MOLOKAI WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COM
Maggie Twigg-Smith smiled yesterday as she approached the finish for a win in the 30th Annual Molokai World Championships.
Tresnak captures sixth solo crown
The 25-year-old wins the Molokai World Championships in record-breaking time
At the 30th annual Kona Brewing Co. Molokai World Championships yesterday, one 20-something broke the race record in the canoe division, extended his record career victory mark in the event, then announced plans to take a break for a while.
Another announced his arrival on the scene with a near-record-matching performance in winning the surfski division, and promised to come back for more.
Kailua's Karel Tresnak Jr. won the canoe division in the 32-mile race from Molokai to Oahu across the Kaiwi Channel that is considered the world championship of long-distance solo ocean paddling, finishing in a record 3 hours, 42 minutes and 24.7 seconds.
After crashing his craft last year, Tresnak bettered the previous race record (3:42:37) by about 12 seconds and picked up his sixth career victory -- also a record. Yet he said immediately afterward that he will likely take a break from solo competition.
"I think I'm over these things for a while -- it's too much work," Tresnak, 25, said. "The first hour, I had a really good run and ended up putting two to three hundred yards on everybody. I hung with that, and slowly made it more and more. The record is icing on the cake. I'm stoked to have the sixth one -- I'm just happy."
In his first attempt in the race, South Africa's Clint Pretorius was the first paddler overall to cross the finish line. He won the surfski division in 3:22:14.7, less than a minute behind the race record (3:21:26).
"This was definitely one of the hardest races I've ever done -- I definitely pushed it to the max," said the 21-year-old from Durban. "I just managed to have the race
of my life. And, I will be back."
The race began at Kaluakoi Hotel on Molokai with an international field of more than 100 competitors, and finished at Koko Marina on Oahu's southeast side.
Waves reached as high as 12 feet by the traditional scale in the treacherous Kaiwi Channel, with even skilled swell riders such as Tresnak, again leery of potential disasters during the race even though long rides were scored.
"It was big, and maybe even a little harder than last year," said Tresnak, whose time was good for seventh-best overall. "There were some bombs coming through ... but I got lucky. You don't think (a crash) could happen twice, you're kind of hoping it won't ... but I still went for the big ones like I did last year, (rode for) 300 yards some times, and it paid off."
Maui's Kai Bartlett, last year's canoe champion and the previous race record holder, finished runner-up to Tresnak, at 3:45:44.0. California's Danny Ching (3:47:51.3) placed third.
In a much tighter battle, fellow South African, defending champion and 11-time winner Oscar Chalupsky (3:22:42.1) finished just behind Pretorius and in second place for the surfskis. Australian Clint Robinson (3:23:01.7) took third, and race record holder and former nine-time champion Dean Gardiner (3:30:34.0), also from Down Under, placed fourth.
"I think it's good for the sport," said the 43-year-old Chalupsky of Pretorius' win. "You've got a lot of old people, and it's good to see some young people coming in. For us to come in 1-2 was a magnificent achievement. I'm still around, but he's very good."
CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COM
Karel Tresnak Jr. of Kailua set a record yesterday in the 30th annual Molokai World Championships.
"I thought I'd sit with him" through the race, said Pretorius, "because Oscar obviously knows what he's doing. ... But he was really reeling me in there at the end, and I managed to hold him off."
On the women's side, Hawaii Kai's Maggie Twigg-Smith (4:27:05.6) convincingly won the surfski division ahead of second-place Deanne Hemmens (4:47:28.8). Maui's Dane Ward (4:49:15.3) took the canoe division over runner-up Alana Goo (4:52:31.1).
"It was fun, classic conditions," Twigg-Smith, 31, said. "It's the Molokai Channel, and you never know what can happen. It's an unreal thing to be able to cross the channel solo."
The defending champions in both women's divisions, Australia's Jasmin Cohen (surfski) and Lisa Curry-Kenny (canoe), did not participate this year. They, along with a few other top contenders, belong to the same club back home and reportedly chose to save their travel funds for the world championship team race across the same channel later in the fall.
Twigg-Smith and Ward acknowledged that the Aussies' absence was significant, but that they would still proudly celebrate their victories anyway.
"This (victory) is huge," said the 40-year-old Ward, who picked up her first win in the world championship relay from Molokai to Oahu two weeks ago. Her relay partner was former solo canoe winner Lauren Bartlett of Maui, who also did not participate yesterday.
"It's a 'heart' race, super challenging -- mentally and physically. I just took the opportunity."
Molokai World Championships
Open--1. Karel Tresnak, 3:42:24.7; 2. Kai Barttlet, 3:45:44.0; 3. Danny Ching, 3:47:51.3; 4. Patrick Dolan, 3:51:00.1; 5. Aaron Creps, 3:51:44.8; 6. Manny Kulukulualani, 3:56:40.2; 7. Michael Murray, 3:58:09.8; 8. Travis Grant, 4:00:21.4; 9. Greg Long, 4:00:42.9; 10. Peter Konohia, 4:01:02.9.
Masters--1. Steve Blyth, 4:10:41.1; 2. Tim Twigg-Smith, 4:31:19.5; 3. Mark Miller, 4:37:11.0; 4. John Wacker, 4:58:01.4; 5. Scott McPhail, 5:07:30.6; 6. David Spitzer, 5:56:32.7.
Senior masters--1. Grant Hughes, 4:42:57.3; 2. Ron Barron, 5:04:14.2; 3. Nappy Napoleon, 5:12:12.7; 4. Ray Shipman, 5:14:25.9; 5. Adolph Helm, 5:22:16.3; 6. Gaylord Wilcox, 5:23:05.2.
Open--1. Dane Ward, 4:49:15.3; 2. Alana Goo, 4:52:31.1; 3. Andrea Moller, 4:57:37.8; 4. Arlene Holzman, 4:59:26.9; 5. Kelsa Teeters, 5:02:41.1; 6. Andrea Messer, 5:38:15.0; 7. Spring Clegg, 6:10:32.6.
Masters--Margie Kawaiaea, 4:53:19.1.
Open--1. Clint Pretorious, 3:22:14.7; 2. Clint Robinson, 3:23:01.7; 3. Dean Gardner, 3:30:34.0; 4. Lewis Laughlin, 3:34:12.5; 5. Mark Sandvold, 3:37:45.0; 6. Damien Daley, 3:45:39.7; 7. Kane Henssner, 3:45:57.6; 8. Ken Collins, 3:49:35.2; 9. Paul Wilford, 3:52:14.9; 10. Steve Kelly, 3:53:21.5.
Masters--1. Oscar Chalupsky, 3:22:42.1; 2. Patrick Hemmens, 3:59:21.3; 3. Greg Mickel, 4:17:18.5; 4. Dave Jensen, 4:18:54.2; 5. Joe Glickman, 4:38:25.0; 6. Kennie Denton, 4:38:43.4; 7. Rene Appel, 4:48:04.8; 8. Troy Griffin, 4:57:45.7; 9. Kenneth Howell, 4:57:59.7; 10. Craig Vipond, 5:00:42.0.
Senior masters--1. Jimmy Kincaid, 4:20:43.7; 2. Kenneth Moore, 6:33:10.6.
Open--Maggie Twigg-Smith, 4:27:05.6.
Masters--Deanne Hemmens, 4:47:28.8.
1. Gurn and Kalama, 4:10:11.1; 2. Grover and Wiess, 4:44:57.0.