Moloklai2Oahu Entry List Analized

As we discussed in the interview with Shannon Delaney, the M2O is entering a period where demographics and mainly race divisions are changing. The glory days of downwind open ocean SUP racing are pretty much over and we are entering the glory days of downwind SUP-Foiling and Wingfoiling.

This is why the entry list of this years M2O is of particular interest as we are all curios how the things have changed, who retunes to to the race and if so in what category are they starting. First and foremost we also have to point out that the race got sold out which is a very good sign over all. The interest in the M2O remains strong.

Lets look at the most anticipated category first: SUP Foil Solo.

There are 41 participants of which 3 are females. We are pretty stoked to see these three well know athletes competing. Starting with Annie Reickert, who was the first and only female to cross the Kaiwi Channel on foil back in 2018 and 2019. Now she is getting company from 2 very strong and experienced water women.

One of them is Andrea Moller who was the “queen of the Kaiwi channel” for many years. Andrea is also a decorated big wave surfer. The third women is Olivia Piana, who does not need any introduction, she has been around since the early days, winning many SUP titles. She later moved on to compete in wing foiling and now SUP Foiling. Interestingly enough, this will be her first time in the Kaiwi channel.

It would go beyond our capacity to go through all the 38 men, but we want to make note of some strong and long time athletes. (If we did forgot anyone please forgive us.)

  • Kai Lenny: Waterman super star and record holder in the channel, he will be the man to beat.
  • James Casey: Past winner in SUP and for sure one of the biggest competition for Kai.
  • Jeffrey Spencer: He almost won in 2019, he n was the first at China Wall ahead of Kai but fell short in the last stretch. We are sure he is returning to try to set his record straight.

From our perspective these 3 are the strongest contenders for the podium. However there are more notable SUP foilers, such as Slater Trout who was an early SUP Racer. Further more there is an array of Hawaiian young guns who are locally and internationally known in the foil community such as:

Jack Ho, a Honolulu local with many miles of downwind foiling under his belt, from Kauai we have Mateo Ell a strong contender and GWA participant. From Maui we have Kane De Wilde, who made himself a name with his custom adaptable foil stabilizers.

We also see 2 longtime participants returning to the channel with the likes of Armie Armstrong, famously know for ARMSTRONG Foils and pioneer in the SUP and Foil world. and Tomayasu Murabayashi a.k.a SUP Tomo, he crossed the channel multiple times on Foil and SUP for many years.

The brand new division is wing foiling.

Here we count only 13 participants with only 2 ladies but we are very excited to see Annabel Anderson back in Hawaii after so many years of retirement from the SUP sport. Now she is back with a wing and a foil. The second lady is Anna Kalabukhova from Honolulu who we are looking forward to meet for the first time. In the men category we have Zane Schweitzer the all time waterman from Maui. Next in line is Bobo Gallhager also from Maui and a very ambitious young waterman. He is only 13 years old but already did a crossing from the Big Island to Maui and is a master of many sports.

Another participant is Michi Schweiger, Naish product developer and longtime M2O contender. We also see Alex Aguerra founder of GoFoil crossing the channel and notably Finn Spencer the younger brother of Jeffrey Spencer.

Who is in the SUP division?

We are counting 22 entries with exactly 2 ladies. One of them is Morgan Hoesterey who is a longtime paddler and early day (2008) M2O participant and then she was back in 2016. She did multiple Ironmanas in Tahiti as well. The second women is Kiyomi Sheppard a recreational paddler from Oahu.

As short as the list is, we are actually excited to see a few known names who paddle for the first time in the channel and some returning ones. We are particularly stoked to see the 17 year old and rising star Shuri “Shrimpy” Araki coming to Hawaii to paddle the Kaiwi channel. He will be up against Josh Riccio in the Stock 14′ division who won the M2O last time in 2019. Further more we have Fred Bonnef from Tarifa, he is a well known European paddler, race organizer and author of the latest SUP Tricktionary.

In the unlimited class we have Mo Freitas returning into the channel. Mo was an early SUP contender during the Battle of the Paddle days. He had a small comeback at the APP Tour in Santa Monica in 2022. Coming over from Europe to paddle in the UL class we also have Tomaso Pampinella. He is always a strong contender in European races and same family as Cecilia Pampinella, a name we remember from the podium at many races.

The core class: Prone paddling

The class that is by far the largest, is the traditional prone paddle class. This class is the core of the M2O and draws the international prone paddlers to Hawaii year after year. It is in this clas,s that Jamie Mitchell got his fame from by winning the race 10 years in a row. That was a time before SUP and when SUP just got started. This class has regularly attracted athletes from the surfing world, such a legendry Tom Carrol in the years past and in the more recent history John John Florence. This year we spotted Courtney Conlogue a female WSL athlete. She will be paddling in a 3 people mixed team. It is nice to see that surf athletes, even when rarely, break out their comfort zone to participate in other ocean sports.


As we can see, the SUP division shrunk to a bare minimum lacking the participants and names to make this race relevant in the international SUP ranking. (We will see how the race will be ranked in the SUP World Ranking System.) For the SUP Athletes the M2O remains to be an epic experience, but for us as SUP media, the results will play a minor role. Sure, it will be exciting to see if Josh Riccio can beat his old time. Maybe we will see a small battle between him and Shrimpy. Regardless, the excitement and anticipation at China Wall to see who is the first coming around the corner wont be the same anymore.

On the other hand the growing division of SUP Foiling lacks the history as well as participants for it to already be a competitive sport. Even the numbers of SUP foilers are growing, we are still in a very early stage of experimentation. We will need a few more years and twice the participants before we even start to scratch the surface of the big potential this sport has. See our interview with Balz Muller and Steve Fleury, both flat water SUP pump foil pioneers in Switzerland.

We hope for SUP foiling to undergo the same development as SUP did, so it will eventually find a broader audience and participation.

It still is 4 month until we are at the start line, but we are already looking forward to be over on Molokai to see all the new and old faces from a community that has grown dear to us.