Molokai: Chalupsky makes it number 12!

Monday, 21 May 2012 08:17 | Written by 
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The top 6:  1st Oscar Chalupsky (SA), 2nd Clint Robinson (Aus), 3rd Pat Dolan (USA HI), 4th Dean Gardiner (Aus), 5th Bruce Taylor (Aus) and 6th Martin Kenny (Aus) The top 6: 1st Oscar Chalupsky (SA), 2nd Clint Robinson (Aus), 3rd Pat Dolan (USA HI), 4th Dean Gardiner (Aus), 5th Bruce Taylor (Aus) and 6th Martin Kenny (Aus)

Oscar Chalupsky ... Without doubt the single most impressive human performance in a sporting arena, that I have witnessed,” said Matt Bouman.  “I salute you for it.” 

Too old, too fat, too unfit

Except… that he wasn’t!  The 49-year-old Chalupsky had been training hard for months to get back into winning shape – he badly wanted his 12th Molokai victory.  And the signs were there for anyone watching – Oscar’s been posting excellent times on his training blog and in Spain a couple of weeks ago, he came a very creditable eleventh on flat water in an extremely competitive field.


All week, the whole surfski world had been watching the NOAA forecast for the Kaiwi Channel. At first (and ironically most accurately), it was forecasting an easterly wind of about 9kt, but as the days passed, the forecast improved until, by the time race day arrived, there was supposed to be 20kt of wind and 7ft waves.

And hopes were high – if the big O was going to do it, he’d do it in conditions like that.

The race

But…  the wind was only about 20kph, far from the promised 20kt.  “I could tell,” said Chalupsky, “because when you went down a run, you were going at the same speed as the wind – and immediately started to overheat.  You’d get to the bottom and have to splash yourself.”

Chalupsky and fellow South African Matt Bouman (taking part in his first Molokai) initially kept pace with the double paddled by Greg Barton and Zsolt Szadovski.  “But they were too fast,” said Chalupsky.  “So I let them go.”

With two hours to go, Chalupsky looked up to see Aussie Martin Kenny ahead of him.

“I was really battling,” said Chalupsky.  “There were a couple of escort boats ahead of me and I couldn’t catch the runs properly because of the wakes.  It was really sloppy.”

But eventually he found some clean water, passed Kenny, then caught up with Bruce Taylor.  “At that point I took a Gu, then I passed Bruce and got away from him.”

Then Chalupsky saw Dean Gardiner – who’d flown in on Thursday to take part in the race when he was sure that there would be some wind for the race!

“I had no idea where Clint was,” said Chalupsky.  “I knew that Pat Dolan had gone south.”

Changing Gear

Preparing to hunt Gardiner down, Chalupsky changed gear mentally – and physically, shortening his paddle from 2.15 to 2.13…

“Again I found it difficult to get a rhythm because of the escort boats up ahead,” he said.  “I went left, then right and eventually my escort said to me: you’re ahead.

“What I didn’t know was that Clint Robinson had cramped 1 1/2 hours in and had had to take a line further south to make it easier for himself.

“Funnily enough, the last time I won, I overtook Marty Kenny in roughly the same place.  When I overtook Dean, I felt déjà vu!”

Home Sprint

In a skype conversation with Joe Glickman a few days ago we’d been discussing Chalupsky’s chances.  “My head tells me that Clint is favorite,” I’d written, “but my heart says Oscar.  Imagine a sprint finish between Oscar and Clint with Oscar winning…!”

Oscar Chalupsky and Clint Robinson

Approaching the finish - Oscar Chalupsky with Clint Robinson in hot pursuit

As Chalupsky paddled past the infamous China Wall, he could hear spectators yelling and cheering.  “It was quite tough,” he said.  “It was really rough at the wall.  I just kept paddling.  I was really stuffed.”

As he turned the corner, he rode a wave over the reef, just clipping the end of his rudder on the coral…  Close one!

“I looked back,” he said, “expecting to see Dean.  Instead, there was Clint, coming up – at speed – only about 100m back.”

On the wave, he shortened his paddle again, this time to 2.10 for the grind into the wind to the finish.

“I just focused on technique,” he said.  “I knew that he wouldn’t overtake me on the V12, but as I crossed the line I was hyperventilating..."

Oscar wins

Winner - and now twelve time Molokai Champion - Oscar Chalupsky

“As Greg [Barton] said to me afterwards, it’s harder to think you’re going to win, than to actually go and do it!  People write you off because of your results in races – but they don’t understand that I’m not training; I’m working and drinking and having fun!

"I want to dedicate my twelth to two people," Chalupsky said.  "To my daughter Hannah - and to Taryn Dickinson."


Chalupsky's Garmin Trace


Meanwhile back home, Chalupsky’s brother Herman is today faced with a dilemma.   A few days back, in a conversation with Joe Glickman, he declared: “If Oscar wins I’ll eat my under-rods!”  But which ones to chose?


