Maui’s Baxter & Moller Take Top Titles in 7th Annual OluKai
By Maui Now Staff
Maui’s Connor Baxter and Andrea Moller retained Stand Up Paddle titles in the 7th annual OluKai held over the weekend along Maui’s North Shore. More than 350 paddlers representing 12 countries registered for the elite stand up paddle competition with Baxter and Moller taking home the gender equal prize purse of $15,000 in the Maliko Downwind Run.
The 20 year-old Baxter clocked an impressive 44-minute, 25-second finish for his fourth consecutive win in the Elite Men’s division.
“The conditions were nothing short of epic, with perfect wind direction, good speed and big swells. This meant it was an even playing field out there forcing me to work extra hard,” Baxter said.
“Nothing beats racing at home. I get to sleep in my own bed and I have the support of my family and friends around me. It’s an honor to represent Maui and be part of this awesome weekend that shares the aloha of Hawaiʻi,” said Baxter in an event press release.
The Brazil born and raised Maui resident, Andrea Moller, took her seventh consecutive win with a time of 53-minutes and 19-seconds.
“OluKai Hoʻolauleʻa started off as a local SUP race and today it’s internationally recognized as one of the premier downwind races in the world, making the competition a lot tougher. It has been an honor to be part of this race from the very beginning and be part of its exciting growth,” said Moller in a post event update.
Moller, also took first place in the elite OC1 division with a time of 53-minutes and 46-seconds.
“I felt a lot of pressure with yesterday’s race, but today I got out there and just had fun. With a line up of predominantly local paddlers, I felt like I was out paddling with friends,” Moller said of the OC1 race.
Honolulu’s Jimmy Austin claimed first place in the men’s OC1 division with a time of 47-minutes and 5-seconds. Moller and Austin take home the gender equal prize purse of $15,000 in the OC1 division.
“There were 12 other guys out there that could have won today’s race, but conditions were in my favor given downwind surfing is my thing. When I saw the finish line in sight, I just went for it,” Austin said in an event press release.
Race organizers said conditions were prime for the race with east winds blowing at 15-20 knot winds and 3 to 5 foot swells offering “perfect downwind surfing.”