However you answer the conundrum, is Red Bull a Hawaiian crew, EDT North, or a Tahwaiian crew, what they did this Sunday during the 2017 Molokai Hoe is worthy of all paddlers' praise. They beat Shell Va'a in the Kaiwi Channel and that is a remarkable thing to do. So dominant has been Shell's reign that only Tahitian rival EDT, race winner in 2014, has been able to blemish a 10 race win streak dating backing to 2006.
The blending of a corporate caffeine giant, some really talented Big Island paddlers, and a PED like injection of super star Tahitian paddlers, has many Hawaii paddling fans putting an asterisk next to the Hawaiian origin registration of Red Bull. All team members have Kai O'pua Canoe Club, Big Island, as their registered club. However, where they get their mail delivered and vote, are in different countries.
The gathering of top athletes to fuel super teams is nothing new to America sports. Current NBA Champions, the Golden State Warriors, followed a template laid down by basketball's most dominate player Lebron James, when he blended the roles of General Manager and Small Forward and moved to Miami. Athletic careers are short and opportunities to grab the gold ring scarce. Can we blame the elite for wanting to team up with their equals?
Equally notable was the effort of 3rd place Lanikai Canoe Club. All members of the Eastside crew have Oahu zip codes. Eight minutes off the lead pace, Lanikai decreased the gap between Tahitian participant crews and the first Hawaii club, by shaving off a significant twelve minutes. In 2016 Team Primo, finished 4th and was the first all Hawaiian crew, twenty minutes behind winner Shell Va'a.
One race does not provided adequate data to christen a new era in Molokai Hoe racing. But I hope we can all agree, if only for one day, that competition for Kings' of the Kaiwi Channel returned.
P.S. Mahalo Lanikai for testing a set of our new prototype Paea in your race. Though we did not cross the Channel with you in body, all at Kialoa are grateful we could share this moment through our paddles - Together On The Water.
More 2017 Molokai Hoe:
To view full race results click here.
To watch Ocean Paddler TV race footage click here.
To see Honolulu Star Advertiser photos click here.
Comments will be approved before showing up.