At 7:30 a.m. HST the world’s top paddlers – standup, prone and hydrofoil – began their annual pilgrimage from the Hawaiian island of Molokai 32 miles across the Channel of Bones to Oahu for the 22nd annual Molokai 2 Oahu, aka M2O, aka the most prestigious downwind paddle race on Earth.

Kai Lenny flies across the Channel of Bones for a historic performance in the first-ever hydrofoil division at Molokai 2 Oahu. Photo: Courtesy of SUP Mag

For the first time in M2O history the fastest paddler raced neither prone nor SUP, but hydrofoil. Surprise, surprise: that paddler was Kai Lenny, who also holds the course’s stock SUP record and in 2016 won the unlimited SUP division with record-setting time.

On Sunday, Lenny set a new course record with a jaw-dropping time of 2:52:48.

Kai Lenny and the art of downwind foiling. Photo: Courtesy of Franck Berthout/SUP Mag

Lenny’s result in M2O’s first-ever hydrofoil division marks the race’s fastest finishing time ever, besting the 2018 unlimited SUP champion Travis Grant’s new record of 3:59:18 by more an hour.

“My goal was to do it in under three hours,” said Lenny at the finish. “I wouldn’t doubt if in the future we’re doing this race in two hours and thirty minutes or faster.”

Behind Lenny, the standup paddle division unfolded with a classic battle between last year’s M2O champ Travis Grant and perennial M2O favorite Connor Baxter, both of whom each held three Molokai 2 Oahu titles going into Sunday’s race. Grant broke the record he set last year in the unlimited SUP division by 34 seconds and Baxter crossed the finish line in 4:38:39 ahead of third-place finisher James Casey (4:48:42).

Unfortunate upsets also occurred on the men’s side with pre-race favorites Lincoln Dews and Titouan Puyo both suffering injuries in the channel. We’ll bring you updates on them as we hear more.

On the women’s side, Australian Terrene Black reigned victorious with a time of 5:25:27 ahead of runner-up, three-time former M2O champ Sonni Hönschied (5:32:36) and third-place finisher Penelope Strickland (5:57:09).

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