Just as they do each year at the Molokai Hoe, the Tahitians dominated the Maui Jim Kaiwi Solo OC-1 Molokai World Championship, the premier open ocean boat race for single canoes held Sunday.
Paddlers from Tahiti captured four of the top five spots in the open division. Steeve Teihotaata won the race across the Kaiwi Channel in 4 hours, 33 minutes, 13 seconds in moderate conditions. Teihotaata also won the race in 2012.
Now in its seventh year, the single canoe world championship starts at Kaluakoi on Molokai’s West End and finishes 32.9 miles later in Hawaii Kai on Oahu. This year 103 paddlers started the race with 98 finishing.
Danny Ching of California, the defending champion, was the highest finishing paddler from the U.S., placing second less than a minute behind Teihotaata in a time of 4:33:54. The other top finishers from Tahiti were Rete Ebb, 4:34:35 (third); Manutea Owen, 4:36:03 (fourth) and Heiva Paiea-Ami, 4:37:59 (fifth).
The top finishing Hawaiians were Manny Kulukulualani, 4:38:04 (sixth) and Kai Bartlett, 4:38:46 (seventh).