The Molokai2Oahu Paddleboard World Championships, acclaimed as "the world's most challenging paddle race" took place on Sunday in the open waters of Hawaii. This 32-mile journey, across the 2,300ft deep Ka'iwi Channel that connects the Islands of Molokai and Oahu, has challenged athletes since the first organized outrigger race in 1952.
Four of our leading ladies, Harriet Brown, Lizzie Welborn, Maddie Spencer and Terrene Black, cleaned up the competition; Harriet, Lizzie, and Maddie taking out gold, silver and bronze respectively in the Paddleboard Solo, with Terrene winning the Stand-Up Paddleboard Solo, all completing the 52km challenge in under 6½ hours. Aussie gals can paddle! Our hearts are exploding with admiration and pride 😍😁
HARRIET BROWN - 5:51:32 - 1st Female PDB SOLO
LIZZIE WELBORN - 5:56:19 - 2nd Female PDB SOLO
MADDIE SPENCER - 6:18:32 - 3rd Female PDB SOLO
TERRENE BLACK - 5:25:27 - 1st Female SUP SOLO
Jess was there to witness the action firsthand, aboard Harriet's support boat.
The days leading up to the big event were filled with Hawaiian happiness - photoshoots, befriending wild piglets, resting and relaxing (well, attempts at relaxing, alongside an extremely non-relaxed Harriet). Friday arvo, we jumped on a teeny tiny prop plane to Molokai, where the serious race-prep began. Race briefing, media interviews, nutrition prep, etc, etc.
RACE DAY began at 5:15am; smashed a huge breakfast, then warm up, plus a few last minute hiccups (Harriet's drink holder was nowhere to be found... cue minor freakout). Upon arriving at the beach, the traditional pre-race Pule' [Hawaiian Prayer] brought us all together for a quiet moment, before the enormity of what was about to happen settled in. The Solo Paddleboard Division kicked off at 7:30am, the beginning of nearly six hours of ultimate commitment and perseverance - Harriet dubbed this year's crossing as "the hardest 52km race I have ever done both mentally and physically". Over the next five hours my job was the drink b!tch; it was my responsibility to keep Harriet hydrated and motivated throughout the race, doing drink bottle swaps whenever she needed, which meant jumping off the boat and swimming out into the middle of the channel holding a fresh drink bottle of electrolyte and other gels high above my head so she could snatch it out of my hand as she flew past. Keeping motivation high also meant singing to Haz from the boat, not sure if she really loved my rendition of "Just keep paddling" but I gave it my best.. There's a strong possibility she paddled faster to escape hearing it hour upon hour..
Sighting the finish line was an immense feeling of relief; there were real moments of despair, uncertainty, pain and exhaustion, but we all knew she could do it. And she did it. She won. TWO TIME MOLOKIA2OAHU CHAMPION, Harriet is one crazy badass woman!! Witnessing the grit and determination it took to cross that evil looking channel and watching her dig deep when her mind and body just wanted to give up, she truly is an inspiration to so many people!