My friend Bill Boyum is a longtime Maui local and veteran waterman who has been involved with Maui wind and paddling sports from the beginning. Here's his re-cap of the race from an email he sent this morning.
"I went swimming with Shirley in the morning, but as we finished I saw a bit of a wind line outside so we drove up to watch the start from the cliff above Maliko.
In the final hour before the start the wind doubled from 7 to 14 and more importantly went from straight onshore to about 45 degree angle onshore. The surface set up with very small, very organized clean lines.
Almost immediately we heard the horn and an armada of OC-1s blazed out of the gulch, followed closely by Bart, then Jeremy and Scott.
Out of the gulch Jeremy Riggs, with his 17 foot 24" 26lb no pad, wax deck Bullet,leaped ahead of Bart on his 14' Starboard Race. Those little bumps were perfect terrain for JR's board. He was even passing some Oc-1s. Already 50 yds back in second, was Scott and then Bart. But working his way to a much farther out line was Livio, who from appearances from our angle, was losing ground to the inside guys, who were reaping full harvest of the onshore angle glides. But Livio is a vet and it was also evident that Dave Kalama was moving out to that outside line as well in an OC-2. A much different tactic than the pack.
So I paced Jeremy from the drive down and he was holding just under 8 minute miles for the first two.
Then we couldn't see and we drove to town to see Iron Man 3. It was sold out so Shirley says, lets go see who wins. In the harbor, finishing at 1:14 was Livio and JR a minute behind.
You shoulda seen how red their faces were when they came in, looked like they'd been nuked. During the last section, as you of course know, the almost good enough wind at the start, had died off. It was hot hot hot."
My Re-cap: I was one of the folks on the inside line, trying to stay up with the back of the pack. For the first four miles there was OK wind but by the fifth mile it dropped off to none, or very light and variable. From there it was head down and grind it out looking for any little bump that would give me a boost towards the finish line at the Harbor. I was glad to be paddling the SIC Bullet 14 cuz that board is a wave magnet. I actually passed about a half dozen paddlers on longer boards by the time I reached the Harbor entrance.
I caught a few more good glides in those last miles but couldn't pick up many in the choppy, mixed up seas that were mated with the anemic winds. I'm sure that there were more little bumps to be ridden than I could chase down, and if I was Jeremy Riggs...but then I'm not Jeremy am I?
I'm not all that enamored of flat water paddling either (especially if you can go downwind instead) but as I rounded the breakwater standing on the rocking horse backwash beset sea surface this course had become, I was never so glad to see the flat water paddle that stretched out before me in my life.
From that big green navigation buoy at the Harbor entrance to the beach park finish line was an easy mile run. I was tired and hot but there's nothing like the end in sight to energize a body. (The thought of the Beer Garden didn't hold me back none either.)
At the end of the finish line chute, I was given a lovely purple and white orchid lei and an ice cold glass of water. I took two big gulps of water from the soon to be holding beer glass, and dumped the rest over my head. Home at last and in about an hour, when my temples stopped pounding and my face felt like it was no longer pressed up against a hot plate, I was feeling a whole lot better.
There were easily a couple hundred people at the after party and award ceremony and I think everyone felt good to be done. I had a sense of accomplishment that we had finished an event that was not only worthwhile and for a good cause, but a race course that was difficult, challenging and character building to complete on this day. We had all faced some degree of adversity and had overcome.
From there it was all good. Awards, raffle prizes, traditional Hawaiian dance and music, a fun afternoon for everyone.
Many thanks go out to IMUA Community Services, not only for what they do, but for putting on a first class race for the paddling ohana.