Hank McGregor WINS Molokai 2016

The 2016 edition of the Molokai surfski race is now in the books. Conditions today did not favor the racers with high temperatures and little help from the wind and waves. 

Hank McGregor pulled off another victory at Molokai, finishing ahead of Sean Rice in second, Jasper Mocke in third, Clint Robinson in fourth and Joey Hall in fifth.

The race was led by Cory Hill, with Hank McGregor following and Sean Rice coming in from a northerly approach. In a heartbreaking turn of events, with Hill leading into China Wall, he ground into a reef, driving his rudder into the ski, effectively taking him out of contention.

Herman Chalupsky finished tenth with Greg Barton in at  a respectable 18th.   Oscar Chalupsky finished 26th, also apparently running into troubles at China Wall.

Men's results are:

1) Hank McGregor
2) Sean Rice
3) Jasper Mocke
4) Clint Robinson
5) Joey Hall

The first place female: Liz Pluimers.

Full details to follow.

Featured Race---Oyster City Challenge

The Kayak Trader Oyster City Challenge kicks off the Southeast Paddlesports Series down in Apalachicola, Florida. 

The second running of the race features  3, 6 and 14.2 mile route options that begin at the coastal township and meander through the marshes before returning back to the start/finish.

The race takes part alongside the Forgotten Coast Paddle Jam kayak festival. You can check out the activities here.

 The Apalachicola area is part of "Old Florida" and is relatively undeveloped in comparison with other regions of the Sunshine State, making the trip down a peaceful option for time away from more congested areas; perfect for enjoying some beers and fresh seafood.

 From the website:

Kayak Trader aims to introduce and expand the sport of kayaking to people all around the country. We hope that by providing a platform based on the common interest of paddling, we will be able to reach countless paddlers looking to explore the waters of the United States through canoeing and kayaking. We are very excited to be a part of the Forgotten Coast Paddle Jam 2016! For more info go to www.paddle2love.com 

Hotel info: http://www.paddle2love.com/lodging.html

  • There will be prizes awarded to each category 3 places deep.
  • Pre RegistrationFriday - May 20- 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM                                                          
  • Registration Saturday -May 21- starts at 7:30 AM ends 9:00 AM
  • 14 Mile race will begin at 10:00 AM others soon afterward
  • Awards around 2 PM. 
  • After Party at Bowery Station 5 PM until? Live Music and trade your bib number for a free beer!

Race Categories

THERE ARE THREE DISTANCES  TO CHOOSE FROM, 5k,10k or 22.5k (14 miles)



Race categories are based primarily on the sound rowers system of length and width ratio which is a very equitable method of grouping paddlers by boat type. You can learn more here and even look up your own make and model to find your category.

High Performance Kayaks/Open class – This is almost all 18+ ft long kayaks (depending on width) plus some shorter boats like ICF K1′s and wildwater kayaks.

Fast Sea Kayak class – Too long or too narrow (or both) to fit into sea kayak class.  Too short or too wide for HPK.

Sea Kayak class - Starting at 14.1 ft in length up to approx. 16-17.5 ft in length depending on width. 

Rec class - This is anything at 14 ft or less in length, period.  No width data is needed.

Masters age group – Anyone 50 or over

Tandem – Any tandem canoe, kayak, or outrigger.

SUP - Open to all boards




Euro Challenge 2016 ---Chloe Bunnett

This is one of my favourite locations to travel to and race. Villajoyosa is great little town close to Alicante airport. Known for their famous Valor chocolate it is always a good trip.

The race was held on the first weekend in May and has been part of the World Cup Series for a good few years now. This year there is a new European Cup Series and The Eurochallenge was the first European Cup Race for 2016. I have been coming to this race since 2009 and it never disappoints. We might not always get the perfect downwind but the organisers really try their best to make the race on the best day and in the afternoon when (if there is any) the wind should be the best.

There was a strong line up this year and I wanted to better my second place from 2015. We arrived on the Tuesday before the race to make the most of the town and to settle in before the race. My Carbonology Sport Pulse was due to arrive the next day, so I just took the day to catch up with all the friends we have made here and from around the world. Great catching up with PaddleLife's Sean and Emily to hear about there travels. Go and check out where they will be this summer.

My Surfski arrived and it was awesome to get onto the water and get a feel for the area, the wind was good so it was a fun paddle. The race was due to run from Altea, 22km North, and we would finish right at the Nautic Club. Unfortunately on race day the wind didn't come through as the forecast had promised, so it was going to be a tough race. The start as always was fast and furious.......

