Competitors join hands in a prayer circle immediately before the start of the Molokai to Oahu, World Championships of Paddleboarding on the island of Molokai, Hawaii on July 31, 2011. (Photo by Donald Miralle)
Well I guess it’s one more thing to check off the bucket list. Paddling across the Ka’iwi Channel or the “channel of bones”, the 32-mile expanse of deep rough water between in islands of Molokai and Oahu in the Hawaiian archipelago, was truly a humbling experience. Not because it was my first time or because we were paddling besides some of the greatest watermen on the planet including 10x champ Jamie Mitchell, but rather just the energy and “mana” of the place. A massive, living, turbulent expanse of deep water (sometimes over 1km deep at points) that has an aura of a place that has taken the lives of many men, including the legendary northshore lifeguard and waterman Eddie Aikau. My teammate Deon Lourens and I had a blast crossing the channel and soaking it all in literally, en route to placing 2nd in the Men’s Team Classic Paddleboard Stock 80-99 Division, despite partially tearing my brachialis the week before. The Australian team of Blair Thorndike and David Ward beat us by 10 minutes over the 6 hour race, further solidifying the Australian domination of the event with records by countrymen and women Mitchell and newcomer 17 year-old Jordan Mercer who crushed the women’s course record by over a half hour! Special thanks to our boat captain Allan and Ryan for the safe crossing, Shannon and crew for putting on a great event, and Deon for splitting the mileage and handling all the logistics of our race. Together with the Catalina Classic later this month (body-willing), I am paddling for the American Cancer Society and have raised over $6k for cancer research and prevention. You can learn more or make a donation by going to my sponsor page here. Please enjoy the short video below of our POV of the crossing, thanks for looking!