Molokai Surf Ski Solo 2009 -- no support boat required

The "Goss" is, this years Surf Ski Molokai Solo will not require individual support boats. The race organizer is reported to be supplying one escort boat per 5-7 contestants. There is a requirement to carry additional safety equipment. and for all paddlers to pass a half way check point.

I wonder whether this will increase the race numbers?

Some more info on

Cheers Rambo

Submitted by Rambo on Wed, 03/18/2009 - 10:55pm

i had just posted the samething a few minutes ago when i read it on surfski info

#1 Wed, 03/18/2009 - 11:02pm

Yes but it's the Surf Ski Solo not to be confused with the PA'A OC1 Molokai Solo.

The interesting thing is, it changes the race route choice of going high or low as they have to pass between two stationary support boats at the half way point.

Not sure i would like to see this in the Oc1 Solo. What do you local guy's think?


#2 Thu, 03/19/2009 - 12:10am

I think this is progress in the right direction .

A powerboat for every single canoe is overkill to say the least.

And to you people who are worried about your carbon footprint, this should be viewed as a huge savings .

#3 Thu, 03/19/2009 - 1:51am

Very interesting. I suppose with transmitters keeping everyone informed around the world, my only concern would be the lag getting to you, if you really do need help. I've been out there in the Channel were visibility was nil. I couldn't even see my escort boat, fortunately there was a big escort boat near me that I just followed until mine found me. My big problem is getting to the "half way" point about an hour to 2 hours after everyone's passed it. It's a big big ocean out there too, and for us guys who like to punch out high and surf back low, we going miss the halfway point boats. But I guess for us old fashion paddlers with compass, no can go wrong if maintain 270 all the way?

#4 Thu, 03/19/2009 - 8:58am

I have yet to cross the kaiwi on a oc1. That being said, I think this would make it more feasible for me to compete. I think the main reason to support this is the waste of fuel and resources and the impact it makes on the environment.
Can you take your own escort and not be required to cross the checkpoint?

#5 Thu, 03/19/2009 - 9:36am

This is so stupid! No escort boat is the dumbest thing to do. Do you want someone to die in the channel. Do you remember 2007 world championships? About 40 paddlers didn't finish the race. The conditions were light and variable, the channel was like a lake and felt like a 100 degrees. Paddlers were dropping out after about 20 miles into the race. What if this year has no wind again! Paddlers were vomiting and couldn't even sit on their ski without flipping over. How do you expect to gather 30 to 40 ski's when the paddler taps out. You going call the Superferry to come pick up all the ski's in the water. You expect a paddler feeling sick to just hold on to their ski and wait for a boat to come by. What if a boat doesn't come by for a long time? Then the coast guard goto come out and look for a missing paddler. What if the conditions are 30 knot winds with 12 foot seas. And a paddler some how falls off his ski and gets seperated from his ski. You expect the paddler to thread water until help comes.

#6 Thu, 03/19/2009 - 3:01pm

Ah... the 2007 Molo Solo, I remember it like it was yesterday - its permanently scorched into my brain...

#7 Thu, 03/19/2009 - 3:54pm

I see 1 problem. How are people supposed to get their stuff back to Oahu? Stuff like extra clothing, phones, wallets and a tone more stuff. Would you just have to carry a wet bag with all your essentials on your boat? You can pack light but there is a limit.

#8 Thu, 03/19/2009 - 6:32pm

What about water? When you run out, just raise your hand and your server will pour you some nice ice cold water! Or just carry 5 gallons on your back!

#9 Thu, 03/19/2009 - 7:21pm

check yourself before you wreck yourself. Calling the organizers stupid wont help you -especially if your said scenario ever does happen to you.
I would think they have considered the appropriate number of escorts needed and a system to insure there is support for all participants to be bailed out if need be.

#10 Fri, 03/20/2009 - 12:34am

If in 2007 40 paddlers didnt finish the race it was BECAUSE they had escort boats , not the other way around. If quiting isnt an option then , you don`t quit.

Less support boats on the race course means that the paddlers have to be better prepared . More traditional that way anyway.

Real paddlers don`t need no stinkin support boat .

#11 Fri, 03/20/2009 - 1:55am

"Real paddlers don`t need no stinkin support boat."

I cant wait to hear the fallout from this little statement. I saw the photos from the last Blackburn Challenge. Looks like boredom is the only challenge you are facing.

#12 Fri, 03/20/2009 - 2:21am

True that we do have more than our fair share of flatwater around here . Its a blessing for sure because the temperature of the water is at around 39 degrees right now. Barely gets up to 60 in the summer.

When the water is that cold , I like it nice and flat...... :)

#13 Fri, 03/20/2009 - 2:52am

Now that spring is officially here, the OC Messiah has awoken from his winter slumber in the tundra and is ready to let "you people" know how things should be done. It's an annual event and I'm not sure what all of the commotion is or why it comes as a surprise. You shall now rejoice.

