Aussies take four of top five spots
For the second year in a row, Australian Clint Robinson finished first in the Molokai World Championships, widely recognized as the world championship of surf ski paddling.
Surf skis are the skinny one-man kayaks designed to cut through the open ocean swells of the Ka’iwi Channel at top speed. At 38 years old, Robinson finished in 3 hours, 31 minutes, 58 seconds, well ahead of second place finisher Thomas Schilperoo of South Africa who had a time of 3:42.20.
Elite racers left Kepuhi Beach at around 11 a.m. Sunday in the Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation Molokai World Championships. The 32-mile course finished in Koko Marina Towne Center on Oahu.
Robinson is a world-class kayaker who has won gold, silver and bronze medals in the Olympic Games. Although nine-time world champion Dean Gardner was expected to provide competition, he dropped out of the race in midcourse. Without perfect conditions, Robinson had no hope of beating Gardner’s world record time of 3:21:26 set in 1997, nor his own winning time from last year of 3:23.02.
Finishing third was another Australian, Martin Kenny, in a time of 3:43.59. Aussies rounded out the top five with Brad Stokes and Paul Green placing fourth and fifth respectively.
It was an all-Hawaii top three finish in the women’s division. Lauren Bartlett of Maui repeated as female champion with a time of 4:23.53. Nicole Pedersen placed second in 4:23:53 and Maggie Twigg-Smit was third in 4:44:41.