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Monday, August 01, 2005



MOLOKAI TO OAHU
PADDLEBOARD RACE


art
CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COM
A weary Jamie Mitchell crossed the finish line at Maunalua Bay Beach Park in 5:05.09 yesterday.



Mitchell wins No. 4

The Australian wins another title,
while Hawaii’s Duncan claims the
women’s crown once again

Jamie Mitchell went with a new strategy to claim his fourth straight Quiksilveredition Molokai to Oahu Paddleboard Race and continue his dominance in the sport.

The 28-year-old Australian decided to get out in front of the other 117 competitors early on, instead of playing catch up like previous years, and stayed ahead of the pack to win the 32-mile race in 5 hours, 5 minutes and 9 seconds yesterday.

Considered the world championship of long-distance paddleboarding, the race started at Kaluakoi Hotel and Golf Club on Molokai and crossed the Kaiwi Channel to Maunalua Bay Beach Park in Hawaii Kai.

The win extended Mitchell's overall winning streak -- he has not lost a race since 2002.

"I wanted to change it up this year," said Mitchell, who took over the lead about an hour into the race. "Every other year, I seem to have come from behind, so I thought I'd maybe do the opposite this year and take it out this year. And it worked."

Early on, it seemed Mitchell was on course to break his record of 4:56:03 set last year in race-friendly conditions. But the winds and waves turned against him in the final stretch, slowing him down and allowing second-place finisher Brian Rocheleau of Honolulu to close the gap.

"The first 3 hours was really fun," Mitchell said. "I thought this was going to be the best ever. But the last 2 hours was terrible. It was unorganized, it was backwashy and the current was raging against us. Mentally, it feels like you're going nowhere. It really feels like you're not making any ground.

"I knew that Brian and Ryan (Addison) were pretty close," Mitchell added. "Brian might have even closed the gap at the end. I was starting to hurt at the end."

Rocheleau, 29, repeated his runner-up finish from 2003. Rocheleau finished in 5:07:34, in the closest finish in the men's race since 2003. A different line of approach to Maunalua Bay Beach Park allowed him to close the distance between himself and Mitchell.



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CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COM
Kanesa Duncan won the women's title and took fourth overall in the stock division yesterday. The rough waters and a new pad on her board caused severe abrasions on both of her legs.



"The last stretch was the closest I got," Rocheleau said. "He was down south of me and I could see his (escort) boat. But I really wasn't really trying to concern myself with him. I was trying to surf as much as I could.

"The last part really made a difference. The last 3 or 4 miles. The winds, if you get too south, you have to fight back up against the trades to get into the point."

With blood running down her left leg, Honolulu's Kanesa Duncan also made it four wins by defending the women's title with a time of 6:16:26. She also won in 2001 and 2002. Australia's Hayley Bateup finished second in 6:28:44.

"Coming into the island was pretty hard," Duncan said. "I'm pretty rashed up. I put a new pad on my board and it didn't work. I was trying not to think about it and keep paddling."

Duncan used a stockboard, which measures 12 feet, instead of a paddleboard, which runs between 12 and 16 feet. Her finish placed her fourth overall in the stock division, won by Eric Meech of La Jolla, Calif., with a time of 6:04:21.

The win over Bateup, the 2003 winner, avenged a loss to her at the 8-mile Hennessey's International Paddleboard Championships at Waikiki eight days earlier.

"I raced against her about six times and she's always gotten me before," Duncan, 29, said. "The last time we did the channel, I dislocated my shoulder, so we had a really flat race."

Duncan wasn't disappointed about missing the record she set last year by 23 minutes, and hopes to learn how to knee paddle for next year's race.

"You had a good wind and an OK tide," Duncan said. "You can't really ask for more. After last year, this is just second best."

Australians Hayden Smith and Bruce Taylor won the team division, finishing in 5:12:46. Hawaii's Jimmy Austin and Dolan Eversole, the defending champions and record holders, placed second in 5:19:09.



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