As for the solo, everyone knows that if you've never paddled the race, or raced in Hawaii, you automatically know better than all of the people that have spent their lives paddling and racing there. They used to teach this stuff when you were a novice paddler. I guess times change.

#14 Fri, 03/20/2009 - 5:26am

Not only is your avatar a sweet picture of me, but you are frickin' funny too.

#15 Fri, 03/20/2009 - 6:14am

Seems like having to go thru a "check point" at the "mid point" of the race would make it a "one line" race. That's kind of lame. Part of the real challenge of the Kaiwi Channel is line or course selection.

#16 Fri, 03/20/2009 - 8:21am

From what I remember even some of the top surfski racers pull out in the first hour or so due to cramping, heat, injury from pushing so hard-this is the one race all of the paddlers want to win. We are not even thinking about equipment failure.

I think this is a bad idea and will have the paddlers paddle a little slower and more conservatively-also the average paddler will still probably get an escort boat anyway for safety. If the conditions get super hot and flat, they have a problem. If the conditions are smoking-6-12 foot surf and 25 MPH they have a problem. I wonder if they have received Coast Guard input on this plan.

#17 Fri, 03/20/2009 - 1:56pm

the first step would be to get it covered by a insurance company.

#18 Fri, 03/20/2009 - 4:42pm

policies for everyone!

#19 Fri, 03/20/2009 - 5:05pm

No escort boats in the channel? Doesn't sound like a very good idea. I've only raced the Hoe, but even when you're in the middle of the pack, w/ a hundred canoes and their escorts out there, there's still times when you can barely see anyone else. It's a big ocean. I hope everyone makes it OK.

#20 Fri, 03/20/2009 - 6:10pm

This also reminds me of 3 years ago when they changed the race course to add another 10 miles without much thought or discussion. Probably a handful of top surfskiers and EPIC management-who was putting up lots of money- made that decision and made this decision. So yes top 30 surfskiers in the world- will probably do fine without escort boats. The rest of the 100 surfski paddlers attempting to live their dream will pay for another escort boat, and I bet the people who end up getting their own escort boat-end up saving or picking up a few non-escort boat paddlers.

#21 Sun, 03/22/2009 - 6:42am


#22 Sun, 03/22/2009 - 3:15pm

A lot of people under estimate Hawaii waters, that's why they get hurt or die. Fuzerider would probably be one of them since he's pretty dumb! Saw the Kaiwi Channel today, small kine smoking out their!

#23 Sun, 03/22/2009 - 5:10pm

Im imagining a Keokea run x's 3 with no escort boat and barely being within sight of land? Fuze and you others who think its a good way to save like to see you out there and think no escort boat is a great idea. Im not saying it cannot be done, but doesnt mean its a good idea.

#24 Sun, 03/22/2009 - 5:59pm

i am stoked with this new format. not only will it save money for those who choose to race without an escort, it will allow some just to do the race. i have crosses the channel more than 20 times and the most serious injuries have been caused by the escort boat, not prevented by it. i also recall a few weeks ago over 20 one mans crossed the channel with 2 escorts, i don't remember the outrage then. if you choose to use an escort than great, if you choose not to than understand you may be lost and never seen again. maybe for the people who are so against this you could have your escort boat driver rinse and polish you boat than spoon feed you your dinner afterwards.
almost forgot to mention, i have cramped, broken a ski, and just decided i didn't want to put myself through that long hot flat year. i used my escort boat to pull out each time.
i will be racing without an escort this year, i'll have a lifejacket, vhf, and rescue marking dye. keep an eye out for me. ha, ha

#25 Sun, 03/22/2009 - 6:13pm

smonahan, how is a inexpericed paddler too get extra water if he runs out if he does not have a escort boat? Just too save money on a escort does not equal for your safety. You said, "escorts caused more injury" what if they were not there. Maybe there would of been deaths! Smonahan, you will not be using a escot this year, so if you need help in the water during the race, my escort captain can just smile and wave at you since you didn't want a escort! Cause you just wanted too save some money! And we can laugh ha ha when we don't pick you up! May be escort boats should charge $700 if a paddler needs help since he didn't want to pay for a escort.

#26 Sun, 03/22/2009 - 6:55pm

First off the paddle with the 21 people from Molokai with 2 escorts was safe because we each had a buddy partner and we stopped every 30 minutes. Even then we had a tough time trying to keep everyone together & it wasn't a super rough channel. My worry isn't so much for the experienced guys but more for the non experienced. At least the pros know what they r getting themselves in to. What bugs me is all it takes is one mistake & someone dies. It will ruin it for the rest of us. You think it is expensive now. Imagine the price it would cost if the coastguard forced stricter rules on us because of a death. Bottom line don't ruin it for all of us. How do you get a permit for something as idiotic as this? Does DLNR know this is the format. If you surfskis want to ruin it for yourselves that's fine but please make sure that the coastguard knows that us one mans aren't connected with the epic race.

