22 May 2012
South Africa’s Oscar Chalupsky underlined his greatness in the Molokai World Championships surfski race in Hawaii on Sunday when he raced to his 12th victory in the event at the age of 49.
Chalupsky had last won the race in 2005 and some had written him off, but he used the 53-kilometre race for motivation to get back into shape and boy did that work!
In the early going, Chalupsky and fellow South African Matt Bouman followed the double paddled by Greg Barton and Zsolt Szadovski, but they had to let the pair go when the pace became too hard to maintain.
Two hours from the finish
Two hours from the finish, nearing halfway in the race, Chalupsky, in fifth, hunted down Australia’s Martin Kenny and followed that up by reeling in and passing another Australian, Bruce Taylor.
When the South African star saw nine-time champion Dean Gardiner ahead of him, he lifted his paddle tempo to take him past the Australian great.
That left Chalupsky needing to pass defending champion Clint Robinson, 10 years his junior, and the winner of the K1 1 000 metres’ gold medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games.
Robinson wasn’t in sight, but that was, in fact, good news for Chalupsky. The Aussie star was struggling with cramps, which had forced him to take a line further south where the conditions were less demanding and easier on his cramping body.
With 20 minutes remaining to the finish, Chalupsky hit the front. As the finishing line neared, Robinson closed on the South African, but couldn’t make up the distance before the big man powered his way over the finish despite feeling, as he put it to Surfski.info: “stuffed”.
The website also reported that Chalupsky’s brother, Herman, the 2004 winner of the Molokai World Championships, is facing a dilemma. It reported: “A few days back, in conversation with Joe Glickman, he declared: ‘If Oscar wins, I’ll eat my under-rods. But which ones to choose?”
Barton and Svadovski recorded the fastest overall time of 3:21:32, with Chalupsky the leading single in 3:24:07. Robinson finished 19 seconds behind the South African in 3:24:26, followed by the first local, Patrick Dolan, in 3:25:42.
Matt Bouman had to settle for eighth place in a time of 3:29:04.
Chalupsky first won the Molokai World Championships almost three decades ago in 1983! He went on to record seven victories in succession, up to 1989.
In 1995, he teamed up with his brother Herman to take line honours. Eight years later, he again won the singles title. Herman captured victory the following year, in 2004, and Oscar followed that up with another win in 2005.
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