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The mystique of the Molokai channel has lured paddlers from all over the world since the early 1960’s. This channel remains one of the roughest bodies of water challenged by man and canoe. Hence this event determines who the king and queen of the OC1 paddling world are.

The most claimed wins since the 1993 inaugural race comes from the women’s side. Maui native Lauren Spalding with 11 wins in 13 attempts since 2002 and retains the current World Champion title in 2016. Seemingly untouchable, Spalding’s 10 year win was finally broken in 2014 when Australia’s Coral Darbshire paddled to a convincing win, finishing eight minutes in front of Lauren.  Darbshire than returned in 2015 and held her world title while Spalding chose to focus on mothering duties after just having her 3rd child.

On the men’s side, Karel Jr Tresnak holds an unmatched record of 7 wins and has been unchallenged in the surf during his reign.  Kai Bartlett has five wins and has proven his dominance in the flattest most grueling channels, including the longest one in 2006 finishing in Waikiki.  In 2012 Jimmy Austin became the only paddler to cross the finish line in front of Karel in surfing conditions, edging him by a mere 31 seconds and setting the new world record time of 3:31:54.  The 2010 and 2013 World titles were claimed by California’s Danny Ching, who was the first non-Hawaii-native to win it and do so in both flat and surfing conditions.

But in 2014, the Tahitian men finally made their arrival claiming 4 out of the 5 top spots and also gaining the World Championship.  Steeve Teihotaata and Rete Ebb, team mates for EDT who also won Molokai Hoe in 2015, placed first and third crowning Steeve the new solo World Champ.  After proving their paddling ability in 2014’s flat conditions, Teihotaata returned for 2015 finishing 3 minutes ahead of 2nd place Danny Ching and proved that Tahiti still led Outrigger racing even when challenged by paddling on not so familiar OC1 crafts.

In 2016, titles would change hands yet again.  Lauren Spalding somehow found the time between child bearing and rearing to return to her outrigger paddling world and claim her 11th title reminding everyone why she is the most winning paddler in solo history.  Coral Darbishire, the only woman to dethrone Spalding, had to opt out for the season after ongoing injuries kept her from defending her 2015 world title.  The only question now will be if she will return to challenge Spalding in another solo battle.

And finally on the men’s side, what was maybe the strongest showing since the Tahitian storm has taken over the world of paddling, a heroic effort and astounding victory by Travis Grant, 2016 Molokai World Champion. After finishing well out of contention in 2014 (17th) and 2015 (7th), the Aussie, now residing in Hawaii, is the only paddler to take down Tahiti’s best.  Grant slogged across 32 miles of unfavorable molokai channel conditions staying with Tahitians Kevin Jerusalemy and Ami Damas, both of the Molokai Hoe dominant team Shell Va’a.  Of course there was racing controversy, as no good race goes without.  Runner-up Kevin crossed the finish line first, just 50 seconds ahead of Grant but was assessed a 2 minute penalty for riding his own escort boat wake.  While there may be debate, Grant owned his race and paddled his heart out to achieve his  World Champion title, proving that the Tahitians were in fact human and beatable.

1989 Kevin Olds  Unofficial
1993 Pat Erwin 4:29
1994 Pat Erwin 4:23
1995 Steve Cole 4:37
1996 Mark Rigg 4:17 Sonia Lambert 5:30
1997 Mark Rigg 4:14 Donna Kahakui 5:16
1998 Mark Rigg 4:06 Cheryl Villegas 5:21
1999 Karel Tresnak 4:17 Donna Kahakui 5:11
2000 Karel Tresnak 3:49 Kelly Fey 4:52
2001 Karel Tresnak 3:52 Kelly Fey 4:43
2002 Kai Bartlett 3:42 Lauren Spalding 4:28
2003 Karel Tresnak 3:51 Lauren Spalding 4:30
2004 Karel Tresnak 4:11 Lauren Spalding 5:00
2005 Kai Bartlett 3:52 Lisa Curry-Kenny (AU) 4:46
2006 Karel Tresnak 3:42 Dane Ward 4:49
2007 Kai Bartlett 6:07 Lauren Bartlett 6:54
2008 Karel Tresnak 3:38:03 Lauren Bartlett 4:20:47
2009 Kai Bartlett 5:12:22 Lauren Bartlett 6:03:47
2010 Danny Ching (CA) 3:38:51 Lauren Bartlett 4:13:43
2011 Kai Bartlett 4:15:35 Lauren Bartlett 4:43:57
2012 Jimmy Austin 3:31:54 (record) Lauren Bartlett 4:01:31 (record)
2013 Danny Ching (CA) 4:58:03 Lauren Bartlett 4:30:06
2014 Steeve Teihotaata (TAH) 4:33:13 Coral Darbshire (AU) 4:58:01
2015 Steeve Teihotaata (TAH) 3:56:09 Coral Darbshire (AU) 4:36:27
2016 Travis Grant 4:10:22 Lauren Spalding    4:36:35
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