This weekend the Kaiwi Channel Solo Race will be held. The ultimate solo race of the season will be greeted with great anticipation. As always, the conditions are constantly changing and continue to be one of the biggest factors in the results. There is a lot of history behind this race and many have dominated on both the men's and the women's side. Who will it be this year? The excitement is gaining momentum and the racers are gearing up for their biggest race of the year. Good luck to everyone taking on the challenge of this year's channel race.
2018 Kaiwi Solo – Molokai OC1 World Championship
The mystique of the Molokai channel has lured paddlers from all over the world since the early 1960’s. This channel remains one of the roughest bodies of water challenged by man and canoe. Hence this event determines who the king and queen of the OC1 paddling world are.
The most claimed wins since the 1993 inaugural race comes from the women’s side. Maui native Lauren Spalding with 11 wins in 13 attempts since 2002 and retains the current World Champion title in 2016. Seemingly untouchable, Spalding’s 10 year win was finally broken in 2014 when Australia’s Coral Darbshire paddled to a convincing win, finishing eight minutes in front of Lauren. Darbshire than returned in 2015 and held her world title while Spalding chose to focus on mothering duties after just having her 3rd child.
On the men’s side, Karel Jr Tresnak holds an unmatched record of 7 wins and has been unchallenged in the surf during his reign. Kai Bartlett has five wins and has proven his dominance in the flattest most grueling channels, including the longest one in 2006 finishing in Waikiki. In 2012 Jimmy Austin became the only paddler to cross the finish line in front of Karel in surfing conditions, edging him by a mere 31 seconds and setting the new world record time of 3:31:54. The 2010 and 2013 World titles were claimed by California’s Danny Ching, who was the first non-Hawaii-native to win it and do so in both flat and surfing conditions.
But in 2014, the Tahitian men finally made their arrival claiming 4 out of the 5 top spots and also gaining the World Championship. Steeve Teihotaata and Rete Ebb, team mates for EDT who also won Molokai Hoe in 2015, placed first and third crowning Steeve the new solo World Champ. After proving their paddling ability in 2014’s flat conditions, Teihotaata returned for 2015 finishing 3 minutes ahead of 2nd place Danny Ching and proved that Tahiti still led Outrigger racing even when challenged by paddling on not so familiar OC1 crafts.
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