Quit yer Bitchin.....re. Molokai

10 years 10 months ago #16858 by kayakchampeen
Time to stir the pot a bit folks,
Is it just me or does it appear unseemly for Oscar (primarily) and many others complain about Molokai conditions being less than optimal for an Epic (pun intended) downwinder; and that people seriously considered changing the date of the race based upon this rationale. Oscar literally makes it sound as though he got jobbed out of another title owing to the conditions. Gimme a break. The article on the race doesn't even mention Clint until the third paragraph. TOTAL B.S. Oscar is not 1/3 the paddler Clint is and never was, and only in conditions that lend themselves to more riding than paddling would he have a prayer. It's a race, not a Billabong pro surfing tourney. You don't need a window of 4 days to hold a stinkin' race; you just show up and race. Some days are screaming downwind, some are short period side-chop, some are headwind, some are windless, those are the vagaries of any kind of racing. "Hey let's just rig the race so that over-the-hill 50yr old dude has the best shot at winning." That's just bogus. Makes me think that some surfski paddlers don't enjoy actual paddling or exertion at all, and if the free ride of the downwinder wasn't there they would not even bother paddling and would take up downhill MTB or some other gravity sport, that affords lots of fun with no effort. Other racing sports are held in varied conditions, and some racers do well in certain conditions vs others, but they don't try to advantage a certain racer over another. That would be like insisting that all horse races be held in the rain b/c some horses are better "mudders". Or that The Tour De France be entirely downhill. You play the game and roll the dice, if you can't hang w/what nature provides on race day you should shut the F*** UP, cause you are giving people who actually enjoy paddling in all conditions a bad name
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10 years 10 months ago #16860 by owenw
KC - Don't hold back; say what you really think!

Life truly lived is full of risk; to fence out risk is to fence out life itself

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10 years 10 months ago #16862 by sAsLEX
Whilst I do not disagree with what you have said, is there not room for a downwind event in the race calender?

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10 years 10 months ago #16864 by Ranga
Welcome to reporting that is not Aussie based. The reporter is following up on their original story and is a South African based company, hence Sean Rice being mentioned as well as nearly winning! Just look at Aussie reporting, it is worse in this respect.

I also prefer downwind conditions but compete non the less regardless of conditions, unlike some top competitors who don't even start, pull out at the site of flat water. You seem to attack Oscar, however why not attack Clint and ALL the other paddlers for also wishing to have a window period. You also seem to have some inside knowledge of who the (PRIMARY)instigator is! This is a good defamation case!

You obviously don't understand how the DOWNWIND SERIES works. Most of the top races have a window, but rarely has it been used.

You also bring in other sports, even cycling has different equipment for different races and the athletes are also quite different for these different races even though it is all cycling. Why don't they all pitch up and decide today we are going to sprint around the track instead of a road race? Well maybe cycling is different they would be on the wrong drugs for that type of race!!!

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10 years 10 months ago #16865 by Love2ski
Very enjoyable rant! But on a more serious note, perhaps as the sport matures it will break into different formats. For example, true downwind, marathon, flat water racing. I know I am thinking about having a flat water and an ocean ski, and I know lots of others are doing the same.

Considering other sports like snow skiing, bicycling, motorcycling, etc they have greatly fragmented into different disciplines.

I've never done a Molokai (not experienced enough) but as an interested punter my impression was that it is a downwind race. On that basis downwind specialists like Oscar can be forgiven for not enjoying it.

Without disrepsecting the awesome people who went in the race, I was wondering why the likes of Tim Jacobs, the Mockes etc weren't in it. I know for example that Tim won free airfares etc to go in the race. Perhaps he wanted to make the Aussie team for Portugal more.

I just thought I would see more of the top guys in it.

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10 years 10 months ago #16867 by kayakchampeen
I see my post has served it's purpose. I will readily acknowledge that it was over-the-top and incendiary in the extreme, as it tilted at a few sacred windmills of the pro surfski landscape. Oscar ended up bearing the brunt of my screed, and this was probably unwarranted, as he has never proffered himself as anything but a hale and well-met bloke who had a knack for downwind paddling. He was an easy example for the point I was trying to make and it's probably the case that he had nothing to do with the hagiography surrounding his historic Molokai attempt on his birthday, so I should have given him the benefit of the doubt. Some of my comments were based on others editorializing about Oscar/Molokai and not the man himself, and I'm sorry that I didn't make this clear.