#27 Sun, 03/22/2009 - 7:24pm

Amen to that Aukina3!!!

#28 Sun, 03/22/2009 - 7:28pm

Maybe making escort boats an option will be financially good for some paddlers, but for the vast majority it will be a must. Even if you were a top finisher. Your supporrt crew will play a big role in your gameplan to win or be as successful as possible. If you push as hard as possible, you will need a support boat to help you with currents, tides and strategy. Strategy also includes not carrying all your water needed to go all out for 4 hours. If people aren't getting escort boats for the race, then they are probably not thinking about winning.
What will happen if one of those escortless paddlers has a leak, loses their boat, or gets injured. Will we pass him up? Do you know how many donkeys pulled out of the race 3 years ago without an escort boat and began to ask the others for a ride back to Hawaii kai or even Ala Wai? These people become a safety issue to the others that do have escort boats. So, those that have escorts: will they have to stay in the boundaries? And if so, why? it's a point to point race.
Those 22 boats that came accross the channel: they went for a time, then collected up at designated intervals. you can do that as well without an escort boat, but you would just be doing a bunch of intervals and not really focusing on racing..
When Hawaiian racers go to say, Australia, we pay the going rate for an escort. We are told what it will cost and we all anti-up or look around for sponsors.That's what we do.
So, how many racers per escort? 3-7? How much does that guy make? Does he have to make the rounds to his paddlers to keep them watered down?What happens if one of them goes too far south and can't get back to the "bull pen"? Think about it.It's worth it to get your own escort boat.

#29 Sun, 03/22/2009 - 7:34pm

is having a personal escort boat safer than having many looking out for your safety should be the argument. i am not recomending, nor do i think the inexperienced paddler should choose not to have an escort.
aukina, what if 2 weeks ago the channel was as big as you were hoping for and 1 paddler got in trouble when his partner was one bump ahead. you know as well as anyone that you can loose someone in in a matter of seconds in a big channel. especially if they fall of their boat. remember 3 or 4 years ago you looking for me when my escort boat lost me. that was the year my ski broke and i was lucky enough that kala had found me and made 3 water drops before my ski broke and i had to be picked up. that was the second time i had relied on an escort for fluids and line and they had lost me.
i'm sure almost every experienced channel paddler has a story of losing their escort. i'd rather be prepared and maybe floating in my lifejacked having numberous escorts looking out for my safety than running out of fluids or losing my ski and swimming having only one boat looking for me.

#30 Sun, 03/22/2009 - 8:09pm

I agree with some the points on both sides of the fence on this one. Sure it's great to reduce the carbon footprint. However, with a decreased cost of competing in the channel will bring an increase in the # of paddlers. Within those paddlers will be more inexperienced ones which pose a threat to themselves, the race and others. I think it is not a wise decision to let this happen because as many have already stated there are too many variables, it is just not worth it.

But let's say it does are going to have to place much stricter entry requirements for paddlers in terms of their abilities. Sure the channel is 32 miles but on a screwed up day its more like 40 or more. Its never about distance its about time! Furthermore, pairing up paddlers with boats will be a logistical nightmare...think about it. You will have to limit the number of paddlers per escort based on capabilities of each escort boat and more importantly the driver. Paddlers will also have to be paired according to their relative speed in the pack. You're not gonna pair someone super fast with a slow paddler. How will you judge someones speed? Looking through past times.....very tedious, by the paddlers word.......not reliable. It would be very time consuming to make this happen and happen reliably.

This doesn't seem feasible all in the name of cutting costs and carbon. Lobby with state officials to get off burning oil for electricity if that is your argument on this one.

Another reason which is right under our noses....
The KA'IWI is called such for a reason!

#31 Sun, 03/22/2009 - 8:28pm

Good point sean. So each person should have there own escort boat and there should b extra boats looking out for everyone as well. U know that the officials won't be able to keep track of 5-7 guys. What you said just proves my point even more. Bottom line don't ruin it for everyone else.

#32 Sun, 03/22/2009 - 8:39pm

Last point and then i'm done. Would the coast guard approve? Would DLNR approve? Would the fire department search and rescue approve?

#33 Sun, 03/22/2009 - 9:51pm

Just a couple of points to bring this conversation back to reality. Here we are talking about surfskis crossing the Kaiwi (Molokai) Channel. Do you really think that there will be a bunch of inexperienced paddlers attempting this crossing on a surfski because of this rule change? How many of you on this forum have been on a surfski? You can race an OC-1 in your first year of paddling; that is not the case with a surfski which teaches ones humility much more readily. Anyone who even considers doing the Molokai on a surfski is not a beginner paddler.

