After winning his 10th straight Molokai-2-Oahu Paddleboard World Championship race in 2011, Jamie Mitchell of Australia announced that it would be his last competitive crossing of the Kaiwi Channel.
But even without Mitchell at the starting line Sunday morning in Kaluakoi, Australian paddlers continued to dominate the “Super Bowl” of paddleboard racing. In the largest field ever for the race, Brad Gaul, 33, of Warriewood, Australia, battled it out to win in a time of 4 hours, 43 minutes, 54 seconds. It was Gaul’s third time entering the race.
Placing second in the unlimited prone division was Jackson English of Singapore (4:59:57). Oahu’s Brian Rocheleau (5:01:49) was third.
For the 16th annual Molokai-2-Oahu Paddleboard World Championship, conditions for the 32-mile crossing were fast and big. Race officials reported winds of 25-30 knots and wave faces up to eight feet in height.
While Mitchell ended his winning streak last year, Connor Baxter, 17, of Maui, began his. Baxter repeated as Stand-up Paddle champion in a time of 4:13:26, smashing his own record from last year of 4:26:10. Baxter, reportedly, had just recently recovered from a bought of pneumonia. It was only a month earlier that Baxter had repeated as champion in the 2012 Triple Crown of SUP.
Jordan Mercer of Australia successfully defended her title in the female unlimited prone division, finishing in 5:34:53.
Talia Gangini, 19, won the Top Overall Solo Unlimited division in SUP, overtaking last year’s winner, 32 year-old Andrea Moller, beating Andrea’s course record by 30 minutes with a finish time of 4:55:02.