Molokai’s Carlton Helm wins M2M race
With less than 50 yards left of the Maui to Molokai (M2M) Race to go, Molokai native and one-man paddler Carlton Helm snuck a glance behind and saw two top paddlers –one he recognized as five-time Oahu Crazy Channel Solo Champion Kai Bartlett –and realized he was in first place.
“I got nervous and my hands cramped,” said the 31-year old. “I just put my head down for the last 50 yards, which is all upwind, and whatever I had left I just left it out there.”
Helm paddled into Kaunakakai Harbor, finishing this year’s M2M Race, held April 28, in first place out of 47 paddlers in his division, with a time of 2 hours and 36 minutes.
Each year, the Maui Canoe & Kayak Club (MCKC) hosts the race, a 26-mile outrigger course that stretches across the Pailolo Channel, starting from D.T. Fleming Beach Park on Maui and finishing at Kaunakakai Harbor on Molokai. Over 250 paddlers from all across the world participated in this year’s race in divisions of outrigger canoe one-mans (OC-1s), pairs (OC-2s), surf skis, standup paddleboards (SUP) and/or prone boards.
The MCKC has been hosting the race, often dubbed Hawaii’s “funnest” downwind race, for the past 11 years to promote environmental awareness and physical fitness through competitive ocean sports, according to their website.
“The experience of the channel crossing and taking home a medal is a wonderful achievement,” said MCKC Board President Stacie Thorlakson, via email. “[Helm’s] performance was stellar and we look forward to seeing him at the Maui to Molokai (M2M) race next year!”
Helm, who has been paddling competitively for nine years, said the victory is still taking some time to sink in.
“I was so stoked I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “The whole point was to bring pride to the Molokai people and paddlers and show [them] that people from Molokai could win big races against big time paddlers.”
Helm would like to thank Kamanu Composite, his wife and two sons, and the Helm ohana on Molokai for their support.
Other competitors from Molokai included:
Susan Bowen Iron OC-2 3:30:50
Greg Davis Relay OC-1 3:17:22
Bozo Dudoit Relay OC-1 2:51:10
Kevin Dudoit Iron OC-1 2:54:07
Crystal Egusa Iron OC-1 4:05:35
David Gilliland Iron OC-1 3:01:31
Dayna Harris Relay OC-1 3:51:04
Choppie Kalama Relay OC-2 2:48:43
Jerome Kalama Relay OC-2 2:48:43
Cindy Kimball Relay OC-2 2:48:43
Ron Kimball Relay OC-2 2:48:43
Keola Kino Relay OC-1 2:51:10
Clint Labrador Iron OC-1 2:48:38
Chad Lima Iron OC-1 2:39:20
Liliana Napoleon Iron OC-1 3:27:57
Desiree Puhi Iron OC-1 4:05:37
Vicki Underwood Iron OC-2 3:30:50
Henry Van Gieson Relay OC-1 3:10:30
Shannon Van Gieson Relay OC-1 3:10:30
Lisa Weiland Foster Relay OC-1 3:51:04