you think of the history of Molokai, the unofficial World Championship of
open-ocean racing, you think of Oscar (11) and Herman Chalupsky (2), the
brothers from Durban
who have combined to win 13 titles, and Australians Dean Gardiner (9) and Grant
Kenny (5). The only other man to have won this storied race in the last two
decades is the young Springbok Clint Pretorius, who last year edged out Oscar
and two-time Olympic medal winner Clint Robinson of Oz.
[Editor - I found this on Heather Nelson's blog. She kindly gave us permission to use it on surfski.info. Check out her blog - Heather (with her partner, Brandon) is an ultra-marathon paddler of note.]
The Kaiwi Channel is known to be one of the most volatile ocean channels in the world. It is also home to the Molokai World Championship Surf Ski and Outrigger Race. For 31 years, the best paddlers in the world have gathered for their chance to claim the most prestigious title in small boat racing.
This year, the 37.2-mile open ocean marathon will begin near the west end of the Island of Molokai and finish on the tourist-filled Queens Beach in Waikiki, on the island of Oahu... And this year, I have set my sights on racing the Molokai!!!
The 2007 Molokai World Championship event has been announced - a new sponsor (Epic Kayaks), a new organization, $25,000 in prizes and a slightly modified course all add up to what looks like a cracker of a race.
Thirty four or so surfski paddlers were privileged to take part in the Molokai Challenge last week... Sitting here in cold rain-drenched Cape Town I could only imagine what it must have been like. A couple of Molokai participants sent me some reminiscences of the race...
South Africa's 21 year old Clint Pretorius beat Oscar Chalupsky in a tight finish in the Molokai Challenge surf ski race. The two men paddled neck and neck across the channel. Finally, Clint chose a better, seaward line at China walls at Hawaii Kai and gained on Oscar who stayed close to the wall.
Although Oscar charged hard towards the finish, Clint was just able to hold the 11 time winner off for his own first victory.
Given the importance of experience in the race (the average age of the top ten paddlers excluding Clint being 36), Clint's victory was even more impressive.
On Thursday, May 18, three days before the 32-mile (55km) surf ski and one-man canoe race from Kaluako'I Beach, Molokai to Koko Marina on Oahu, paddlers gathered at the Kona Brewing Company for the 30th edition of the race considered the world surf ski championship