The first few km's were basically a headwind battle until we rounded the headland, then the wind died completely leaving a glassy sloppy sea. Myself and Amaia Osaba raced hard to the headland, after there we were neck and neck exchanging leads all the way to Benidorm Island. We rounded the island and then there was a long 5km to the finish. We both fought hard to get ahead of one another and in the end Amaia got the edge and opened a small gap on me, in the last few km's I could not close it and she crossed the line for a well-deserved win. There is not much more I can say about the race, other than it was one of the best "battles" on the water I have had in a long time.

After the race the organisation puts on a huge paella, where we can all exchange war stories and listen to how everyone's race went. Thanks to the Nautic Club of La Vila Joiosa for a great event. I will be back next year once again.


Next up is the Canary Island Championships on the 21st of May 2016. Until then I will be training in Tenerife from Escuela de vela Los Cristianos

Thanks for the ongoing support.

Living Sea

Carbonology Sport

Knysna Racing


See you on the water.

Thanks to Chloe for providing the report.  

Source:  http://www.chloebunnett.com/

BLUZ CRUZ 2016 -- Elmore Holmes

Heading down the Mighty Mississippi

Heading down the Mighty Mississippi

The 12th annual Bluz Cruz Canoe and Kayak Race took place on Saturday, April 30.  This event is billed as a 22-mile race, though my GPS measured it on Saturday at about 20.7 miles or 33.4 kilometers.  Most of the race takes place on the Mississippi River downstream of Madison Parish Port, Louisiana; the final mile and a half (2400 meters) or so runs up the Yazoo River to the riverfront at Vicksburg, Mississippi.

Paddling and racing on the Mississippi River includes some of the aspects of flatwater marathon and some of the aspects of surf ski and outrigger racing.  Most racers shy away from using flatwater K1s and C1s because even on the calmest day the river is full of squirrelly currents and boils and even a small whirlpool now and then.  Surf skis are a popular choice, but the Mississippi rarely offers the sort of offshore conditions cherished by hardcore ski enthusiasts: the closest thing to true “downwind” conditions I ever see is the wave train behind an upstream-going barge rig, and barge traffic is typically halted for events like the Bluz Cruz.  So I would characterize Mississippi River racing as a marathon, but one for open-water vessels like surf skis.  I happen to love it.

Elmore Holmes waiting for the gun to go off

Elmore Holmes waiting for the gun to go off

Before this year’s edition I had raced in the Bluz Cruz seven times and won it six times, settling for second place in 2013 when a three-time Olympian named Mike Herbert was entered.  I came to Vicksburg this year hoping to add a seventh victory, but I knew it would be anything but a cakewalk.  My main competition included much the same cast of characters I’d raced against in the Battle On The Bayou race at Ocean Springs back on March 19.  Rick Carter of Eutawville, South Carolina, has proven himself a sturdy nemesis even though he is a relative newcomer to the sport.  The 14-year-old Pellerin triplets (Carson, Conrad, and Peyton) of Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, have been steadily improving while racing as a K3, and on Saturday they added veteran marathon racer Tave Lamperez of Lafayette to form a formidable K4.  Brad Rex of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who had raced with a different partner at Ocean Springs, teamed up Saturday with Randy Hargroder of Opelousas, Louisiana, in a fast tandem kayak.

At Ocean Springs I had been beaten by both the Pellerin triplets and Brad and his partner, and had just barely held off Rick.  I had spent most of that race sitting in the pack and trading wake rides, and when the time came to go for it in the late stages, things didn’t quite go my way.  I decided that if I wanted a different result at Vicksburg, I would have to try a different approach.  In short, I resolved to be more aggressive and push the pace.

(From left) Peyton Pellerin, Conrad Pellerin, Tave Lamperez, and Carson Pellerin.  The Pellerins are from Breaux Bridge, LA, and Tave is from Lafayette, LA

(From left) Peyton Pellerin, Conrad Pellerin, Tave Lamperez, and Carson Pellerin.  The Pellerins are from Breaux Bridge, LA, and Tave is from Lafayette, LA

The gun went off and I sprinted hard off the line, just like I'd been training to do in recent weeks.  In short order I sensed the familiar presence of Rick on my stern wake, with Rex/Hargroder just behind him.  It wasn't hard to make them out in my peripheral vision: Rick was paddling a surf ski with a day-glo orange bow, and Brad and Randy were in a bright yellow boat.  I glanced about expecting to see Tave and the Pellerins nearby, but couldn't find them.  I don't know much about the boat they were paddling, but my guess is that it was a more stable (and therefore slower) craft than what I've been seeing the triplets paddle as a K3 lately.  In any case, I assumed they were somewhere in the hunt back there.