I think that the decision to open this race with the non-personal escort option is a good thing. It will make it more available to certain people. But I do NOT think that it will encourage those that can't handle the channel to do it anyway. On the contrary, it will make those people think about their risk more thoroughly.

#34 Sun, 03/22/2009 - 10:23pm

how about if you make it a requirement for every paddler to have a waterproof GPS and VHF secured to their body. that way if they crash and burn they can radio their coordinates for help.

#35 Sun, 03/22/2009 - 10:45pm

Rachel, experience or inexperience, the ocean does not care! You could be the best paddler in the world, you are not a fish, you can't breathe under water. So it is always better safer than sorry.

#36 Sun, 03/22/2009 - 10:47pm

i don't think the intent is to have a single escort in charge of multiple paddlers. it is to have adequate coverage over the course equal to 5-7 paddlers per escort. the risk of paddling this race is great, no doubt. whether you paddle it relying on an escort boat for your safety or you paddle it relying on yourself for your safety, you are taking a chance. for those with an escort and no floatation device, no communication, and limited fluid on you craft, i sure hope you have a very good escort, or at the least you are a superb swimmer,16 miles of superbness.
as someone who has also spent time looking for lost paddlers, i would much rather be looking for a paddler with a lifejacket on than not. i have yet to see a paddler wearing one durring the channel, including myself. i do however have a new one for this year and i would hope the organizers make it mandatory for those who choose not to have an escort. do you honestly think every individual escort is even close to being prepared for an actual emergency? what do you think would happen to the guy who falls off his canoe and starts to panic and drown while having a 30 foot escort with 2 fisherman aboard? maybe after the escort takes the 5 minutes to turn around and get back to the paddler they can gaff him to get him on the boat. i think it can easily be argued that relying on an inexperienced escort while you have no safety equipment is more dangerous than having a full compliment of safety equipment and several backup escorts looking out for you.

#37 Sun, 03/22/2009 - 10:51pm

I rather be pulled out of the ocean in a couple of minutes by inexperienced fishermen then be drifting for hours wondering where are the backup boats are. What if your ski sinks, and no one sees you in the water. Big ocean out there. Its very hard to see your head in the big swells. What if the several backup escorts past you, no one will know your missing until the race is finshed.

#38 Sun, 03/22/2009 - 11:13pm

Listen to Aukina3. He is right on point.

Many escort boat drivers are no longer willing to escort because of the potential dangers involved, and do not have a prayer of getting affordable liability insurance because of it.

Things can go wrong real fast.

Hope for the best, plan for the worse.

#39 Sun, 03/22/2009 - 11:16pm

this is an unmoderated forum... anyone can write in and all are equal. yet, some have more time on the water and more perspective than others. i am with smonahan on this one... he doesn't hide his identity and i know his record on the water and in the channel.

smonahan knows what he is talking about. give him a little credit for that.

a higher quality of escorts looking out for the pack can be better than a higher number of escorts looking out for only their one craft.

what happened at the race yesterday? just because we were by the coast we weren't required escorts, yet people got in trouble right? i heard 2 boats sank. sure we were close to shore so you can swim in if you need to, but did that make the job of the escorts less important? did people have to think more carefully before entering long course instead of short? there was way less escort coverage on that 20 mile race course than the proposed one escort boat per 5-7 paddlers across the channel.

give the darwin award if it applies, otherwise help those who are prepared to help themselves.

#40 Sun, 03/22/2009 - 11:25pm

i guess the point i am trying to make, after being run over by my escort, after my wife being run over by her escort,(both extremely experienced) after having 2 escorts lose me for the entire channel, and having an escort point me in the wrong direction, i am willing to take my safety into my own hands.
jaie, i have been a lifeguard or firefighter for over 20 years, it only takes seconds to drown. i would rather float in the channel for days than have to rely on an escort to save me when it really counts.
the best advice i can give, whether you have an escort or not, is to enter this race prepared as if you do not have one.
many paddlers enter these races relying on an escort to possibly have to save their life, having never even met them before. i am sorry but i reserve that amount of confidence to a very select few. good topic, good conversation, good night.

#41 Sun, 03/22/2009 - 11:38pm

At the risk of sounding self promoting... I've done the channel a couple of times or so in surfski, paddle board, OC1 and OC6. I would never, ever dream of doing a crossing without an escort boat. The" time share" escort concept doesn't interest me either.

#42 Mon, 03/23/2009 - 6:28am

Sean is very well qualified which even more is the reason he knows who enters these races and knows as well as I do that this might be a good idea for him to save money and for the event organizers to attract more people to enter so they can make more money. You guys still never answered my questions above. Do you think that those agency's would approve. Sean if you need someone that is a good escort I've done it for you before never lost you, never ran you over and in fact got in the water to hold you upright while you cramped. For gosh sakes you own your own boat and so does kevin allen for that matter. I know shit happens sometimes and I think the lifejackets are a good idea, but answer me this. Would your fire captain approve of this not for you but for everyone on the course. I think NOT! I feel like i should do the right thing and let the coasties, and DLNR know what you guys plan to do so they can be on standby, or better yet so they know that its not related to the 1 man race.

