Gold Coast resident Cory Hill has won the 2018 Molokai Challenge, winning the legendary ocean paddling race from Molokai to Hawaii Kai, Oahu in a record time of 3:15:09 and breaking the 21-year old record of fellow Australian Dean Gardiner (3:21:26).
The 2017 ICF Ocean Paddling World Champion won the 2018 Maui Jim Molokai Challenge title ahead of South African duo of ICF Marathon World Champion Hank McGregor and Jasper Mocke in the 43rd edition of the event on Sunday (27 May 2018).
Hill led the fast pack into Koko Marina, crossing the finish line in 3 hours, 15 minutes and 9 seconds, just 20 seconds ahead of defending champion Hank McGregor of South Africa. It was Hill’s second victory of the 53km race — the 29-year-old finished in 3:22:17 in 2015 — and over 30 minutes faster than his 3:45:50 last year when he finished third.
The Kaiwi Channel delivered swells and favourable tide to see a record-breaking race with the top five paddlers staying under the record pace and six Australians amongst the top ten solo paddlers.
“To come in first in this race, with so much history, is something special,” said Hill, paddling in his sixth Molokai Challenge. “We had some of the greatest conditions the race has seen. The last five years all we’ve heard about is the good years, and to finally get a taste of that, to see what it is all about, is just an honour to be out in that channel”
“You’ve got 32 miles in your language and 52 kilometers in ours, it’s hectic out there. There’s always that hope in the back of your head (for a record). I knew I could do it if everything turned out right. Some of my great mates have won this race, some of my idols. I can’t wait to have a beer with my good friend Dean Gardiner and tell him how much better we are these days.”
Australian Tegan Fraser (QLD) backed up her win at the Australian Canoe Marathon Champs with a fourth place in the women’s field. Fraser will be representing Australia at the ICF World Marathon Championships in Portugal in September
There were number of other Queenslanders that took on the challenge of the Molokai, among those three-time champion Clint Robinson (Sunshine Coast Paddlesports Club), who finished 5th in 3:18:51. Jeremy Cotter (Gold Coast Kayak & Canoe), who was fifth in the 2017 World Ocean Racing Championship, came 8th with his two relay partners Shannon Eckstein and Caine Eckstein. Queensland Canoeing board director Tim Fitzsimmons (Brisbane Paddling Club) raced to the finish line in 3:46:46 landing him the 22nd overall place in the competition.
The 2018 Maui Jim Molokai Challenge saw a record field of 178 paddlers registered competing on solo and double surfskis, and one-man outriggers (OC1).
|5||3:18:51||Solo||Clint||Robinson||45||M 40-49||Sunshine Coast Paddlesports Club|
|8||3:24:33||Relay-3||Jeremy||Cotter||32||M 19-50||Gold Coast Kayak & Canoe|
|20||3:45:35||Solo||Hayden||Lester||23||M 19-29||AC Direct Member|
|22||3:46:46||Solo||Tim||Fitzsimmons||42||M 40-49||Brisbane Paddling Club|
|23||3:47:23||Solo||Brad||Hagan||41||M 40-49||Indooroopilly Canoe Club|
|26||3:49:09||Relay-2||Hayden||Cooper||20||M 19-50||Varsity Lakes Paddlers Club|
|52||4:13:29||Solo||Tegan||Fraser||31||F 30-39||Indooroopilly Canoe Club|
|61||4:23:09||Solo||Mick||Herden||48||M 40-49||Currumbin Creek Paddlers Club|
|82||4:54:36||Solo||Bill||Murray||66||M 64+||Sandgate Canoe Club|
For all results: http://www.kanakaikaika.com/maui-jim-molokai-challenge-2018/
For original article from Australian Canoeing: http://canoe.org.au/2018/05/30/cory-hill-wins-2018-molokai-challenge/
© Part of this article was originally published by Australian Canoeing