Cape Town - This weekend sees multiple world champion Hank McGregor defend his Molokai Challenge title against the best surfski paddlers in the world.
Originally named Kanaka Ikaika, the Molokai Challenge is a true test of paddling skill, endurance and knowledge of ocean surfing. It tests a paddler’s ability to manoeuvre against unpredictable weather conditions in the Kaiwi Channel.
The Kaiwi Channel, more often called the “Molokai Channel” is an expanse of ocean between the island of Molokai and Oahu. It is considered one of the roughest ocean channels in the world when the ocean is angry.
The start is off the west end of Molokai near Kaluakoi, and finishes 51km away in the Marina off Hawaii Kai.
‘The Molokai’, the former World Championships of Open Ocean Surfski, is one of the toughest races on the surfski calendar, and the 2016 race was no exception.
With flat conditions and a very strong race contingent, the 2016 race was brutally tough up front with Clint Robinson, Jasper Mocke, Sean Rice, Hank McGregor and Cory Hill all trading places throughout the crossing.
In the end, it was McGregor who crossed the line in first place, paddling past a very frustrated Cory Hill who, with only 2km left to the finish, had gone too close to the infamous China Wall reefs, consequently smashing his rudder.
The defending champion had to relinquish his lead, giving McGregor a third Molokai win.
Sean Rice and Jasper Mocke, who are both still searching for that elusive Molokai victory, capitalised on a step up the podium, while three-time former winner Clint Robinson finished in fourth place.