloka’i-2-O’ahu Paddleboard World Championships
Founded in 1997, M2O has grown from a grassroots challenge for the legendary lifeguards of O’ahu to the premiere event in the sport of paddleboarding. The race annually crowns world champions in the two disciplines of traditional (prone) and stand-up (SUP) paddleboarding. In 2018, a hydrofoil division was added to welcome the evolution of technology in the SUP. Connecting the islands of Moloka’i and O’ahu, the 32-mile race crosses the Ka’iwi Channel, also known as the Moloka’i Channel and Channel of Bones. Men and women from more than 20 countries will face strong currents as they navigate the fastest downwind-route over one of the most beautiful and powerful channels in the world. Top athletes can complete the crossing in less than five hours, riding mid-channel waves that crest more than 12 feet and carry paddlers hundreds of meters. M2O starts in Kepuhi Bay on the northwest shore of Moloka’i and finishes in Maunalua Bay on the southeast shore of O’ahu. The annual race is a deeply personal experience, challenging every paddlers’ physical and mental endurance. Every finisher experiences an individual championship.
M2O is proudly supported by Kona Brewing Company, Hawai’i Tourism Authority, Duke’s Waikiki, Oakley, Patagonia, Rogue, Blue Rush, Amavara, Greenlayer, Stand Up Paddle Magazine, Ocean Paddler, DotVison, Aqua Pro Fitness, XO Activewear, This Ocean Life, and Fin Film Company.