Duke's Oceanfest Closes on a High Note with Surf Polo & Kahala Challenge – Hawaii


Above: Candice Appleby had every reason to smile after competing in, and winning, more events than any other athlete over the past week. Photo by Bernie Baker

Duke’s Oceanfest Closes on a High Note with Surf Polo & Kahala Challenge

BY JODI WILMOTT – The 10th annual Duke’s OceanFest drew to a close today with the final two events: the Kahala Challenge, at Fort DeRussy, and the Outrigger Hotels & Resorts Surfboard Water Polo at the Kapahulu breakwall. These events conclude a full week of ocean sports and celebrations that honor Hawaii’s legendary waterman Duke Kahanamoku and are a benefit for the Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation.

The 800-yard swim/2-mile run/2-mile paddle ocean triathlon known as the Kahala Challenge was contested with 64 starters that included 3-person teams. The race enjoyed a fast finish courtesy of a rising swell that offered some great rides on the final paddle leg, which could be made on either an OC1 canoe, a 12-foot stock paddleboard, or a stand-up paddleboard. The OC1’s completed an expanded 2.5-mile distance course as a handicap against the smaller paddle craft.

First across the line was legendary Honolulu swimmer/triathlete John Flanagan, who successfully defended his 2010 title in a fast time of 44 minutes and 39 seconds. Flanagan chose a paddleboard as his craft for the final discipline.

“Swim is my best leg and that’s the shortest, unfortunately,” said Flanagan. “But I just try to put in three strong efforts. The three disciplines are a great dynamic.”

The first woman across the line was Honolulu’s Candice Appleby, on a stand-up paddleboard in a time of 54:34. Appleby finished 9th overall and was a sentimental crowd favorite given that she competed in more ocean events and rounds of competition than any other athlete – male or female – during OceanFest. Her wins this week also included the Go Pro Presents C4 Waterman Stand-Up Race and the Maui Jim Hawaii Paddleboard Championship. She was also a finalist in the Hawaiian Airlines Duke’s Legends Surf Classic, riding for the Kona Brewing team; and competed in the BearsWave.com Tandem Surfing event, lifting Vanina Walsh. Candice dedicated her win to Duke – the ultimate ocean inspiration.

“I’m really proud to be at Duke’s OceanFest, celebrating everything Duke has done for ocean sports,” said Appleby. “To celebrate Duke’s birthday I participated in as many events as I could. I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it today. I was really tired. But I figured, what the heck, it’s a good training day. So I can’t be happier.”

A full day of round-robin competition was held in the Outrigger Hotels & Rsorts Surfboard Water Polo competition that ended in a feisty re-match between last year’s top two teams:

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