What an epic Ka’iwi crossing for this year’s Moloka’i To Oahu World Championships! The winds and swell were cranking and record times were broken in more than 1 category. I finished in 3 hours and 7 minutes from the west end of Moloka’i to Hawai’i Kai, O’ahu!
Prepping for the race I rigged my Starboard 5’0 Hyper Foil with a Starboard Hydrofoil Ocean Surf 1500 and a lightweight carbon 75cm mast. The race was looking to be epic. The start and finish were going to be tough as we started in the flats and finished upwind into the flats.
My race started off on a great note, getting up off the water and quickly moving to a flat water fly, pumping towards the wind line. Shortly into the race, I realized the bumps were moving fast and I started hitting some of the highest speeds I’ve had on a downwind foil run. I felt in rhythm and in the right place to finish well under 3 hours until… That was until I had a big crash!
Flying at about 20mph+ and falling from ~8ft to splat flat really was the biggest mistake I made throughout the race. That one fall. It cost me a lot of time and energy. I also twisted my shoulder and lost the remaining water in my water pack on impact. It took me a good 5-10 minutes to get back off the water and flying again. Once I was up I knew I had lost a lot of ground, so I did my best to stay focused and make up for that distance.
Coming into the finishing miles of the race around Portlock and into Hawaii Kai, the conditions started to get tricky and my body was starting to give out. But I knew that in this portion of the race it was more important than ever to keep moving at foiling speeds. I kept pumping until my back calf locked up.
I knew that I could get another last ride in on a wave along China wall into that strong head wind and long, flat paddle into the finish. Sure enough, my last ride in was a solid A-Frame that was plowing towards the sea cliff. I felt I was going to be pushed into the wall but held the steep foamy drop and pointed towards the channel – but not soon enough, I hit the near dry reef.
From here on it was a really tough grind into the finish on the flat water and against the wind. Ahead, I saw another competitor just out in front of me and I continued to sprint in till we were side-by-side and having a paddle battle. It was Bernd Roediger and we had to sprint all the way to the finish.
Bernd ended up having the edge on me by just by a few seconds. In the end, it was a smoking run and I was stoked to learn so much through my first Ka’iwi Channel Crossing on the Hydrofoil from Moloka’i to Oahu!