Molokai 2013 - Can Oscar do it again (for the 13th time)?

Thursday, 11 April 2013 10:36 | Written by  Gameplan Media
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Oscar Chalupsky - training in Durban, South Africa Oscar Chalupsky - training in Durban, South Africa

Durban – Surfski icon Oscar Chalupsky is planning to extend his own record in the tough Molokai Challenge in Hawaii on 19 May by winning his 13th title in the 52km crossing, and in the process explode the myth that athletes cannot remain competitive as they get older.

50 year old champion?

Chalupsky is aiming to win the race for a record-breaking 13th time, in the year that he turned 50.

"That will be quite something if I can win the race in my 20s, my 30s, my 40s and my 50s", said Chalupsky. "No one gives a paddler in their 50s any chance against younger paddlers in their prime, many of them Olympic class paddlers, but that just makes it more of a challenge for me."

Oscar Chalupsky

The 21-year-old Oscar wins for the second time

Thrilling 12th Title

Chalupsky won his 12th Molokai title in tough conditions last year, holding off Australian Clint Robinson, a five times Olympian and winner of three Olympic medals, in a paddle that he openly admitted was to test his ability to try and win the race as a 50 year old in 2013.

After apparently battling early on Chalupsky stormed back to the front when several other top elite stars were wilting, and outstayed double-defending champion Robinson in a thrilling finish in Oahu.

Buoyed by his success in tough conditions in which the downwind conditions did little to help the paddlers on the Kaiwi channel crossing, Chalupsky immediately committed himself to a campaign to claim the title again in 2013 as a pentagenarian.

His 12th title in what is widely acknowledged to be the most prestigious surfski race in the world galvanised Chalupsky who now enjoys the backing of the Richmark group in his bid to claim a thirteenth title, and he has been training throughout the KwaZulu-Natal summer in a bid to simulate the toughest possible conditions for the race in Hawaii. 

Oscar Chalupsky China Wall

2012 - Oscar on his way past China Wall to his 12th title.

Training

To try and prepare himself for the heat and dehydration, he regularly trains with two or three thermal tops, despite temperatures in the mid-thirties through his regular 50km training sessions.

His favoured training routes when the winds come from the South West are from Scottburgh to Durban, or the Bay crossing from Durban to Tinley Manor, both almost exactly the same distance as the Molokai Crossing in its current format.

"People write off athletes as they get older," said Chalupsky, whose rigorous training regime has seen him shed significant weight in his preparations for his 2013 Molokai bid. "A few golfers are able to win in the fifties, but as rule, the older athletes don't stay competitive. Being able to win a race that I have respected my whole life at the age of 50 is a challenge that is hugely important to me, and I simply cannot resist."

The Molokai Challenge takes place on 19 May over 52km from Kaluakoi resort on the island of Molokai across the open water of the Kaiwi Channel to Hawaii Kai Town Center on the island of Oahu.

Opposition

It's not known at this stage whether Chalupsky's old rival Dean Gardiner will be taking part (Gardiner has 9 titles to Oscar's 12) but if the conditions look good he's usually trained and ready on the start line.  (If the conditions are bad - i.e. calm - Gardiner either doesn't pitch at all or he crosses the channel, cold beer in hand, on an escort boat.  He says he's too old to grind along on flat water.)

But Aussie surfski ace Tim Jacobs recently won his air fare to Hawaii in a race at home...  Jacobs has a string of international surfski victories to his name and would love to take a Molokai victory home.

As for Clint Robinson - the olympian seldom commits ahead of time, but it's a good bet that he'll be there.

But a host of other paddlers from all over the world will be there to take up the Challenge.

For last year's race report, see: 2012 Molokai Race Report

 

Event information

Hawaii

19 May 2013

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