October 16, 2016, Maui, Hawaii – Kai Lenny wins Men’s Overall podium joined by teammate Casper Steinfath in third and Annie Reickert finishing second overall for the women at the inaugural Stand Up World Series Final in Maui, Hawaii.
Naish was well represented on their home turf with Maui locals Kai Lenny, Kody Kerbox, Bernd Roediger and Annie Reickert all showing their local knowledge in the Downwind and Sprint races. They were joined by Casper Steinfath, who was the SUWS points leader going into the event; Riggs Napoleon from Oahu and South African Ethan Koopmans.
Competition kicked off Saturday, October 15 with excellent conditions for the Downwind race from Maliko Gulch to Kanaha Beach Park. Racing action was intense with Naish’s Kai Lenny taking second, just narrowly edged out by longtime rival Connor Baxter at the finish line. Kody Kerbox rounded out the podium in third and Bernd Roediger in fourth. Steinfath, who finished in 8th place, needed a finals appearance in the sprints to maintain his shot for the world title. Annie Reickert, who continues to amaze in her young career, finished in second place against some of the best local and international female paddlers.
Saturday, however, was only a teaser for what was about to unfold in the Sprints at Ho’okipa Beach on Sunday. With moderate side shore winds and waves pushing 4–6 feet on the sets, local knowledge and race strategy played a huge role. Steinfath started the day strong winning his first heat and carried that momentum all the way to the semi-finals, where a slight bobble sent him to the consolation finals in order to qualify for the finals. Joined in the finals by Naish teammates Kai Lenny and Bernd Roediger, Steinfath took first place with his Naish Maliko 12’6”, which earned him third on the overall podium. Lenny, who finished in third place, earned enough points to win the overall podium for the weekend and move to third on the overall SUWS Tour rankings.
Annie Reickert, put in another incredible performance, winning the first race and continued to keep pushing to finish third in the Sprints and second overall combined. Another stand out performance came from Ethan Koopmans—a clear fan favorite—who just missed making the finals in the consolation finals. Oahu’s Riggs Napoleon amazed the crowd showing no hesitation and paddling his Naish Javelin LE 12’6” into some of the biggest waves of the day. Kody Kerbox also had a solid performance in what was his final Stand Up World Series event with a third place finish in the downwind race on Saturday.
In its first year hosting the Stand Up World Series, Maui proved to be an ideal destination, offering incredible conditions for both Saturday and Sunday’s races. With Maui set to host the SUWS Finals for years to come this was a great weekend to showcase both the present and future of what elite SUP racing has become and can grow to be. Maliko has been one of the most iconic downwind runs from the beginning of Stand Up Paddling and Hookipa proved to be an amazing venue for sprint racing giving spectators an unbeatable vantage of the racing action. We cannot wait for next year’s event!
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