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Sunday, July 24, 2005



PADDLEBOARDING


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CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COM
After a year off, Hayley Bateup came back and won the women's division yesterday.



Mitchell perfect
in Hennessey’s

Even with all the heat -- from the competition and the weather -- Jamie Mitchell is enjoying a victorious summer.

Mitchell, a 28-year-old lifeguard from Queensland, Australia, racked up his fourth straight win at the Hennessey's International Paddleboard Championships at Kaimana Beach in Waikiki yesterday. With both the winds and current moving in his favor, Mitchell completed the 8-mile, open-ocean course from Hawaii Kai in 1 hour, 11 minutes and 28 seconds.

Mitchell has won all four Hennessey races, the first held in Australia and the past two on Oahu's North Shore.

"The wind slowly got better and better as you went along," said Mitchell, who in the past two weeks has won the Independence Day Race on the North Shore, the 17-mile Cline Mann Memorial from Makapuu to Waikiki, and the U.S. Championship in California. "There were some nice rides out there."

Paddleboards are streamlined surfboards between 12 and 16 feet.

Mitchell got off to a slow start yesterday and took some time before he got ahead of the pack.

"I had a really bad start and I was behind," Mitchell said. "The bumps started to line up a little bit and it took me about five minutes to get to the front. I didn't look back -- and just gradually pulled away."

Ryan Addison of California finished second with a time of 1:13:49, followed by Aussie Mick Dibetta in 1:14:12 and Honolulu's Brian Rocheleau, who finished one second after Dibetta. Leaving the Australian winter behind, Mitchell has been training in Hawaii for about a month to get adjusted to the summer heat.

"You always come over to try to acclimatize to the heat," Mitchell said. "That's the biggest factor for us, coming over from winter to summer. The heat over here is really a big factor when you do longer races."



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CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COM
Jamie Mitchell hugged Izzy Walker yesterday after the Hennessey's International Paddleboarding Championships.



After a one-year absence, Hayley Bateup won the women's title as she did in 2003, finishing in 1:25:48. Honolulu's Kanesa Duncan, last year's women's winner, finished second at 1:28:56.

"I like to go flat out basically because you never know where anybody is," said Bateup, who missed last year's race while competing in Italy. "I tried to look around to see where Kanesa was, but I had no idea."

Local surfer Bonga Perkins won the inaugural stand-up paddleboard division. Competitors had to stand up and use a paddle to propel them across the course.

"I'm just trying to keep myself busy," Perkins said. "I grew up in Waikiki standing up (on surfboards) and taking pictures of tourists. I'm one of the beach boys who used to do that originally.

"It's all fun and games for me. If I can be a part of this thing and paddle with the top boarders in the world, then I'm pretty happy."

Later yesterday, Perkins was part of the Manu O Ke Kai Canoe Club's winning men's senior crew in the Hui Wa'a Championships at Keehi Lagoon.

Bruce Taylor won the stockboard division for boards that measure only 12 feet, finishing in 1:17:17.

Next Sunday is the 32-mile Quiksilveredition Molokai to Oahu Paddleboard Race. The race is considered the world championship of long-distance paddleboarding and many used yesterday's race to prepare for next Sunday's event.

"It's really the perfect preparation," Mitchell said. "All the hard work has been done over the past few months. This is a really good way to (head out) into next week."

Yesterday's race was dedicated to surfer, surfboard shaper and paddleboard maker Dale Velzy. Velzy, who died in California on May 26, is credited with naming North Shore surf spot Velzyland. A lei ceremony and floral drop dedication by helicopter was done at the start of the race.



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