16 May 2014
Twelve-time champion Oscar Chalupsky and world marathon champion Hank McGregor will spearhead a strong South African challenge at the annual Maui Jim Molokai Challenge & Surfski World Championship in Hawaii on Sunday.
Also on the starting line is Cape ace Jasper Mocke, the winner of the Perth Doctor and the Defis Kayak race in Guadeloupe earlier this year, alongside Australian Molokai stalwarts Clint Robinson, Jeremy Cotter, Grant and Martin Kenny, and Corey Hill, Hungary’s Zsolt Szadovszki, Tahitian Hiromana Flores, and local icon Lewis Laughlan.
McGregor left South Africa after a comprehensive victory in the series opener against a strong field in the Bay Union Surfski Series in his hometown of Durban at the beginning of the month, and is eager to add a second Molokai title to his win in 2009.
The race conditions of the 52 kilometre race are heavily dictated by the winds and currents in the Kaiwi channel between the two Hawaiian islands of Molokai and Oahu. Predicted weather forecasts point to a repeat of last year, with tough conditions for the crossing, including either very little wind and swell, or even worse, a headwind.
“The winds have been blowing this week,” said 2012 winner Oscar Chalupsky. “However, on race day it looks like it will be flat, not a breath.”
Chalupsky will be looking to erase the disappointing memory of his concerted effort to win a 13th title as a 50-year-old last year, when weather deserted the region leaving the ocean between the islands, which swung the advantage towards the younger racers and away from the older more experienced tacticians, who use big ocean runs to be competitive.
Impressive race record
Chalupsky first won the event in 1983 as a 20-year-old, the first of seven consecutive victories, before going to win the crown in a variety of conditions in his thirties and forties.
It has been a solid month for South African surfskiers competing abroad, after Sean Rice won the Eurochallenge in La Villa Joyosa in Spain from fellow Capetonians Jasper and Dawid Mocke, with Rice’s younger brother Kenny finishing in fourth to complete a South African domination of the event.
World Surfski Series leader
Jasper Mocke comfortably heads the World Surfski Series standings, after winning all three races on the calendar thus far, the Mandurah Duel in Perth, the Perth Doctor and the Defis Kayak.
Sunday’s race will be the 38th running of the fabled channel crossing between Molokai and Oahu, hosted this year by the Kanaka Ikaika Racing Association.