Molokai - the Holy Grail of surfski paddling! When the race organizers invited me to go to Hawaii to experience the race I leaped at the opportunity. I had a great time and a terrible race... , learnt a lot about paddling in Hawaii - and about myself.
Yep, that's exactly how I felt! (Pic: Vince Bechet)
Oh, how I look forward to the Molo after-party. Eat what you like, drink what you like and go to bed...whenever. And of course, everybody has a story to tell. I started to tell mine to Rob before he said, I'm tired and I've got a long flight ahead of me - and I'm going to bed. But he asked me write about my race experience for surfski.info so here it is.
HONOLULU - May 18, 2008 -
Tahiti's Lewis Laughlin trumped a record field of 133 paddlers in the
32-mile Epic Kayaks Molokai World Championships today, repeating his
victory of last year but under vastly different conditions to prove
he's a paddling force to be reckoned with. Feeling right at home in
light to moderate trade-winds and a small wind swell of two feet,
Laughlin, 37, finished 19 minutes outside of the race record in a time
of 3 hours, 40 minutes and 26 seconds. The 6'2" Tahitian looked
comfortable and relaxed at the finish despite having survived a strong
charge home that saw the top four finishers all cross the line within a
period of two minutes. The record time of 3:21:26 was set by Australian
Dean Gardner in 1997.
There's no doubt that Hawaii is one of the most beautiful places on earth to paddle; and I can't wait to experience for myself the crossing from Molokai to Oahu across the Kaiwi Channel. Here are some personal impressions of the trip so far...