Oahu, Hawaii – The best SUP athletes in the world converged at the Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu’s legendary north shore for the final race in the SUP World Series—presented by Naish this past weekend. Staying true to the forecast, large swells and strong trade winds made for action-packed elite racing at its finest.
Team Naish had a huge presence in the finals, with each rider choosing to use their Naish Javelin Maliko 12’6” X24 LE board. With his 2016 Race LE Paddle in hand, Kai Lenny took the win at the finals to earn his third consecutive Stand Up World Series championship title. Rounding out the top three, teammate Casper Steinfath earned third place for the 2015 Stand Up World Series after finishing 6th overall Turtle Bay. Naish Team riders Kody Kerbox, Ethan Koopmans, Noa Ginella and Mariko Strickland all showed impressive paddling and outstanding performances making for some solid Naish-packed finishes in Turtle Bay.
With peaking swell on the outside reefs and strong winds blowing in from the east, the downwind long distance conditions were ideal on Saturday. Kai Lenny came into the event with two of three wins in the World Series under his belt, but pressure to secure another world title was still at a peak as Kai battled it out with Connor Baxter. Connor and Kai have been on each other’s heels the whole year and they continued the battle along the iconic 13-mile long distance race, which ran from Turtle Bay to Haleiwa. As predicted, the two paddlers finished in the top two; Connor took the lead, leaving Sunday even more of a critical win for Kai. The wind and waves went down a bit on Sunday for the sprints, but it was still a full day of action with large, glassy shore break.
In their respective heats during Round 1, Naish riders Kai Lenny, Casper Steinfath and Ethan Koopmans advanced straight into the Semi Finals. Teammate Kody Kerbox—showcasing an incredible amount of will power and endurance—raced his way through each round up to the Finals, securing the second place spot in the final sprints against the top eight contenders. In the Semi Finals, Kai and Casper took the lead in their heats, moving straight into the Finals where the ultimate results were determined.
The Finals saw Casper and Kai neck and neck. In the first lap, Kai took advantage of a small bump at the first buoy gaining the lead, though Casper was still on his heels. It was anyone’s game until the second lap. Casper explains what happened next, “On my second lap while powering through the waves I lost my footing, just for a second, and before I knew it was splashing in the water getting cleaned up by a set.” After Casper fell, Kai took advantage of this opportunity and catapulted into the lead. With sheer enthusiasm, Kai caught a wave in by himself, riding with his hands up as he celebrated his first place win at the World Series Finals, which earned him the 2015 Stand Up World Series Championship title.
As presenting sponsor, Naish was extremely happy with the success of this event. The week started off with a great turnout for the Gerry Lopez retreat featuring the Iconic Gerry Lopez along with Kai Lenny and Noa Ginella. Sunday morning, before the professional competition, a Naish ONE Design kids event was held in the flat water conditions of eastern Turtle Bay. It was a great turnout with lots of kids battling it out for the top spots. Stay tuned for more pictures and keiki results to come.
We’d like to thank everyone at Waterman League for an incredible job at putting on this event and the talented competitors from around the world that came to participate in the race.
For more information on Kai Lenny, please visit this website www.naishsurfing.com