BLUESMITHS Paddle Imua 2018 took place in grueling hot conditions which tested all athletes’ skill, stamina and mental strength. 162 stand-up paddlers, prone paddlers, OC1s, OC2s, OC6s, boats and Surf Skis took part in the Maliko Bay to Kahului Harbor ocean race for the benefit of children with special needs. With the trade winds shut down and choppy seas the course tested the limits of endurance and skill while focusing paddlers’ minds on the event cause. This race is for the kids of Camp Imua and had it not been for the charitable nature of this event, many paddlers might have failed to finish the distance. The light winds meant that the hydro foil riders would have to take a back seat and a tactical battle between boats, OCs and stand up paddle boards was played out along the ten-mile course.
This year it would be the Surf Ski of Michael Owens which would reach the harbor mouth first, with OCs and Surf Skis dominating the top 20. In the SUP division, Australian dark horse Ty Judson flew over the morning of the race from Oahu and, paddling his Unlimited SUP, outlasted Maui based Josh Riccio paddling on a stock 14ft SUP, with Team USA’s Ryan Funk in 3rd. Ryan who had been set to race on a hydrofoil board opted at the last minute to paddle his stock 14ft flat water board rather than his unlimited due to light wind conditions. Typically, Unlimited SUP boards have a big advantage on the Maliko run but when the winds are light their speed advantage is to some extent eroded which resulted in the tactical battle between crafts gunning for the overall win.
“Thanks so much to the organizers of BLUESMTHS Paddle Imua for putting on such an inspirational race. The atmosphere at the finish line was amazing with all the kids from Camp IMUA greeting us with leis. It's great to be a part of something so special and showcase the inspiring things that can be done to help kids with special needs. Thank you to all the volunteers and sponsors. The famous Maliko Run was testing and rewarding, if you worked hard for the bumps there were runs the whole way into the harbor.”
Ty Judson, Australia (Blue Planet)
Another successful charity race on Maui’s north shore! We didn't have perfect conditions, true, but a 10-mile grind along the coast was nothing compared to the kind of challenges the kids at Camp Imua are facing everyday of their lives”
Bernd Roediger, Hawaii (Naish)
The women’s SUP race featured BLUESMITHS athlete Sonni Hoenscheid, current Paddle League world number #1 and a strong contingent of international and local athletes. Sonni has been in impressive form this season and here was no match for her speed and power, her time of 1:31:43put her almost six minutes ahead of local Annie Reickert in second with Yuka Sato from Japan in third. As in the men’s race, board choice was critically important. Sonni opted for the Unlimited with Annie and Yuka both paddling stock 14ft boards.
“The Bluesmiths Paddle Imua is one of the highlights of my year and I am thrilled to win again. This event is much more than a race, it is an event full of celebration with music, friends and most importantly it raises money for Camp Imua. This year we weren’t the luckiest with the wind, but the hard paddle was totally worth it arriving at the finish line and getting greeted by the Camp Imua kids with flowers and smiles!”
Sonni Hoenscheid, Germany (Starboard)
“I took an inside course from the start but did get caught in some of the backwash from the reefs, the wind was light but there were lots of bumps which were so much fun to glide. I have really been enjoying my time in Maui and getting connected to the Hawaiian water. The best part of the day for me was the fun race with the kids of Camp Imua, so much fun, laughter and happiness. I was already really pleased that the event was eco-friendly with zero waste and re-useable cups (will be taking mine back to Tokyo with me). I am really looking forward to returning to next year and hopefully bringing some more paddlers from Japan.”
Yuka Sato, Japan (Starboard)
“I hear the conditions were not as epic for this year’s event as they have been in the past, but there were so many rideable bumps, and plenty of fun to be had! The most special part of the race for me was the finish because the kids of Camp Imua were there waiting with water, aloha, and big hugs! Definitely coming back next year!”
