Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Channel - Molokai 2 Oahu Paddle 2010

Ka’iwi Channel – translation: the channel of bones, aka: Molokai Channel.
The Ka’iwi, or Molokai, Channel has a centuries old reputation for being a treacherous body of water that has claimed the lives of many, from ancient canoe fleets, to fisherman and watermen.

The tragic loss of Hawaiian big-wave rider and renaissance man Eddie Aikau in the Molokai Channel during the 1978 Polynesian voyage of the Hokule’a sailing canoe, only added to the mystique and revered power of the channel. After gail-force winds and 30-foot swells disabled the Hokule’a, Aikau headed off on his rescue paddleboard for land to seek help for his stranded crew mates. His body and his board were never found.

Paddling has been a part of Hawaiian heritage since early Polynesians traversed over 2,500 miles of open ocean, navigating by way of waves, wind and stars. Double-hulled sailing canoes covered the long distances, single hull outrigger canoes covered shorter distances (such as inter-island paddles), and with the introduction of surfing in the late 18th century, paddleboarding also became a means of local ocean transport.

Today there are official races for outrigger canoe, surf skis, Stand Up Paddle boarders and paddleboards. Each take place across the Molokai Channel and each of these races are regarded world-wide as the crowning challenge for each sport.

The Challenge: 32 Miles of Open Ocean

  • Regarded as the world championship of paddleboard racing.
  • Traverses 32 miles of rough water from the North Shore of Molokai, to the South Shore of Oahu.
  • Covers a depth of 2,300 feet and is subject to open-ocean swells of up to 30 feet.
  • Considered one of the roughest ocean channels in the world.
  • Ultimate test of endurance – no engines or sails, just a paddler and the propulsion power of his arms.
  • Wildy varying open-ocean conditions challenge a paddler’s surfing skills.
  • Top paddlers can ride swells for 100s of yards.
  • Capricious currents and tidal effects test a paddler’s ocean navigation skills.
  • Record crossing time: 4:45:03, set by Jamie Mitchell in 2004.

No comments: