Heading into Molokai this year I was prepared for the worst.. three years I have now completed the crossing from molokai to Oahu, 53kms and every year it has been flat and hot. You would hear stories of the crossing having raging down winds, huge swells and a bloody good time, I was just yet to experience this and little did I know it would be this year! I had had an awesome lead up to this years race. I had a months training in Durban, South Africa with my Coach Lee McGregor then came back to NZ and carried on that training with a few races including the NZ King & Queen of the Harbour. I knew I had done all the work I could do along with juggling full time shift work as a Police Officer I had to plan and motivate myself daily to get the job done.
This year we decided to fly across to Hawaii slightly later, I wanted as much time to chill out in NZ and to not be over in Hawaii using up energy where it wasn’t needed. So myself, Sam, Family and a couple of other NZ paddlers we departing NZ on Wednesday night, well that’s what we thought we were doing anyway after about 7 hours waiting at the airport our flight was cancelled due to “engine troubles” and were told our flight was rescheduled a day later. Devistating as this would mean we would miss the big Shaw & Partners Announcement Dinner in Hawaii and we would have loved to have been there! After a stop home early hours of the morning, a relaxing paddle and we were back at the airport less than 12 hours later finally on our way!
Upon arriving in Hawaii early Thursday morning we just tried to relax. That afternoon we went for a famous ‘Hawaii Kai’ downwind which is approx 15kms finishing at the Outrigger club and it was probably one of the best downwind’s i’ve ever had! All the paddlers were coming in with huge grins on their faces and i’m sure it was one of their best too. the next couple of days we tried to chill out as much as possible and keep off our feet which I find is the hardest thing to do!
Before I knew it it was 4:45am race (sunday) morning and we were off to catch our charter flight to Molokai for the race! A short time later we landed on Molokai and were in our shuttle to the race start! The women were in the 2nd start (along with the OC’s) with the men starting 30 minutes behind us. The shore break at Kepuhi Beach wasn’t too bad this year so I got on the water with about 20 minutes prior to the start and had a good warm up.
A short time later the gun went, the women were off! I had a race plan and wanted to stick to it. the race doesn’t start until the 2hr mark, up to that point my goal was to keep relaxed but work the runs. I had a great start within 2kms of the start we were into the runners that just got better and better. I was having the time of my life!!!! Jordan Mercer and I were playing games of snakes & ladders throughout the first couple of hours, she’d go left, i’d go right one of us would take the lead the other would then come up the other side. We weren’t super close to each other as in side by side but definitely on the same pace. Throughout the entire race it remained like this and Hayley Nixon was about 200m behind us. Every kilometre I would remind myself, keep relaxed, DRINK and enjoy. My escort Noah and Sam did an awesome job keeping me on the right line and making sure I wasn’t going too far south on the runs. We got to about 4kms from the finish and it was game on, Jordan was close to the wall I was about 50m away left of her and Hayley was about 200m left of me, all next & neck. After nearly 50kms and this is what it comes down to?! Three girls fighting it out for that number one podium spot. I felt great, the best I ever have at this point it the race, I was bobbing up and down quite a bit, and felt like I wasn’t moving, at this point Jordan had falling behind and Hayley had gone very wide but moved about 80m ahead of me. I thought to myself that the only way I can win this now is to take a wave at China Walls. I headed in close but unfortunately not even a ripple came along! I made my way to the finish over e final 2kms and was so happy to cross the line in 2nd place. It was by far the best Molokai I have ever done with some amazing times from the men and women and creating my new pb from 4hrs 34mins which is now 3hrs 53min!!!!! ! The top 3 women went under the course record and finishing 1 minute behind Hayley was rather bitter sweet!!
A huge congratulations to everyone who completed the crossing! It sure is an achievement in itself to complete it! Thank you to Noah – you are the best escort out there! Sam you know you are amazing! My Family thank you for supporting!! Coach Lee, I know you were there on your laptop watching every second! And to my incredible sponsors: Shaw & Partners Race Team, Epic Kayaks, Vaikobi, Bennett Paddles, Maui Jim, Pita pit NZ, AUT Millennium & Orewa Massage Worx for your belief and support – THANKYOU!!!