The point is that surfski racing is OCEAN RACING. I wanted to start a conversation (in my own caustic fashion) about what exactly this means and whether or not downwind racing exclusively is what surfski racing is all about or whether other sea-states are given equal priority in the definition of what constitutes Ocean Racing. After all, the ocean doesn't care what point of sail you are on, it's still the ocean. And the ocean can pose myriad conditions on an ever-changing basis. Some of this stems from the fact that classic downwind conditions are probable in only a few select areas of the globe, and I feel that paddling in more "challenging" conditions as is practiced in other areas is given short shrift as not being worthy of racing in or less worthy than what is typical of S.A., Hawaii, Aus, Tahiti, etc.. Paddling in refracting chop from multiple directions (for example)can be at least as challenging as cruising down long-period pacific swell and I wonder why this is not recognized as a discrete skill in it's own right, and poo-pooed as not being good enough for the top pros. I call bullshit on this prejudice that exists in the mutual admiration society that is the Pro Surfski circuit. (Which is itself a canard because, after all, how many people can afford to fly to Dubai or Mauritius to race against the same 10 people you raced against in Singapore?) Additionally, having competed in other paddling disciplines, I have seen people like Clint who have achieved a level of efficiency in driving the boat that is unmatched by many downwind dillettantes who seem to have little appreciation or understanding of other avenues of paddlesport. I understand that the tradition of Molokai is that of a downwinder, but don't get why people would be so bent out of shape when the weather doesn't cooperate. Also I am genuinely suspicious of anyone who paddles a ski exclusively and has not bothered to check out other facets of paddling . It makes me surmise that they only like downwinders and are basically fair weather (read 20knt tailwind) paddlers and are not terribly interested in experiencing other, equally compelling, avenues of paddling/racing. The surfski paddlers I respect most are competent in a variety of craft/conditions, and would test their mettle against others in a bathtub on a duck pond, they just love to paddle and race
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10 years 10 months ago #16868 by TaffyMick
Love a good rant :woohoo: .

Being an older over the hill 50+ dude (57 as of yesterday), that Oscar came 9th in conditions that are not conducive to his downwind strengths is still an awesome result. The Molokai...? just to compete in it when you are over half a century is a fantastic achievement in itself. Just hope the detractors are still able to do the sport we love when they are "over-the-hill".

BTW... my paddling buddies are 59 and 67 (Fenn Swordfish and Epic V10).

Well done Oscar and well done Clint... and yes... I am an Aussie too!


Old Fart Paddler :P

Stellar SEI, Fenn Bluefin S, Sladecraft Comet Long Rec & Vajda K1

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10 years 10 months ago - 10 years 10 months ago #16869 by Stephen Bunney
May I suggest the George Bass Marathon - 190klm over 7 days from Batemans bay in the north to Eden in the south. Wind direction be damned. Micheal Locke won it last time with Dean Second.

Or for a pure ocean drivers race - Makai cup Ulludulla NSW. A gem of a race that is more about the ride than the race. Definitely a race to make you smile. Dean won it this Year.
Last edit: 10 years 10 months ago by Stephen Bunney. Reason: grammar

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10 years 10 months ago #16870 by Sandy
WOW champeen , wtf ? I am just an AARP card packing punter that loves to paddle my surf ski when and where I can. You have made some pretty astounding statements and I can only hope they are based in your direct experience of the one's you seem to be pointing the sharp stick at . Your first post was way out of line ,IMHO, and if I were the moderator would strongly consider deleting it and giving you a stern admonishment to desist in the somewhat personal attacks or get the "boot". You did accomplish your stated desire to stir the pot , you may also have kicked the Hornets Nest , have fun with that and I am really looking forward to where this goes next.
BTW , you don't know that RAB guy do you ?

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10 years 10 months ago - 10 years 10 months ago #16872 by LaPerouseBay
"Downwind dilettante" I love that Kayakchampeen. I'm a card carrying member. Love your posts. Let me know if you come to Maui, I'll set you up on local conditions. Downwinding is king here.

I don't fault racers one bit for wanting a window. I don't think it will affect the results much. It may bring more racers.

ALL the big outrigger and standup races (in HI) this year have been bad wind. Maui to Molokai, Molokai to Oahu solo, then relay, 2 big maliko races... It's been a terrible trend this spring.

Our outrigger forums have threads about windows. If the skis make it happen, the outriggers may follow.

I feel for the non elites. The pro's don't care if it takes an extra hour or two. I too was young once. Endorphins are a wonderful thing. But average people? Ouch.

As for Oscar spouting off after a race? Yawn. Love him or hate him, that fat bastard can motor. But he won't win M2O again. Not without drugs, IMO.

downwind dilettante
Last edit: 10 years 10 months ago by LaPerouseBay.

