Australian Jamie Mitchell claims 10th consecutive title over 32-mile open ocean crossing. Connor Baxter and Jordan Mercer stun the paddling world with strength and poise to become youngest solo champions in both prone and SUP divisions.
Sunday, July 31, 2011 produced favorable race conditions with 15 to 20-knot winds and eight foot swells. Athletes at the 15th Annual Molokai-2-Oahu Paddleboard World Championship (M2O), presented by Longboard Island Lager took advantage by setting records in each division and class over the 32-mile crossing of the Ka’iwi Channel – also known as the Molokai Channel. A record sold out field competed on both prone and stand-up paddleboards.
View latest pre-race video in pane to right by Soul Surf Media – 72 hours to race day in anticipation of Mitchell’s 10-for-10.
Australia’s Jamie Mitchell won an unprecedented tenth consecutive world championship in a record time of 4 hours, 40 minutes, 31 seconds, beating his 2007 record (4:48:23) by eight minutes. The 34-year-old stood in victory on his 18-foot unlimited class paddleboard as he drifted across the finish line, pumping his hands to the sky before jumping in to Maunalua Bay
“It’s my fastest time, but it didn’t feel like it,” Mitchell said referring to the varying winds and currents. “It feels great to set the record. I’m not looking too far ahead, but this may be my last world championship on a traditional paddleboard. This is a great way to move on to a new challenge, but I just want to enjoy this feeling for a while.”
Mitchell’s possible departure from the prone class leaves others to wonder if they could have ever beaten the 10-for-10 champion known as Mitcho.
Mitchell is a newlywed and will soon relax on his honeymoon.
As the finish line announcer yelled, “It’s Baxter time,” the men’s stand-up paddleboard (SUP) division welcomed a new, young champion in Connor Baxter. The 16-year-old from the island of Maui finished in 4:26: 10, taking down Dave Kalama’s record time from 2010 (4:54:15) by nearly 30 minutes.
Baxter’s win didn’t come without feeling of total exhaustion that is often experienced by the athletes who challenge the Molokai Channel.
“I found the lucky line,” Baxter said. “When I turned down (in to the bay) I took the lead. “I’m stoked to be here and I can’t wait to go lie down.”
A teenager also prevailed in the women’s prone paddleboard division. In her first attempt at the Molokai Channel, Australian Jordan Mercer, 17, crushed the women’s record set in 2004 (5:53:49) by Kanesa Duncan Seraphin by more than 30 minutes at 5:22:31. The humble champion described her record as a bonus, but was real about the enormity of the race.
“To finish this race is such a mean feat in itself,” said Mercer. “I don’t think I can describe how hard that was and I don’t think anyone can prepare you for the pain that I just experienced.”
Mercer’s father Darren has crossed the channel six times, but never on a board and never solo. He took pride in his daughter’s accomplishment of being the first in the family to successfully cross solo.
Both Baxter and Mercer are the youngest solo champions in M2O World Championship history.
Also joining the ranks with Mercer and Baxter is Haile Harrison, 16, winner of the stock SUP division with a time of 6:24:48. Haile is the youngest solo woman to make the crossing in event history.
Andrea Moller staged a repeat performance from 2010, finishing at the top of the women’s SUP field in a time of 5:26:51. She beats her record of 6:00:00. The big wave surfer wanted to come back this year and enjoy competing in a record field of female racers.
“I am proud of all these girls who are training so hard for this race – it will only make the sport stronger,” Moller said. “Crossing the Molokai Channel is a dream.”
Moller, 31, teared up when she was asked about her daughter and her thoughts about the youth of the sport.
“Win or lose, I know I have a cute little daughter at home,” Moller said. “I know I am an example to her and her friends and it is motivating to be able to teach them a love for the ocean.”
Eric Abbott, 24, from Oahu continued his dominance in the prone division on a stock board, winning in a time of 5:26:59.
Andrew Logreco, 26, also from Oahu won the men’s stock SUP race for the second time in 5:13:45. He bests his 2010 time of 5:25:53.
Men’s Top Three Prone Finishers (Unlimited Class)
- Jamie Mitchell, 34, Australia, 4:40:31
- Brad Gaul, 32, Australia, 4:47:45
- Jackson English, 34, Australia, 4:53:03
Men’s Top Three SUP Finishers (Unlimited Class)
- Connor Baxter, 16, USA (Maui), 4:26:10
- Scott Gamble, 35, USA (Oahu), 4:30:10
- Livio Menelau, 33, Brazil (Maui), 4:33:13
Women’s Top Three Prone Finishers (Unlimited Class)
- Jordan Mercer, 17, Australia, 5:22:31
- Kanesa Duncan Seraphin, 35, USA (Kauai), 5:50:19
- Candace Appleby, 25, USA (Oahu), 6:10:41
Women’s Top Three SUP Finishers (Unlimited Class)
- Andrea Moller, 31, Brazil (Maui), 5:26:51
- Talia Gangini, 18, USA, Maui, 5:30:57
- Annabel Anderson, 30, New Zealand, 5:34:00
Men’s Top Three Prone Paddleboard (Stock Class)
- Eric Abbott, 24, USA (Oahu), 5:26:59
- Cameron Cole, 23, Australia, 5:35:18
- Bert Charlton, 43, USA (Oahu) 5:41:05
Women’s Prone Paddleboard (Stock Class)
- Joanna Bilancieri, 37, USA (Oahu), 6:39:02
Men’s Top Three SUP (Stock Class)
- Andrew Logreco, 26, USA (Oahu), 5:13:45
- Armie Armstrong, 40, New Zealand, 5:28:56
- Simon Dodd, 33, USA (Oahu), 6:10:19
Women’s SUP (Stock class)
- Haile Harrison, 16, USA (Oahu), 6:24:48
About The Molokai-2-Oahu Paddleboard World Championship
Celebrating its 15th anniversary on Sunday, July 31, 2011, the Molokai-2-Oahu Paddleboard World Championships, presented by Longboard Island Lager. is recognized as one of the world’s most challenging tests for endurance and courage. Covering 32 miles of open-ocean, over 250 competitors will cross the Ka’iwi (kah-EE-vee) Channel, from the North Shore of Molokai to the South Shore of Oahu, under their own power on prone paddleboards or stand-up paddleboards (SUP). The fastest athletes complete the crossing in just under five hours, facing treacherous currents, powerful swells and a depth of nearly one kilometer. Paddlers can ride swells for 100s of yards.
Competitors can choose to race as a solo paddler or as part of a team in either the unlimited class (no size limit and with a movable rudder system) or stock class (12 feet or under for paddleboard, 14 foot or under in SUP with fixed rudder).
The organizers and athletes of the Molokai-2-Oahu Paddleboard World Championship thank the valued partners for making the annual race possible. Partners include (alphabetically): Dukes, Garmin, Hotel Renew, Longboard Island Lager, Maui Jim, Patagonia, Rogue, Sambazon, Scott Hawaii, Standup Paddle Magazine, Wahoos and Waterman’s Sunscreen.