When it comes to the highest level of competition, elite athletes need to find new approaches to nutrition, fitness and recovery that give them an edge. For top standup paddleboarders Connor Baxter and Travis Grant, this meant choosing the UB Super protein superfood nutritional shake as part of their fuel for the most prestigious SUP downwinder race: Molokai 2 Oahu.
In recent years, the grueling 32-mile island hop has become a back-and-forth, see-saw contest between the world’s top racers, with young guns like Baxter and Kai Lenny competing against legends of the sport like Dave Kalama. In 2011, Baxter became the youngest racer to win M20 when he was just 16 years old, setting a new course record of 4 hours 26 minutes in the process. He then followed that up with another first, becoming the only 17 year old to win the Battle of the Paddle. So coming into the 2012 Molokai 2 Oahu event, Baxter was on a roll. But in his way was Kalama, the pioneering waterman who with Laird Hamilton and the “Strapped” crew redefined what was possible at the ferocious Peahi (aka Jaws) and popularized SUP. Baxter and Kalama changed leads over and over, with the young phenom needing a full-on sprint to pull away to a 30-second victory.
Last year, Baxter looked to wrap up a historic Molokai 2 Oahu three-peat. Yet there was another entrant who would have something to say about that – veteran Australian paddler Travis Grant. In addition to racking up SUP wins worldwide, Grant is a master in just about every other watersports discipline, including surfing, surf skiing and outrigger canoeing. He went out strong, dug in hard in the closing stages, and came home ahead of Baxter.
With Grant eager to defend his title, Baxter equally determined to get back to the top of the podium, and OutsideOutside talking up the rivalry between Kalama and his young gun protege Kai Lenny, this year’s island crossing promised to be a humdinger. And so it proved. Lenny charged out to an early lead, but midway through the race, he had dropped the pace and it’d become clear that Grant or Baxter would take this year’s title as the two pulled away. In a near repeat of the Kalama-Baxter tussle from 2012, the two fierce competitors went stroke for stroke, with each snatching a lead only to see the other take it back. With Baxter ahead in the last couple of miles, Grant upped his stroke rate and began to reel the Maui man in. But in the end Baxter displayed his usual late-race poise, and crossed the line in a new course record of 4:08:08. Grant finished less than a minute later, also beating Baxter’s old best mark.
Though Baxter and Grant used different boards, hydration packs and other gear, the top two in this year’s premier open ocean contest have one common element in their preparation: they both use UB Super as part of their nutrition plans. With 16 grams of high quality protein and a unique blend of antioxidant-packed superfoods, organic vitamins, digestion-aiding prebiotics and probiotic and fulvic mineral/fulvic acid that aids nutrient absorption, UB Super is fast becoming a must-have for leading SUP athletes.
“Sometimes it’s hard to eat before a big event so I had a UB Super shake to fuel my body before Molokai 2 Oahu this year. I feel like I need to eat on the water so I sipped more UB Super the whole way across the channel,” Grant said. “After the race I needed to refuel but it can be difficult to sit down to a meal. So once again I grabbed my UB Super, shook it up and enjoyed.”
Baxter also benefited from using UB Super in the run up to this year’s M20 and on race day.
“Every day I get up, drink a UB Super shake and then go out and paddle. When I’m on the water, UB Supers’s new electrolyte-rich drink keeps me hydrated during long sessions. The plant-based protein and minerals in UB Super have also been great for recovery,” Baxter said. “The morning of the M20 race I drank a UB Super shake and then combined the electrolytes mix with the gels I usually use to fuel me during the race. They’re both amazing products and make me feel great.” – Phil White