Hannah Hill, USA (Naish)
This event is more than an ocean race, it is a yearlong commitment to supporting those families in Maui County who face much bigger challenges on a daily basis than most of us can imagine. The pain felt by the athletes this weekend is nothing compared to what the parents and families of Camp Imua face daily. The money raised through this event goes directly into improving the lives of those families, this is why we paddle, this is why we dig deeper than we thought was possible. This year it was great to see so many new faces from across the world coming together to help people they have never met. The work will go on and we hope to see you at the event next year.
“I feel very privileged as a paddler to be part of a great gathering of people that would take on any ocean condition to support this event for the kids. This was not the typical downwind race which we expected, but a grueling test of grit and endurance. We knew this race would hurt but we did it anyway. Some people hurt all the time. For myself this race was in honor of my recently lost friend whose body failed him. After a five year battle with losing all mobility, he succumbed to ALS. He was 39. RIP Jeff. As the fortunate people that we are, to have this option to paddle and enjoy the ocean, it is our obligation to do just that. Do it for yourself, do it for a cause, just do it because you love it and that you are able.”
Sharn Mentz, Cayman Islands
Summary Results for the 7th Annual BLUESMITHS Paddle Imua
Men’s OC1:Kevin Dudoit (1:15:42), Nalu Sampson (1:16:28), Lopaka White (1:18:05)
Women’s OC1:Kathy Shipman (1:31:12), TheresaFelgate(1:32:13), Christine Donovan (1:35:27)
Men’s OC2:Keoni Kalama (1:32:12), Jordan Soon (1:36:37), Ryder Tremble (1:39:00)
Women’s OC2:Michelle Cerizo (1:38:38), Sarah Fletcher (1:40:17)
Men’s Surf-ski:Michael Owens (1:11:52), Eric Rohozinski (1:20:15), Ricahrd Spork (1:20:52)
Men’s SUP Unlimited:Ty Judson (1:22:02), Kody Kerbox (1:29:08), Nathan Cross (1:31:23)
Women’s SUP Unlimited: Sonni Honschied (1:31:43), Devin Blish (1:42:44), Andrea Moller (1:53:34)
Men’s SUP 14’ No Rudder:Josh Riccio (1:22:41), Ryan Funk (1:27:09), Bernd Roediger (1:29:32)
Women’s SUP 14’ No Rudder:Annie Reickert (1:37:19), Yuka Sato (1:38:06), Lara Claydon (1:50:58)
Laser: Jochen Stuemges (1:43:30), Kai Ponting (2:05:41)
Full results for all classes - https://pseresults.com/events/960/results
About Bluesmiths Paddle Imua:
Bluesmiths Paddle Imua is a downwind paddle race along the Maliko Run in Maui which raises funds for Camp Imua. Camp Imua is a week-long annual camp run by Imua family Services in Hawaii for the benefit of children with special needs.
We’re always so excited to co-host with BLUESMITHS, our title sponsor. It’s a benefit race for Maui County children with special needs who attend Camp Imua, a 42-year old program that offers an overnight special recreational camp for children with special needs here in Maui County. This race has been the event that’s put Camp Imua back on the map and made it sustainable after these 42-years. This is the 7th year of this incredible race, and what athletes love doing is coming out and meeting our kids with special needs and making them feel like they were really part of something that’s so much bigger than this epic race.
~Dean Wong, Executive Director for Imua Family Services
“Another epic race! That said, the conditions were not normal for the Maliko Run. We’re used to strong trade winds and solid swell. This time, we had the opposite. That said, the turnout was incredible and listening to the athletes, Bluesmiths Paddle Imua is clearly becoming a local and international favorite event for many. Thanks to Maui’s ocean community for making this event so special!”
~John Smalley, Founder and CEO, Bluesmiths Crafted Waterwear (Maui, Hawaii)
BLUESMITHS Crafted Waterwear makes the hardest working, most versatile water wear and accessories in the world. Based in Maui, a real-time research and development lab, everything we make is the result of rigorous testing by a small but accomplished team of ocean athletes, pioneers and watermen. At BLUESMITHS, we live for real innovation and problem solving, best-in-class fabrics, timeless styling and uncompromising manufacturing standards. View more at bluesmiths.com
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