The Molokai to Oahu paddle race is the big one. 32 miles across the Ka ‘iwi channel. This was my first year racing so I thought it would be fun to ask my friend, sponsor and Infinity team mate Dave Boehne to join me on a two man team. He trained in California then flew over to spend a few training days on the Maliko downwind run here on Maui to get used to the board and conditions before making our way to Molokai. He took to it fast, new board and all. After meeting our support boat captain (Kimo) and handing off our equipment for the ride from Maui to the start, Mom, Dave and I took the short 30 minute flight to Molokai on Saturday. The flight over was almost as awesome as the race. Molokai is spectacular from the air, the sea cliffs on the north side are beyond beautiful. After landing and making our way to the Harbor to meet up with Kimo and collect our board we headed to Kalua Koi where the event was set to begin early the next morning. After the pre-race meeting, a tasty pasta dinner at the Maui Jim condo (thanks Alicia and Mike!) we caught up on some olympics and got to bed early. 5:30 am breakfast then load up and get to the beach for the 6:30 blessing and then try to find your support boat out of the hundreds of boats floating around in the bay. Mom and Dave swam out to meet Kimo and I waited on the beach for the solo paddlers to get underway, the teams would take off a half hour later.
Finally after all the preparation and planning we were on our way. I had a good start and headed to open water. While the paddlers spread out and picked their course the boats slowly worked their way to their paddler. We were going to trade off about every 30 minutes but as the first switch time approached my support boat was no where to be seen. After our captain put the word out on the radio that they were looking for racer 205 another boat that had been keeping their eye on me gave them my position. I was glad to finally see them pull up along side and Dave was anxious to jump in and get his paddle started. We took a northerly route and headed in to the main part of the channel. A little over four hours later Oahu was in our sights and Dave was paddling hard to finish up his final leg. He was an awesome team mate to have and paddled great the whole way. I took the last leg and as I turned the corner for the finish I saw another team up ahead. Luckily I caught a couple of waves and made up some space then just had to paddle as hard as I could to catch them before the finish line. We ended up 3rd in the two man teams under 79 and came in under 5 hours so we were stoked. Next year, solo.
A huge congratulations to all the paddlers that competed in this epic race and to Connor Baxter for taking the win a second year in a row and to Talia Giangini, first woman in. The awards dinner at the Outrigger Canoe Club in Waikiki was really fun but then it was back the hotel to get to bed early again because I had a 7am fight the next morning, I had to get to Salt Lake City for the Outdoor Retail show and the Boardworks Show Up and Blow Up SUP Cross race on the Weber River. River racing is very different from what I do on the ocean or flat water racing but that’s what makes it so fun. The race was a short sprint with some technical bouy turns and three other racers all battling for the right line. It’s exciting to watch and even more exciting to race in. I made it to the final but took a spin after getting my board hooked up with another, I stayed on my feet but gave up some time and took third. Congrats to Dan Geuyver who took the win.
Hanging out with the Boardworks crew was great at Jordanelle Lake for the demo day and at their booth at the OR show as well. It was fun to walk around and catch up with some of my other sponsors and see all the new stuff out there. Next up some much needed rest, more olympics watching then the Stand Up Tour World Series Turtle Bay race.