#43 Mon, 03/23/2009 - 7:14am

i hate to put this bluntly, but some people need to wise up about their own safety. a lot of paddlers are racing under the assumption that their escort boat is there for their safety, this is a false sence of security. sure they probably could help out for most issues, but who would be better off, the paddler who fell unconcious into the water from heat exaustion wearing their mandatory lifejacket without an escort, or the guy who did the same with an escort. if you pick the latter you are not a wise man.
aukina, you know as well as anyone that every solo race there are lost paddlers, some for minutes, some for hours. you also know you can race the entire middle of that channel and not see another boat. i am not here telling people not to use an escort. i am strongly suggesting you take your safety into your own hands. i would rather rely on a lifejacket, vhf radio, and rescue marking dye.
one year i cramped in this race and had to pull out. ten seconds after i got onto my escort boat my entire body cramped and seized. i had lost 16 pounds due to dehydration. if i had decided to pull the plug 11 seconds later i would have sank to the bottom of that channel. there was not a soul on that escort that would have gotten to me in time. i will chose the safety of a lifejacket over an escort boat anyday when it really counts.

#44 Mon, 03/23/2009 - 9:03am

After talking with sean we both agree that the safest would be for everyone to have equipment on their boat (ie lifejacket, vhf radio, marking die, etc) as well as an escort boat. We both know that it probably won't happen until the race organizers make it mandatory. All I can say is if you choose to race without an escort and you don't take any safety equipment with you, then you have no respect for the ocean and when you least expect it something will happen. SO PLEASE BE SAFE! GET THE PROPER SAFETY EQUIPMENT AND DONT BE AFRAID TO TAKE IT WITH YOU JUST BECAUSE ITS NOT THE COOL THING TO DO! GOOD LUCK!

#45 Mon, 03/23/2009 - 9:44am

It could be a Idea to get one of these just in case, it couldn't hurt, just the wallet. they go for around 600$

GPS homing device for boats lost at sea from ACR electronics

As warm weather lures more boaters out to the water, one way for passengers to stay safe is to pack GPS or radio-tracking systems. Then, if a vessel capsizes far from shore or anyone gets swept overboard, search-and-rescue teams can find the boat or person.


#46 Mon, 03/23/2009 - 10:20am

Kden, smonahan, I know you one World Champion paddler, but I still trying for figure out for my own personal safety, how you wear one life jacket at the same time you paddling prone on your paddleboard and not kneeling? Which brand work? I get one life jacket that work good with ski and oc-1, but the buggah too thick in the chest area for paddleboard. If you know of one rash guard style jacket with flotation on the back, please let us paddlers know? Mahalo.
ps: I've been there where I lose my ski in the Channel, but your mind is on racing and not on safety, so you no think about the danger until the next day and what could have happen.

#47 Mon, 03/23/2009 - 10:26am

Very interesting discussion regarding the 2009 Epic Molokai World Championships. It appears to me that some of the comments are being made without full knowledge of the facts and the considerations being made by the race organizer and sponser. Furthermore some of the statements being made illustrate a complete lack of knowledge regarding the behind the scenes complexities of putting on a world class race.

I feel qualified to make these statements based on my past experience in running this particular race when it was sponsored by the Bank of Hawaii; my years serving on the BOD of Kanaka Ikaika and the Maui Canoe & Kayak Club; my 10 years as a participant in this race (many as a top 10 finisher); and an avid paddler for over 20 years.

Here is some accurate information regarding this year’s Molokai World Championships Surfski Race:

• Escort Boats are an option – it is recommended that you use an escort boat. By recognizing that larger numbers of paddlers are choosing to go without escort boats regardless of the official race requirements, the race organizers are addressing a safety issue (this has been an issue dating back to the early 90’s).

• The increased entry fee will put more safety boats (approximate ratio of 1 safety boat for every 5-7 paddlers) – these are not “group escort boats.” This is a greater number of safety boats than any other race.

• The number of non-escort boat entries is estimated to be a 70/30 ratio of escorted paddlers (70%) and non-escorted paddlers (30%).

To address some misinformed comments:

• The race does not make any money for the organizers – it is a break even venture at best and has cost the organizer/sponsor money the last several years. Please do not disparage a sponsor without real knowledge of what it takes to put on a race of this type.

• The Waypoint – this does change the race and has been designed as a safety feature that will help to keep the participants together – race strategy will undoubtedly change and the 2nd half of the race will become even more exciting. This feature will also help the non-elite or less experienced paddlers navigate the channel correctly. Each year a group inadvertently heads to Kaneohe or Kauai – this will help to alleviate that problem.

