Aussies Sweep Inaugural Maui Jim OceanFest


Think you’re a hardguy waterman or woman? You gotta beat the Aussies at next year’s second annual Maui Jim OceanFest, whose first incarnation just wrapped up the first week of June. Held outside the Ka’anapali Beach Hotel in Lahaina, Maui, the event drew an elite group of international athletes competing for $40,000 in prize money in unique ocean-lifeguard-style events, from supping to outrigger canoe paddling, all while showcasing Hawai’s ocean sports.

Races included swimming, paddleboarding, stand-up paddling (SUP), outrigger canoeing, surf-skiing and elite mixed events combining the various disciplines. Competitors accumulated points in the varied disciplines over the two days, which accrued towards their total in either open or age groups to name an overall Waterman and Waterwoman for the event.

When all was said and done, it was Australia’s Jackson Maynard and Jeff Kenny taking the top two spots for the men, followed by Hawaii’s Patrick Dolan, Hunter Pflueger and Zane Schweitzer. For the women, Australia’s Karla Gilbert wound up on top, followed by Rachel Bruntsch of the U.S. and Shannon Bell of Canada. Bottom line: the Aussies are the water people to beat.

“The event took place just a week after the Maui Jim Molokai Challenge, which is considered the World Championship for SurfSki and OC-1 paddling, so, we were able to draw a great group of talent that made for some exciting, fast-paced competition,” says event director Matt Dubrule.

Designed as a “sprint” competition, no race lasted longer than five to 10 minutes in length, with participants encouraged to enter multiple races to accrue cumulative points.

“For anyone wanting to see the best of the best compete in one of the most beautiful settings in the world, it was a not-to-be-missed event,” says Dubrule, adding that the event will be seen by more than 63 million television viewers in 41 U.S. markets and in five countries “Next year’s should be even better.”

Top 5 Open Results:

1 Jackson Maynard Australia 221
2 Jett Kenny Australia 161
3 Patrick Dolan United States (HI) 156
4 Hunter Pflueger United States (HI) 130
5 Zane Schweitzer United States (HI) 127

Top 5 Women’s Open Results:

1 Karla Gilbert Australia 197
2 Rachel Bruntsch United States (HI) 182
3 Shannon Bell Canada BC 170
4 Kelsa Gabehart United States (CO) 153
5 Kathy Shipman United States (HI) 134