Molokai World Championships

32 Mile race set for May 15

The prestigious Molokai World Championships will be sponsored by the Outrigger Duke Kahanumoku Foundation in 2011, set for May 15.  The title sponsorship brings with it increased cash and prizes totaling $5,000 to the winners of the open ocean race.  This race is recognized as the World Surfski Championship of long distance surfski racing and is the title that the most elite watermen and water women covet the most.  The race will be starting from the west end of Molokai fronting Kepuhi Beach at Kaluakoi Hotel, across the volatile and famous Ka`iwi (Molokai) Channel.  The 32-mile race finishes at Hawaii Kai Towne Center on the marina side of the stage.  The event starts at 11 a.m. on Molokai, with the first winners crossing the finish line on Oahu at approximately 2:30 p.m., depending upon race conditions. 

This annual event will mark the 35th crossing from Molokai to Oahu and is a fundraiser; a portion of the entry fees raised donated to Hawaii Canoe and Kayak Team, a locally-based nonprofit organization.  Race Director, Shelley Oates-Wilding said, “We are excited to be involved at a great time for all paddle sports.  HCKT Hawaii Canoe and Kayak Team are working to grow and bring all the paddling communities together as this race attracts competitors from all over the world, as well as our islands fittest and strongest ocean paddlers.” 

Race entry fees are $325 per participant, and $425 for late entries after May 10.  Entry fees include surfski shipping to Molokai, race jersey, and the awards ceremony celebration.  Worldwide popularity of the surfski sport continues to grow and the event is receiving a positive response from participating athletes with an expected 60-plus paddlers, many of whom are from Australia, Japan, Canada, across the U.S., and Hawaii.  

The world-record time is 3:21:26, held by Dean Gardiner in 1997.  The top contenders this year include the 2010 first place winner (3:23:02) Clint Robinson (Olympic Gold, Silver, and Bronze medalist), Dean Gardiner (nine time world champion), Tim Jacobs, Jeremy Cotter, and Martin Kenny.  There are also female entrants, including Hawaii’s 2010 first place winner Lauren Spalding Bartlett, and Maggie Twigg-Smith. 

The Outrigger Duke Kahanumoku Molokai World Championships 2011 will use only surf skis and each paddler is required to have an escort boat, unless the paddler has been recognized as an Elite Paddler.  The exciting approach to Oahu can be watched by land spectators from Sandy Beach, Blow Hole lookout, Portlock Point, Maunalua Bay marina entrance, and Hawaii Kai Towne Center’s dock area.  The awards ceremony will take place at 4 p.m. at the stage area, with a festive presentation of trophies and entertainment.

For further information, please visit www.molokaiworldchampionships.org/, or you may contact race director Shelley Oates-Wilding at (808) 388-3207.  For media inquiries, contact Angie Giancaterino at (808) 351-0173.

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