It is my understanding that some discussion continues due to the logistics of marking and holding a waypoint in the middle of the channel; best to take a wait and see approach as this new aspect of the race is considered - it may not even be included.

This is a feature in other world class racing events.

• Safety Equipment – this is straight from the race website - Safety Equipment: All competitors will need to have a cell phone, life jacket, leash from ski to person, flare. Race committee may also require IPERB GPS type units.

If you are doing the race I’m sure that you will be receiving a detailed list of safety requirements. I’m sure that this is also subject to change or additional requirements as the organizers review the safety measures in place relative to the number of participants, etc.

• Course – the race will finish at Koko Marina again this year. The actual mileage is measured at approximately 28 miles by GPS from start to finish. The race has twice finished in Waikiki in its history – bravo to the organizers for the attempt to broaden the exposure and marketing appeal of the sport in 2007; for recognizing the difficulty of a Waikiki finish in adverse weather conditions; and reverting back to the most traditional course in 2008.

#48 Tue, 03/24/2009 - 4:38pm

i think a big point is being missed much is a life worth? yes, many can and will paddle without an escort. and they might be fine. but the ocean has no favorites, experienced or non..the ocean doesnt allow many second chances. shit happens out there. all it wiil take is 1 bad moment. then watch the coast guard and DLNR come down hard on every race.every one will suffer should something happen.does the race have insurance? are the organizers covered? you better believe if someone goes missing the race will be in deep financial kimchee...and it might be just fine and everyone will have a nice paddle and all this will be raised again next year.

#49 Tue, 03/24/2009 - 7:35pm

Considering that today's conditions (3.24) might just be the same on race day, I wonder,what rational SS or OC1, would want to go escortless or time shared? Last but not least, consider two physically equal racing paddlers, with equal equiptment and ocean knowledge. I'd put my money on the one who had an escort boat. I think it's refered to as race management or covering your competition. Good night smonahan, Good night youngbuck. Goodnight aukina3.

#50 Tue, 03/24/2009 - 8:06pm

well i think that if the organizers want to give the option of using escorts or not, then they should. but i also think that they should make everyone fill out a questionnaire like how it is to do the paa solo, where you have to paddle in at least like 3 large races? and over a year of paddling experience. i was talking to my dad about this topic, and the only thing he had to say about it was what if the clouds fill in and people cant see oahu from the start?
i know a really good paddler who told me a story about when it mustve been like in 88 or 89 he went to race the solo on his ski, and the conditions were so big and chaotic that his escort boat wouldnt drive over the night before. i dont think it fazed him, but somehow he met some guys from his canoe club that were just cruising over to fish, and party i guess, well somehow he talked them into escorting him. and they would tape 4 botles of juice to his ski and then they would tell him follow that guy, some australian up ahead. and every two hours or so the guys would come back show him the fish that they caught. then they would bail again. now the conditions that paddler told me that the swells were larger than like a two story house, and he said it was like you would yank all your hardest, then brace as hard as you could with his paddle and the ski would literally skip down the wave, he told me that he never saw molokai conditions that big ever since, well the morale of the story is that this paddler didnt have an escort boat and most likely a pfd either, but he was the first hawaii finisher, and it was the best downwind run of his life. what he told me at least.

#51 Tue, 03/24/2009 - 9:04pm

maybe first hand knowledge will help this topic along. my first molokai, right after my escort checked in with me at the 30 min mark then got swamped. i didn't see them for 2 1/2 hours. i saw one other boat in that time and it was too far away to contact. my second molokai my escort hit me and knocked me off my ski. small bump on the head but i was able to continue. my fourth molokai i cramped and pulled out mid channel. immediatly after getting on my escort my entire body cramped and i was curled up on the floor of my escort screaming in agony. four years ago after my escort first checked in with me they then lost me. they didn't find me until 2 miles outside of portlock.
if i had tried to pull out 11 seconds later on my 4th molokai i would have drown, for real, no doubt! if anything would have happened durring the many hours i spent alone with my escort looking for me i might have had some serious difficulties as well. if i had been wearing a lifejacket for any of these issues, i would have been safe. if you are under the impression that your escort will be there for you at all times you may end up being dead wrong.
don't missunderstand, i think a personal escorts can be great for almost every issue that comes up, almost. i would highly encourage anyone who even has a second thought about it to get their own escort. i do however feel that if you wear a lifejacket, have communications, and a signaling device, you are covered in case of an emergency 99 percent of the time, not just when your escort is next to you. an escort won't help you for that last one percent either.
the safest way to race this race is with a lifejacket, safety equipment, and an escort. the second safest is with a lifejacket and safety equipment. the least safe is with an escort and no lifejacket or safety equipment. that is a fact!!
this race, having at least some of it's participants required to have safety equipment is being run safer than any previous solo race.

