May 10, 2018
RECAP, PHOTOS AND RESULTS FROM THE 2018 BLUESMITHS PADDLE IMUA
BLUESMITHS Paddle Imua 2018 took place in grueling hot conditions which tested all athletes' skill, stamina and mental strength.
162 standup paddlers, prone paddlers, OC1s, OC2s, OC6s, boats and surfskis took part in the Maliko Bay to Kahului Harbor ocean race for the benefit of children with special needs. With the trade winds shut down and choppy seas the course tested the limits of endurance and skill while focusing paddlers' minds on the event cause. This race is for the kids of Camp Imua and had it not been for the charitable nature of this event, many paddlers might have failed to finish the distance. The light winds meant that the hydro foil riders would have to take a back seat and a tactical battle between boats, OCs and standup paddleboards was played out along the ten-mile course.
This year it would be the surfski of Michael Owens which would reach the harbor mouth first, with OCs and surfskis dominating the top-20. In the SUP division, Australian dark horse Ty Judson flew over the morning of the race from Oahu and, paddling his unlimited SUP, outlasted Maui-based paddler Josh Riccio on his stock 14' board, with Team USA's Ryan Funk in finishing overall third among the men. Funk, who had been set to race on a hydrofoil board opted at the last minute to paddle his stock 14' flatwater board rather than his unlimited due to light wind conditions. Typically, unlimited paddleboards have a big advantage on the Maliko run but when the winds are light their speed advantage is to some extent eroded, which resulted in the tactical battle between crafts gunning for the overall win.
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