19-year-old Oahu native takes home the Waterman title at this year’s event
Mo took home the winning title today at the first annual Waterman’s Festival, presented by paddleboarding legend Jamie Mitchell and Quiksilver.
Throughout the day, 131 contestants, including seasoned water athletes such as Connor Baxter, Lincoln Dews, Candice Appleby, Mo Freitas, Danny Ching, Annabel Anderson and Shae Foudy, in addition to fierce amateur competitors and groms as young as seven years old, competed in the open racing, traditional lifeguard events and newly formatted survivor races that allowed athletes in each bracket to push themselves.
“For this festival, we had the best SUP and paddle athletes in the world, the outcome was more than we ever envisioned,” said Jamie Mitchell. “Ideal conditions, light onshore winds and little waves allowed for a seamless elimination format that kept the day’s competition exciting, for me, more than anything, today was about the athletes – leveling out the playing field for individual competitors.”
Starting at 8 a.m. PST, the day began with a one-mile swim, followed by five- and one- mile Prone and SUP paddleboard races. Following the open races, six knockout format elite survivor races, which included swim, SUP and junior and senior lifeguard races, took place. Three Dash for Cash races closed out the day.
The core of the event was the Survivor Race—debuted by Mitchell at the 2012 Waikiki Paddle Festival—a knockout event in which paddlers complete a series of one-lap sprints. The slowest finishers at the end of each lap were eliminated until the final duo, Mo Freitas and Toby Cracknell, went head-to-head in the last heat with Freitas ultimately taking home the Waterman title. In the women’s division, Shae Foudy took first place in the SUP Survivor race.
“The format is unbelievable. It shows all sports that are racing in the water: swimming, paddling, prone – it brings together all different athletes. It makes you push yourself harder, so you get time to rest. The elimination format is continuous sprinting,” said Freitas, today’s title winner. “I have never competed in a race like this before.”