#52 Tue, 03/24/2009 - 11:30pm

One point I think some people are still missing is that Sean is saying is that by having a dedicated escort, your safety is NOT necessarily improved. You probably have a better chance of survival if you experience some kind of failure and floated in the channel with your PFD on, marking die, VHF radio, and an EPIRB or Personal Locator Beacon rather than if you had none of those on your ski and relied on your escort boat to pick you up. In SECONDS you can be seperated from your ski, who's to say your escort, even 50 yards away, will find you? Who's to say then don't come over a swell and land on your head? That has almost happened to me and it was during an Ocean Rescue. I am firefighter and was escorting victims in the water from a wrecked sailboat 2 miles in the Pailolo Channel (Maui-Molokai) when a coast guard boat came right over a swell and almost came down on me, another rescuer, and 2 victims. That should also go to show you that just because a person or agency (such as the coast guard) may be experienced in assisting in maritime distress, Hawaii's ocean conditions can still overwhelm and confuse anyone.

My two cents?
-Everyone should have their own personal escort, AND Epic should throw down for these additional safety boats, 5-7 per paddler, to follow the pack across the whole channel. Too many boats? Come on, how many are out there for the Hoe? I've down the Kaiwi Challenge and not seen another single OC-1 or escort boat for miles (probably also cause I was at the very back, hehe). Carbon Footprint? BS. What was it worth to save fuel emissions from 20 escort boats if one person perishes? Okay, it's not a common occurrence or has never happened. What if it happens for the first time 15 years from now? Now, what was it worth to save the fuel emissions from the 400+ escort boats that never made the crossing over the last 15 if one person perishes?

-EPRIBS should be MANDATORY, no if ands or buts.

-Aukina3, of course those agencies should be notified and even further, a rep from each should be invited by Epic to participate in the planning process of the event. I wouldn't even enter this race if I thought that Epic hadn't already done this. Just because we have gotten away with something for so long, doesn't mean it was safe. We are only under that assumption til something goes wrong.

Sorry guys, I know I sound like 'Mom & Dad' right now, the old fuddy-duddy, overprotective, bandaging-a-scrape-when-you-fell-off-your-bike guy, but I just turned 28 last week and am bummed out about being older. SAFETY is what it is all about. I'm sure the top guys and gals like Robbo and Lauren could do this race with no escort, but I don't think the escort logistical problems being served up here are the answers. What if someone does get hurt? The worst and most obvious is they die and leave treasured loved ones behind, but also consider the legal ramifications. What if it was a foreigner? Now they sue the C&C, the State, unrealistic and improper safety measures, now maybe NO MORE CHANNEL RACE, ANY DISCIPLINE, FOR ANYONE.

One last thing: like Rachel said, not to be a dick, but how many people commenting here have been on a surf ski? This affects the Epic Molokai paddlers, not the Paa Solo paddlers. Not saying everyone's opinion doesn't count or shouldn't be heard. Just saying you may be talking about something you don't fully understand. Listen to the experienced people here, like Sean. They are trying to give good advice and some people are not hearing it.

#53 Wed, 03/25/2009 - 8:24am

I agree with everything Kino says except for 28 being old.

#54 Wed, 03/25/2009 - 4:25pm

Kino, I'm 38... how should I feel ? ;-)

#55 Wed, 03/25/2009 - 5:08pm

Gezzus give me a break ... I'm nearly 58 and probably die mid channel anyway with or without a an SB.


#56 Wed, 03/25/2009 - 5:35pm

We need someone who's 68 here... Anyone ?

#57 Wed, 03/25/2009 - 7:34pm

Yeah I was all on board with him until the crack about being old at 28.

#58 Wed, 03/25/2009 - 9:23pm

Haha, i'm so sorry guys, let me tell you a quick story. Off topic, but you'll love it.

