Sean Rice- Mid Channel 2015
The Molokai is known as the toughest ocean ski race in the world and once again the race lived up to it's reputation this year. The 2016 edition saw windless, flat and hot conditions for the 52km crossing from Molokai to Oahu referred to as "Channel of Bones"and delivered plenty of pain and a few casualties along the way.
In the Men's, it was a full South African podium with Hank McGregor emerging as the 2016 Molokai Champion for a third time, proving his absolute dominance of the International long distance paddling world. Vaikobi Race Team's Sean Rice paddled a super race to claim 2nd over Jasper Mocke in 3rd. To give an indication as to how hard and long this race was, the winning time of Hank this year of 3hrs.45 minutes was more than 23 minutes slower than the winning time of Cory Hill in 2015.
Mens Top 5 Molokai (With Horns)- 1st- Hank McGregor (RSA), 2nd- Sean Rice (RSA/Vaikobi), 3rd- Jasper Mocke (RSA), 4th- Clint Robinson (AUS), 5th-Joey Hall (AUS/Vaikobi)
Photo Credit: PaddleLife- Emily Mcgrath
Cory Hill (AUS) Mid Channel- photo credit Dean Gardiner
The hard luck story goes to defending Molokai Champ, Australian Cory Hill who appeared to have a 500M lead at China Wall however had a major issue in the last 2 km's when he hit a rock and seriously damaged his rudder and boat. Tough pill to swallow for sure but to win, one must finish and Cory would have been the first guy to congratulate Hank and use the disappointment as motivation to come back next year.
Cory was not the only person to suffer damage, with South African Veteran Mark Perrow having a bad stack near the finish resulting in a broken ski. The champion however managed to finish the race despite his Fenn Elite having a lot more rocker than it usually has! Pure determination right there....
There were reports of a few paddlers having trouble navigating around the reef near China Wall including legends Oscar Chalupsky & Greg Barton.
Photo Credit: Beata Cseke
In the Women's, Gold Coast's Liz Pluimer produced a massive performance to take the title from last year's champion, Vaikobi's Rachel Clarke from NZ who toiled away in the long hot conditions despite battling a virus over the past week. Tania Moohin (Australia) too 3rd. Congratulations to these champion athletes!
The Podium however is only one part of the Molokai race. Throughout the field were countless examples of people achieving their personal bests. Just finishing this race is a massive achievement.
There was a standout performance from Vaikobi's young charger from the Northern Beaches of Sydney, Joey Hall, who at 20 years old placed 5th overall in an impressive performance that signals his future potential. Under the watchful eye of Tim Jacobs at the NSW Institute of Sport, Joey's constant development has been astounding and makes him one to watch in future editions.
Another youngster on the rise, 21 year old Ryan Paroz in his third Molokai (yes 3 Molokai's at 21!) also produced a fantastic result in 14th place.
There were countless examples of race veterans such as Dane Sloss, Herman Chalupsky, Steve Dalton, Danny Topfer, Greg Barton et al, producing fantastic results at the top of the field.
In the Doubles, Andrew Wheeler from Sydney partnered with Hayden Folbigg to take out the Molokai Doubles titles whilst finishing 7th across the line overall.
Another fantastic development in the Molokai race has been evolution of the Molokai Relay where competitors can take on the race in either a 2 or 3 person relay across Surfski, SUP and OC.
Hawaiian's dominated the relays with the Dolan's- Patrick, Ryan & Tim producing a fantastic performance to take out the OC1 relay whilst Brendon Woods and Zsolt Szadovski emerged as the Surfski 2 person relay champions.
Congratulations to everyone who competed the Molokai 2016.
Rest up your tired bodies and we look forward to seeing you at the next event!
For full race results, visit: