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Chalupsky struggles at Molokai

2013-05-20 09:39
Oscar Chalupsky (Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media)

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Cape Town - Oscar Chalupsky's bid to claim the iconic Molokai Challenge surfski ultra marathon title in the year that the turned 50 ended with a ninth-place finish in desperately tough windless conditions in Hawaii, with South African champion Sean Rice coming within a whisker of winning the race on debut.

Rice led with less than 2km to go in the brutal 52km crossing of the Kaiwi Channel, also known as the Channel of Bones, but was beaten to the finish at the Hawaii Kai Town Centre by Australian Olympic gold medallist Clint Robinson, who took the laurels in just less than four hours.

"Congratulations to Clint (Robinson) for the win today," said Chalupsky.

"It was very tough for me today, but the ninth was all I could expect in the headwind conditions."

"I started really well but as the headwind wore on the younger guys started to come through - you can see that in the results. I was probably the toughest Molokai I have done. My average speed was 11.5km/h, when we usually average around 16km/h on a typical Molokai."

Chalupsky lead a bunch of contenders including Robinson and Rice on a northerly line from the start, staying on the rum line, while Martin Kenny spearheaded a group that went slightly further south.

Racing on flat seas in extreme heat and just a very slight northerly wind from the side, the race turned into a relentless grind with no downwind runs available to the paddlers.

Robinson gradually took the race by the scruff of the neck, sticking close to the rum line, and an hour and a half into the race the field had strung out with Robinson leading Sam Norton, Sean Rice, Dane Sloss and Chalupsky in fifth.

As they approached Portlock Point, The race had become a two-horse affair, with Rice taking the lead over Robison, the duo well clear of the rest of the contenders.

By the time the leaders approached the legendary China Wall, where the surf was breaking in a ten foot wall on the inside line close to the cliffs, Robinson was back in front, and caught a wave into the finish at Pillars and the town centre.

"Conditions were really tough, but the wind from the right cooled things down a bit," said Robinson.

"It was a long haul!"

Local star Pat Dolan had clung tenaciously to third but got caught by the massive surf at China Wall and was dumped, smashing his ski into three pieces.

Australian Miranda Davis won the women's race, with a 25th place finish overall.

The race has committed to holding the event in a four-day window period in the future to take advantage of optimal downwind racing conditions.

"It is an international event, there are a handful of local Hawaiians and everyone else has flown in, so holding it over a window period is the way to go," said Chalupsky.


1. Clint Robinson (Aus) 3:55:24
2. Sean Rice (RSA) 4:00:43
3. Cory Hill (Aus) 4:06:04
4. Sam Norton (Aus) 4:12:43
5. Craig Flanagan (RSA) 4:21:07
6. Martin Kenny (Aus) 4:21:19
7. Mike Walker (NZL) 4:21:44
8. Dane Sloss (Aus) 4:26:50
9. Oscar Chalupsky (RSA) 4:28:24
10. Michael Beyer (Haw) 4:28:27
11. Zsolt Szadovszki (Hun) 4:28:41
12. Grant Kenny (Aus) 4:29:27
13. Simon Longdill (NZL) 4:30:02
14. Matt O'Garey (Aus) 4:31:08
15. Jeff Le Marseney (Aus) 4:32:50

Read more on:    surfing

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