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  • hudE
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10 years 10 months ago #16873 by hudE
Replied by hudE on topic Re: Quit yer Bitchin.....re. Molokai
Interesting outlook. I just take offence that you think riding DH takes no effort.
You should try pinning it down a mountain at top speed while on the very edge of control for 3+ minutes then check your heart rate.

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10 years 10 months ago #16875 by DarylRemmler
Love this thread!
Clint has shown he can win in any conditions, and hats off to him for another great victory!
All the guys love a downwind, so the "race window" idea is great. A logistical nightmare with support boats, ferries, airplanes, etc, so will be very tough to work out I would think.
As to conditions playing a role in the results, I'm guessing Oscar has had some wins in less than ideal conditions, but they still count :) Lewis Laughlin's brutal headwind victory a few years back is just as valid as Dean's record setting run years before. They were all tough.
The sport is global, and conditions vary greatly. It's not a downwind sport everyday, but it's always a challenge!

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10 years 10 months ago #16876 by AR_convert
Without the odd "Incendiary" post the forum would be a boring place, great conversation starter.

For mine it's disappointing that the conditions weren't condusive to the "masters" of downwind getting to ply their skills. After all it goes to show that fitness is just one of Oscars tools, using his head to read the water is his biggest weapon.

I gave Ocean racing a red hot crack but found that despite my fitness I just had too little experience in reading the water to be competitive with guys I would otherwise beat in other forms of racing. And with time constraints to train it was likely I could never match the downwind training others locally get....So I took my bat and ball and now concentrate on marathon paddling for my competitive fix.

Downwind ocean racing is now a passtime rather than a competitive focus.

I like the idea of the window for racing. The same critism has been pointed at the organiser of the Doctor race in the past and now it seems while a window is advertised that shipping movements can restrict the flexibility an organiser has.

For the relatively fit midpacker like me the Molokai may be achieveable if it was a downwind, but in the conditions described I wouldn't have finished, and maybe it should be that way. Only taken on by the very best solo paddlers regardless of the conditions or otherwise by teams.

Always looking for the next boat :)
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10 years 10 months ago #16877 by lost john
Paddling in refracting chop
So you would feel better if Oscar likes "refracting chop" in 30 miles of Kaiwi channel? What exactly is that?

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10 years 10 months ago #16880 by kayakchampeen
Thanks for the responses. I knew full well that some people would take exception to my sweeping generalizations, so that comes as no surprise. Sometimes a forum post has to be a little bit reactionary to elicit any clever responses at all.
Full disclosure, I have never done Molokai or for that matter any open ocean crossing of more than about 10k, and I do have massive respect for anyone who puts themselves out there in exposed conditions. Oscar is a legend and is the best downwind racer of all time, no question. I'm not trying to disparage his character or accomplishments. He and Dean and others have carried the torch since Ocean Racing was in it's infancy and they should be applauded for that.
I'm making the case that, since the explosion of surfski popularity worldwide, there are as many or more paddlers that come from different backgrounds other than the trad. SAF and Aussie and Hawaiian lifeguard/ocean culture and have different priorities in the ski. Maybe it's because they don't have ready access to the kinds of conditions that would allow them to hone downwind skills in large, long-interval swell; or, maybe they transitioned from other avenues of paddling altogether into the ski for various reasons. Or maybe they are just a punter who enjoys the challenge of keeping the thing upright. I was trying to tease out the fact that there is a growing disconnect between these two groups, those for whom ski racing is inextricably associated with big downwinders, and the "silent majority" for whom the ski represents another vehicle for a wide variety of purposes. I suppose I made an unfair judgement towards the former, because they represent surfski racing in its most glamorous iteration, and are more aligned with the spirit of ski racing since it's inception. It is also fair to suggest that if I lived in Maui or Cape Town I would enjoy the thrill of TRUE downwind racing, and have no use for paddling in anything else. I also am aware that this is a South Africa based forum so it obviously reflects the interests of those lucky enough to avail themselves of these conditions, no surprise there. (BTW) if anyone wants to buy me a plane ticket to these aforementioned downwind Meccas I will gladly accept the challenge of giving it a shot in the monster stuff. In this case my comments stemmed from a bit of jealousy, in the same way that I am jealous of snowskiers who live in Utah.
I did take exception to the lack of props given to Clint after his third victory, as he is sort of a hero of mine since I followed him in the K1. It seemed that the unspoken implication was that is the conditions weren't bonzer then it was somehow less of a victory.
And I do stand by my comments that there are people who 2 types of folks who enjoy ski racing: Surfski people first and foremost, who could just as easily do some other extreme ocean sport like kitesurfing in lieu of adrenaline-fueled downwind racing, and then there are "Paddlers" who happen to paddle a surfski, for whom paddling is the lifelong avocation and the ski is one more discipline to try to master. I guess my prejudices here are obvious but they are not gospel and are just the ruminations of a guy on a forum. I wondered, out of curiosity, who considered themselves to be which, and why?