When I was in my teens, I learned on a surf ski before an OC1. I was given this old C-Ski that I treasured and took out every day, even during the off season. It was me and my boat, like a little boy and his dog. Eventually I took to other interests and no longer took that surf ski out. It lived on the 'dinosaur' rack outside Hawaiian Canoe Club for 12 years. If any of you remember that rack, it was the old bus' up C-Ski with about 20 patches, a light blue deck, and a faded bumper sticker that said,"Life's Too Short To Dance with Ugly Women". For the record, I didn't put that sticker on the boat.
One day last year, someone let me know that they were taking any unclaimed boats to the dump. I decided to saddle up, go pick up my boat, and assess the damage. It was fixable. Probably more of a flatwater, Lahaina-shoreline type boat, no longer in shape for Maliko runs. So I get going on the long, tedious chore of refinishing the hull. I wanna leave the deck intact, just like how I remembered it (minus the sticker, of course).
After weeks of labor, my boat is ready. First time I'm taking this boat out in almost 13 years. I see it now, I'm back in my glory days. Coincidentally, it happens to be my birthday (March 19th). Good coincidence, right?
I get to the beach right at dawn, water looks warm and malie, couldn't be any better. As I unpack my boat, I'm thinking of how fantastic this is and start to visualize myself doing this every morning. Here it comes, all back. The obsession, the love, the lust to paddle everyday again. I grab my blade and head down to the water.
The water is warm, just as I had imagined, and I scoop it up and slowly pour it over my boat, making the faded paint seem new again, just for a second. I'm Ready. I jump it comes...I don't fit. I push back really hard, and I'm in. As snug as I can be, but I'm in. I start to paddle, and I start to glide, but something is not right. Every minute that passes, my glide seems to be lessened. After 15 minutes, I finally turn around and head back to my starting point. I get to the beach, pop out, and see the cold, hard reality: the teenager that used to paddle and weighed 165 lbs is now a man who weighs 230 lbs and has added 4 inches to his waist. I inspect my seat, and find that I have pushed it out so hard, I have ripped a huge gap in the seam between the deck and the hull about 16 inches and have taken on what appears to be endless amounts of water in just 30 minutes because of it. The sad part of this story is that it is actually driven by vanity and ultimately, I need to just get over myself. So there's the reason for my 'getting old at 28' comment.

If I offended anyone, I hope you accept my apologies and go ahead and have a laugh at my expense. Aloha guys and gals.

Now, back to the matter at hand...

#59 Wed, 03/25/2009 - 10:26pm

I promess I won't laugh !

#60 Wed, 03/25/2009 - 11:08pm

Right on Graf,
And go bring back L.J. and his Escort Boats Hawaii for take care the escorts and the classic 4 point diamond envelope plus rovers for patrol, including spotters in the air?

#61 Wed, 03/25/2009 - 11:16pm

pfd's do sound like a good idea, i know i would never wear one unless i was given an ultimatum, but its the truth, they can help save a life.

did anyone ever see the magnum p.i. when his helicopter buddy dropped him off in the middle of the channel, and then out of nowhere he got run over by a speed boat, then he got attacked by a shark, and after like four days of floating around, someone finally found him?

#62 Thu, 03/26/2009 - 12:42am

PFDs are a lousy idea for primary safety equipment for paddling sports.

Safety equipment should be viewed in order of importance. Since water can either drown you or freeze you to death, or both , The first order of business is to get out of the water. A leash is primary for doing this because if your boat blows away from you, you wont be getting out of the water right away.
Second in importance is a PFD because it helps to keep your head above water and like Jim said , even in cold water you
ll live longer if you can continue to breath.

Here in Maine people that die in the water dont simply drown , they first get incapacitated by the cold and then drown because they cant move thier muscles to swim.

Hypothermia is far more dangerous than the water.

Arguably ,third in importance is to paddle with other people , if other people are with you your chances of surviving a disaster are much improved .

There are lots of other precautions a paddler can take to be safe but these 3 will probably save most people that are having a bad day on the water.

#63 Fri, 03/27/2009 - 3:12am

I thought magnum lost his surfski, then his paddle, then had to tread water for 24 hours?

I have never been in the channel, yet. This year will be my first but I would never think of it without an escort boat. After hearing smonohan though I would put some thought into a pfd if they are small enough.

#64 Thu, 03/26/2009 - 1:22am

I think magnum lost his surfski and then got caught in the "molokai express"
I think Rick then had some psychic sense of where he was and used the King Kam's yacht to find him.

I wonder how epic worked out the insurance deal with this new escort boat policy. Interesting. Makes for good OCP reading.

I'm not sure what my take is yet on this issue. If I were racing I'd still have an escort boat.

#65 Thu, 03/26/2009 - 9:16am

i guess fuze rider has yet to break a boat. my friend was paddling in relatively flat water and came across a guy tied to his boat that was five feet below him after it broke and sank. he untied the shoe string and saved the guys life.

#66 Thu, 03/26/2009 - 2:08pm

PFDs are good, especially in cold water. W/ out a PFD, you will quickly drown after hypothermia sets in, because you can no longer use your body to swim. Having a PFD can keep you alive for quite awhile after becoming hypothermic, greatly increasing the chances of rescue. Rambo has an excellent video about this.

#67 Thu, 03/26/2009 - 2:42pm


I thought the "Molokai Express" was that big wave the surfer used to get off Gilligan's Island.

#68 Thu, 03/26/2009 - 4:10pm

I guess fuzerider has one of those newfangled leashes that swim you in 6 miles to shore when your boat sinks to the bottom of the ocean. Or the other one that calls coastguard for you when your boat breaks in half and hypothermia makes it impossible to use your cell phone.

Man if all you need is your leash it must do some badass tricks.

#69 Thu, 03/26/2009 - 4:11pm

it's a Dakine no doubt

#70 Thu, 03/26/2009 - 7:55pm

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