19/4 Moloka’i – What is it and what does it take to enter
When it comes to OC1, OC6 and Surf Ski ocean paddling you’ll often hear "Molokai" being talked of as the ultimate challenge. Today, Hawaiian time, sees the OC1 solo Moloka’i crossing take place.
What’s so special about Moloka’i?
In a nutshell Moloka’i is a 50-70km ocean race across the Kaiwi Channel between the Hawaiian islands of Moloka’i and Oahu. What makes the race so special is that the two islands line up almost perfectly with the tradewinds. Tradewinds being what they are can blow 15-25kts for days on end. Hawaii’s location in the middle of the Pacific also sees big ocean swells move through the channel either to the left or right of the prevailing tradewinds.
Using the steep seas whipped up by the tradewinds to hook onto the fast moving ocean swells makes for an exhilarating 50km downwind extravaganza!
Add to that the sense of place that comes from waking up on one Hawaiian island, setting course across the open ocean for a small group of clouds on the horizon, being surrounded by the rich blue of the 600m deep Kaiwi Channel, turning around to see one island disappear as another comes into view and you have an experience to behold.
With ocean paddlers from around the world coming together to challenge themselves against each other and the ocean as well as some great lead up races on neigbouring islands, Moloka’i has grown to become the self-proclaimed World Championship of ocean paddling for OC1s, surf skis and OC6s.
Is it for me?
There is no doubt the combination of ocean skills and endurance required to complete the race make it an incredible challenge regardless of what craft you go with.
However some say one of the best things about committing to do Moloka’i is the training. As well as the personal pride that comes from seeing your fitness and skills wwwelop, it’s a window to some awesome local ocean paddling experiences.
In Sydney we have one of the most fantastic pieces of coastline in the world on which to train. Right throughout the year conditions very similar to Molokai are served up to build and sharpen surfing skills.
Within PDs we’re lucky to have the knowledge on how to wwwelop the required endurance and build the necessary ocean skills as well the experience of previous Moloka’i crossings to help sort out logistics and fine tune preparation.
The only ingredient missing is you and your desire to make it happen!
As a famous president once said, we choose to do these things not because they are easy but because they are hard.
When is it?
Want to know more?
The race websites above have varying degrees of info.
Annett and Linda’s journey to take on the 2008 Moloka’i OC1 Relay is a great read in the PD Forums. Part 1 kicks off here.
Speak to Annett, Linda, Magoo, Geoff A, Ed, Kait, Russell, Dave H, Marty, Steve, Nick, Gav and Billy about their Moloka’i experiences.
Also check out some great surfing footage of Danny Ching from the USA in last year’s OC1 solo race below.