Three crews from Tahiti came over to race the Molokai Hoe and all three, Shell Va’a, EDT Va’a and Shell Va’a 2, took top honors. It seems like once again the rest of the paddling world could only watch the Tahitians from behind. Shell Va’a took first in 4:49:17. EDT Va’a, 4:56:29, and Shell Va’a 2, 5:05:00. As the times showed conditions on the Kaiwi Channel weren’t the best, yet first place Shell Va’a finished 20 minutes ahead of the first crew from Hawaii, team Primo, 5:09:29. Team Primo is made up of all-star paddlers from Hawaii, is based on Maui, and holds the fastest time for a crew from Hawaii of 4:42:59 set in 2011.
Paddling into 5th place was Team Red Bull from Kailua-Kona, 5:12:07. Last year they paddled under the name Na Koa O Kona, the year before that, Mellow Johnny, and before that Livestrong. They were the first crew from Hawaii last year.
Taking 6th overall was Hui Nalu, 5:14:46, who had a good showing this year winning the Duke Kahanamoku Race. Their coach Mario Mausio has been teaching a more Tahitian-style stroke this year, which he explains is an explosive pull up front, aiming to lift the canoe out of the water and less trying to pull hard throughout the whole stroke — more relaxed.
Taking the 7th place position was the last crew from Hawaii to win a ‘Molokai’ in 2005, Lanikai Canoe Club. In 2014, they were the top crew from Hawaii to finish. This year’s time was 5:21:27.
The first international crew outside Tahiti was a crew mostly made up of New Zealand paddlers, Nga Hoe Horo-Herberts with a time of 5:23:46.
Outrigger-Manu Ula finished 9th, 5:28:31, and rounding out the Top Ten was Puna Canoe Club from the Big Island of Hawaii.
Pacifica from Australia was ‘in the house’ placing 13th, 5:34:24 and another crew of Australian masters 40+, Cronulla Outrigger, won their division.
Brazil’s Team Samu, dropped from 10th place last year to 17th this year, 5:36:45. Other international crews taking on the Kaiwi Channel was Hong Kong, Vrc Hong Kong 40s, 6:02:18, Shonan of Japan 60th with 6:29:12, Jerricho Paddling Club 60+ of Canada in 6:34:40.
The winners of the 55+ was Hawaiian Canoe Club, 33rd overall with 6:00:18, The 60+ Division went to California Gold with 6:22:45, 53rd overall and the 65+ was won by Anuenue, 7:24:58.
Aside from California, there were two other teams from the Mainland, Outrigger Chicago of Illinois, 72nd in 6:42:07 and Na Leo O Ke Kai of Arizona, 7:15:03.
Amongst the men were a few junior crews. Hui Nalu Juniors finished in the middle, 47 out of 94 crews, in their time of 6:15:55.
Complete results and more about the race are at OHCRA’s website, www.molokaihoe.com/.
Arizona races Molokai Hoe
On October 9, Na Leo ‘O Ke Kai became the first club from Arizona to race the Molokai Hoe. Coaches Randy Ducosin and Vince San Nicholas were fueled by the inspiring stories told by the few Arizona paddlers who had crossed with other clubs.
It was a tall order for a small club in the desert. The first hurdle, no local water to train on. Tempe Town Lake, 3.8 miles in circumference, was drained by the City of Tempe to reconstruct the dam. Fortunately, Coach Rich and Andrea Gorrill lived on a smaller, man-made residential lake a few miles away. With support from their community, it became our new training site. The weekday trainings were supplemented with paddling weekends on Saguaro Lake and Lake Pleasant, which offered us long distance training only 45 minutes away.
Once the Southern California Outrigger Racing Association season got underway, we took to the road racing Iron and 9-man crews on Saturdays. We also trained with Newport Outrigger Club on Sundays, before our six-hour return drive to Arizona. Through it all, including summer temperatures over 100 degrees, we kept our mana strong supporting each other with an “I’ve got your back” mantra.
We will always remember hearing our names called out at the finish line and the announcer marveling at how a team from Arizona could do this race. Our crew: Randy Ducosin, Rich Gorrill, Vince San Nicholas, Art Keanini, Steve Harris, Eric Tang, Jonathan Roko, Greg Coffin, Cole Pavao, along with Kahea Mendes, Carol Ducosin, Joe Momoa and Scotty Cataraha, feel fortunate for this incredible experience. The Molokai Hoe crossing will shape how we view all the challenges in our lives. The journey has been incredible and will always keep us close no matter where life takes us.
This experience wouldn’t have been possible without tremendous support from many people, including first and foremost – our Na Leo ‘O Ke Kai Ohana, Newport Outrigger Club, and Na Keiki ‘O Ka Mo’i (from Wai’anae, O’ahu). Also, our steersman, Cole Pavao; Uncle Jules Dudoit, who captained the escort boat; Uncle Adolf Helm, who supplied our canoe; Tony Moreno, who looked after us on Molokai; Alicia Lin Kee, who knows everyone on Molokai and made whatever we needed happen; Carol Ducosin, who worked tirelessly behind the scenes and raised more than $1,500 for the crew and Gary Graebe, who helped us partner with our sponsors Psychojock.com, RiverboundSports.com, AthletesBrand.com and Eascor.net.