I consider myself an expert paddler, but certainly not an expert ocean racer by any stretch of the imagination. But when did it become necessary to be at the top of the heap to have an opinion? I can tell you a few things about Mars, but I've never been there either.
Moreover the commentary here has made me change my opinion about Molokai in particular. It makes sense to me now that at least one of the big races should be a proper downwinder, if only to preserve the link between today and the origin of the sport. And I read the post about Hank McGregor saying the flight to Hawaii was like 30hrs. If I had suffered through that then I would want to race in fun conditions as well as a reward for my troubles.

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10 years 10 months ago #16881 by AndyN
Replied by AndyN on topic Re: Quit yer Bitchin.....re. Molokai
Nice little rant, enjoyed the responses and agree with a lot of the message, but given that I will probably never get to do Molokai would I want to watch a video clip of Molokai crossing in a headwind and cross chop or with 20knt winds, and 3m following swell?

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10 years 10 months ago - 10 years 10 months ago #16882 by 1xsculler
I've really enjoyed these posts and have learned a lot about the variety of surfskiers/HP kayakers.

I am simply a punter, as referrenced by kayakchampeen, who just enjoys the challenge of trying to keep the bumpy side of an unstable elite ski up.

current skis: SES Ultra. sculling boats: Fluidesign Lwt, Wintech, Empacher.
Last edit: 10 years 10 months ago by 1xsculler. Reason: mistake

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10 years 10 months ago #16883 by tony h
I had the privilege of crossing the Kaiwi channel last week in the 2013 Molokai Challenge - very average paddler who finished mid pack & was thrilled to fulfill a lifelong dream!

It is indeed a magnificent event & was exceptionally well organised - there is a mountain of logistics to conquer, eg. the shore break at the start was massive by my standards & I wouldn't have got to the start line if the organisers hadn't generously organised jet skis to take us out.

It amazed me how generous the elite paddlers are with their company, assistance & experience - one of the most generous was Oscar who gave alot of time with clinics etc. I did a hour long downwind paddle with him in a double a few days prior to the race, which was my best paddling experience ever: top speed according to garmin of 36km.h & average speed of 17km.h!

I gained further respect for Oscar the way he got out there in unfavourable conditions (for him at 50yr) & finished the race regardless of his placing- some would just pull out if it didn't favour their chances of achieving. 12 victories in the Molokai is an awesome achievement.

Obviously Clint is a paddling legend & capable of winning regardless of conditions. It would be a good debate who would be the greater all round paddler at present- Clint or Hank McGregor?
Perhaps both are nearing the end of their amazing careers.

For me, I don't care what the conditions - it is about fulfilling a paddling experience in an amazing place. Have been fortunate to do this in Dubai, all over Australia, Mauritius & now Hawaii.
IMHO the most substantial one is Hawaii - the soul of ocean ski paddling.

Lets hope we continue to see this fun sport growing. None of us is beyond a good dose of criticism if placed under the spotlight, so perhaps we should avoid taking unnecessary cracks at the tall poppies - organisers & elite paddlers???? They drive the sports growth.

ski's - McGregor C/R // Nelo 560L // Epic: 1st/2nd/3rdG V10/10L/10 sport, V14, V12, V8, V7, double -v10/v8 // Stellar: SES 1G/2G, SEI 2G // Fenn: double, elite SL, swordfish 1G/2G // Carbonology: vault, atom, flash //hayden spec ski / gibbons oc. ski / red7 / stealth spec/ocean ski / think legend
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10 years 10 months ago #16885 by chucktheskiffie
Though i am new to this sport, i have spent the vast majority of my life sailing. Especially boats that are designed to do this:

Now, for the nationals series for these boats, there are no stipulations on the conditions... obviously, we would much prefer the right conditions to get off the map, but sometimes, you just get a light series. Thats the kind of breeze that keeps the younger and lighter crews interested.

What you get then is increased numbers to the sport, and the more people = the more competition, better funding, better services and just all around more interest which then further proliferates the sport.

Having the occasional light series is never great, but it is a necessity.

Same goes here...
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10 years 10 months ago #16888 by Love2ski
I would have loved to have seen Tim Jacobs compete in this race.

Clearly there are two schools of paddlers. Those with a flatwater "olympic" background such as Clint or Tim. Others with a waveriding expertise such as Oscar and Dean.

Given the grinding nature of the race, and Oscars strengths, his effort is remarkable.
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