Full Results

PosOverall TimeCraftPaddler 1Paddler 2CountryDiv
1 03:21:32 SS-2 Greg Barton Zsolt Svadovski Usa Men-Surfski Doubles
2 03:24:07 Surfski Oscar Chalupsky   South Africa M-MASTER 40-49 Surfski
3 03:24:26 Surfski Clint Robinson   Australia M-30-39 Surfski
4 03:25:42 Surfski Patrick Dolan   Hawai'i M-18-29 SURFSKI
5 03:26:32 Surfski Dean Gardiner   Aust M-MASTER 40-49 Surfski
6 03:27:04 Surfski Bruce Taylor   Australia M-30-39 Surfski
7 03:27:33 Surfski Martin Kenny   Australia M-MASTER 40-49 Surfski
8 03:29:04 Surfski Matthew Bouman   South Africa M-30-39 Surfski
9 03:31:55 Surfski Kurt Tutt   Australia M-30-39 Surfski
10 03:34:34 SS-2 Patrick Hemmens Sean Lupton-Smith Usa Men-Surfski Doubles
11 03:38:24 Surfski Michael Booth   Australia M-18-29 Surfski
12 03:40:27 Surfski Tim Altman   Australia M-MASTER 40-49 Surfski
13 03:42:24 Surfski Damien Daley   Australia M-30-39 Surfski
14 03:43:25 Surfski Michael Locke   Aust M-MASTER 40-49 Surfski
15 03:45:33 SS-2 Mark Ressel Tris Turner Great Britain Men-Surfski Doubles
16 03:46:18 Surfski Steve Coulter   Australia M-MASTER 40-49 Surfski
17 03:46:37 Surfski Danny Topfer   Australia M-MASTER 40-49 Surfski
18 03:46:52 Surfski Michael Beyer   Hawai'i M-30-39 Surfski
19 03:48:13 Surfski Matthew Ogarey   Australia M-30-39 Surfski
20 03:50:07 Surfski Kala Judd   Hawai'i M-SR. MASTER 50-59 Surfski
21 03:50:16 Surfski Robert Barry   Australia M-SR. MASTER 50-59 Surfski
22 03:52:12 Surfski Gabe Newton   Usa M-30-39 Surfski
23 03:53:13 Surfski Bruce Dunlop   Australia M-SR. MASTER 50-59 SURFSKI
24 03:53:39 Surfski Stewart O'Regan   Australia M-30-39 Surfski
25 03:54:03 Surfski Jett Kenny   Australia M-18-29 Surfski
26 03:56:10 Surfski Patrick Switzer   Usa M-30-39 Surfski
27 03:57:29 Surfski Grant Kenny   Australia M-MASTER 40-49 Surfski
28 03:59:26 Surfski Francisco Arango   Australia M-30-39 Surfski
29 04:00:59 Surfski Nickolas Wagner   Australia M-18-29 Surfski
30 04:03:28 Surfski Pierre Ferrand   Tahiti M-MASTER 40-49 Surfski
31 04:04:45 Surfski Andrew Glatzel   Usa M-MASTER 40-49 Surfski
32 04:05:40 Surfski Erik Borgnes   Usa M-MASTER 40-49 Surfski
33 04:05:48 Surfski Simon Clegg   New Zealand M-MASTER 40-49 Surfski
34 04:06:40 Surfski Creagh Bouttell   Australia M-MASTER 40-49 Surfski
35 04:09:38 Surfski David Hansen   Australia M-MASTER 40-49 Surfski
36 04:12:00 Surfski John Hoogsteden   Hawai'i M-SR. MASTER 50-59 Surfski
37 04:12:35 Surfski Eric Rohozinski   Usa M-SR. MASTER 50-59 Surfski
38 04:13:11 Surfski Cam Middleton   Australia M-SR. MASTER 50-59 Surfski
39 04:14:33 Surfski Peter Currie   Australia M-SR. MASTER 50-59 Surfski
40 04:16:31 Surfski Kevin Newell   Australia M-SR. MASTER 50-59 Surfski
41 04:19:17 Surfski Alastair Currie   Australia M-MASTER 40-49 Surfski
42 04:21:42 Surfski Rowena Coghill   Australia F-Open Surfski
43 04:26:16 Surfski Jeff Sweeney   Australia M-MASTER 40-49 SURFSKI
44 04:30:50 Surfski Philip Parker   Australia M-30-39 Surfski
45 04:31:39 Surfski Boris Manzewski   Hong Kong M-MASTER 40-49 Surfski
46 04:31:41 Surfski Richard Spork   Mau'i M-MASTER 40-49 Surfski
47 04:33:40 Surfski Geoff Wadley   Australia M-MASTER 40-49 Surfski
48 04:36:52 Surfski John Clarke   Australia M-MASTER 40-49 Surfski
49 04:37:40 Surfski Richard Puffett   Australia M-MASTER 40-49 Surfski
50 04:38:26 Surfski Andrew Sargent   Australia M-MASTER 40-49 Surfski
51 04:40:58 Surfski Tracey Apthorpe   Australia F-Open Surfski
52 04:45:27 Surfski Mark Shoebridge   Australia M-MASTER 40-49 Surfski
53 04:46:55 Surfski Camille De Carmejane-Vesc   Hong Kong F-Open Surfski
54 04:50:34 Surfski Chris Quirk   Australia M-SR. MASTER 50-59 Surfski
55 04:51:38 Surfski Wade Burnham   Australia M-MASTER 40-49 Surfski
56 04:53:49 Surfski Tim Burke   Usa M-MASTER 40-49 Surfski
57 04:55:43 Surfski Thor Nielsen   Denmark M-SR. MASTER 50-59 Surfski
58 05:05:19 SS-2 Dylan Thomas Grant Korgan Usa Men-Surfski Doubles
59 05:06:16 Surfski Carl Hinton   Australia M-30-39 Surfski
60 05:11:22 Surfski Robert Hodge   Australia M-SR. MASTER 50-59 Surfski
61 05:11:59 Surfski Clive Harpur   South Africa M-SR. MASTER 50-59 Surfski
62 05:12:56 Surfski Samuel Lemmo   Hawai'i M-SR. MASTER 50-59 Surfski
63 05:16:36 Surfski Richard Germain   Canada-Quebec M-MASTER 40-49 Surfski
64 05:41:09 Surfski Rick Carter   Usa M-SR. MASTER 50-59 Surfski

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