2014 Molokai Challenge Preview

Saturday, 17 May 2014 14:25 | Written by 
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Clint Robinson, defending champion Clint Robinson, defending champion

After two weeks of howling trade winds and mountainous seas in the Kaiwi Channel, the 2014 Molokai Challenge is faced with baking temperatures, glassy seas and “winds light and variable”.  And that means 52km of an intense challenge of a different kind…

The Molokai Challenge (or to give it its full name, The 38th Annual Maui Jim Molokai Challenge and Surfski World Championship) runs on Sunday with perhaps the most competitive field and biggest prize purse ($10K) in years – all they needed was the weather to hang in there for another couple of days.

Athlete Roundup

Still, it’s going to be an intriguing tussle at the front of the field as defending champion Clint Robinson (Aus) attempts to take his fourth title. 

Up against Robinson will be:

  • Hank McGregor (South Africa): McGregor, 34, won the race (in hot, flat conditions) in 2009.  He and Robinson, 44, were together at the front of the field when Robinson pulled up, wracked by cramps.
  • Lewis Laughlin (Tahiti): Laughlin is an old campaigner at Molokai, with two titles, won in 2007 and 2008 (both of which were hot, flat years). 

Also up at the pointy end of the field will be:

  • Jasper Mocke (South Africa): Mocke leads this year’s rankings, having won the Mandurrah Duel, the Perth Doctor, and the Defis Kayak in Guadeloupe so far.  Whether the 28 year old has done enough mileage to take on 52km in the heat is open to question.
  • Jeremy Cotter (Aus): Jezza recently moved to the Epic Kayaks team and is on the podium more often than not.
  • Cory Hill (Aus): Rounding out the Epic team, the young (25) Australian is also an elite contender.

Oscar Chalupsky

Oscar Chalupsky, winning his 12th

The more “senior” elite paddlers are well represented too:

  • Oscar Chalupsky (South Africa): the 51 year old won the race for the 12th time two years ago in good surfing conditions, and is particularly disappointed with the forecast.
  • Grant Kenny (Aus): Grant (50) has 5 Molokai titles.
  • Martin Kenny (Aus): Marty (45) has been runner up at Molokai.

Marty Kenny

Marty Kenny catches a run at China Wall 1.5km from the finish

Dark Horses

  • Hiromana Flores (Tahiti): The 21 year old youngster, also well conditioned by the hot conditions in Tahiti, regularly challenges Lewis Laughlin in their local races.  This is his first Molokai.
  • Zsolt Szadovski: The Oahu resident is on top form, winning all the KIRA races so far this season.  He’s regular top ten finisher at Molokai and is favored to be the first local home.


There are 3 wahines this year: 

  • Junior from Hawaii: Ale Hedlund who will be crossing the channel for the first time,
  • Rachel Clarke from New Zealand
  • Lisa Wadling from Australia

Latest Forecast

The forecast has actually improved slightly in the last day, with the NOAA saying:

Southeast winds 15 kt in the morning becoming variable less than 10 kt. Wind waves 4 ft in the morning then 2 ft or less. South swell 3 ft. Haze.

Click here for the latest weather update.

Prize Money 

Surfski Elite Solo is the only eligible category for prize money. 

Cash Awards


Male SS


1st Overall Men


2nd Overall Men


3rd Overall Men


4th Overall Men


5th Overall Men


1st 19-39


1st 40-49


1st 50-54


1st 55-59


1st 60 +


Female SS


1st Overall Female


2nd Overall Female


3rd Overall Female


4th Overall Female


5th Overall Female



Other Awards


1st Hawaiian Male


2nd Hawaiian Male


3rd Hawaiian Male



1st Hawaiian Female


2nd Hawaiian Female


3rd Hawaiian Female



1st Battle of Nations


2nd Battle of Nations


3rd Battle of Nations


Additional prizes:

  1. 1st – 3rd Surfski Elite Solo – Male and Female will also win a pair of MAUI JIM Sunglasses, Scott Hawaii Slippers and a case of Cerveza Pacifico.
  2. 1st relay team in each discipline will win a pair of MAUI JIM Sunglasses and Scott Hawaii Slippers for each team member, plus a case of Cerveza Pacifico.
  3. 1st overall relay team of any discipline (after handicap time adjustments) will win $300.00 in gift certificates from Mac 24/7 Restaurant and Bar in the Hilton Waikiki Beach Hotel on Kuhio, plus $300.00 in Gas from Aloha Petroleum!

First finishers expected at approximately 2:15 pm.  


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