I threw in several strong surges in the first couple of miles and managed to break away from my competitors.  I was fully aware that I was taking a gamble, but I reminded myself of the good training I'd done in the month of April and proceeded with confidence.  I was beginning to feel the first signs of fatigue as I rounded the first sharp bend in the river about eight miles (12 km) in, but I was determined to think only positive thoughts and told myself that as long as I kept the boat moving smoothly it would be difficult for the others to run me down.

Overall Female Winner, Denise D'Abundo of Baton Rouge, leading David Waters of Pensacola

Overall Female Winner, Denise D'Abundo of Baton Rouge, leading David Waters of Pensacola

After another sharp bend the river flows straight toward the city of Vicksburg for some seven miles (11 km).  By this time fatigue was settling in for real, and I tried to stay relaxed and paddle as efficiently as possible, using my legs and my torso.  Occasional glances over my shoulder told me that I still had a good lead on those bright-colored boats, but not an insurmountable one if I didn't keep my act together.  I continued to keep my mind occupied with optimistic thoughts: "They're tired too."  "This is the same river I train on all the time, so surely I'm handling this water at least a little bit better than they are."  And so on.  But twinges of doubt were creeping in, too.  Once the course headed up the Yazoo River, my "big river" advantage would be gone and I would be vulnerable to anybody who'd conserved his energy better than I had.

Nick Kinderman of Ocean Springs, who took third in the "K1 Race Men" class

Nick Kinderman of Ocean Springs, who took third in the "K1 Race Men" class

The wind was picking up and I paddled through a couple of kilometers of increasingly choppy water.  At long last I reached the mouth of the Yazoo, and I approached it on a path that I thought would miss the squirrelly shallow water there.  Once off the roiling Mississippi I found I had a bit more left in the tank than I'd expected, and I added some power to my strokes while keeping the stroke rate low overall.  Maybe, just maybe, this was going to work out.  And then...

I saw some day-glo orange over my right shoulder, and at that moment I knew I was in big trouble.  I tried not to overreact, and just keep things steady, but knowing Rick was getting a ride on my stern I threw in a couple of little surges hoping to break free.  That didn't work, so I shifted my priority to keeping him from moving up onto my side wake where he’d be in a better position to sprint for the win.

Rick began to surge with a kilometer to go, and it was pretty clear that he had more left than I did.  I hung in there and paddled as hard as I could, but in the final meters Rick separated himself and beat me by 15 seconds.  Our times were 2 hours, 18 minutes, 31 seconds for Rick and 2:18:46 for me.  The Mississippi was at a rather low stage Saturday—26.9 feet on the Vicksburg gauge—and as a result the times were slow.  My personal record on this course is 1:56:34, in a year when the level was closer to 40 feet.

Brad Rex and Randy Hargroder were just 93 seconds back in taking third place.  Tave Lamperez and the Pellerin triplets took fourth overall with a time of 2:28:15.  The fastest overall female finisher was Denise D'Abundo of Baton Rouge, who clocked 2:55:18.  The complete results are posted here.

Rick Carter, the Overall Winner

Rick Carter, the Overall Winner

Rick was characteristically reluctant to accept the adulation that’s typically heaped upon the overall winner.  "You were robbed, man!” he told me; “You worked twice as hard as I did, and I just hung out back there and stole it from you at the very end!"  But I see it as a perfectly fair-and-square victory for him.  I believe that winning is often simply a matter of being in a position to capitalize when the competition makes a mistake or falters in some way, and that's exactly what Rick did.  Expending your energy wisely is a big part of this game, and it turned out Rick did a better job of that than I did.

Also, I apparently made a mistake at the mouth of the Yazoo even though I didn't realize it at the time, allowing Rick to close the gap significantly.  After the race Rick and Randy and Brad all asked me why I had “gone so wide" while moving from the Mississippi onto the Yazoo.  "Go wide?" I thought; "I didn't go wide!"  But in this sport I've learned that what you see from your boat sometimes looks very different from what people outside your boat see, and maybe at some point I should go back to the mouth of the Yazoo and see if I can figure out why the line I took was so costly.

In any case, my mood was upbeat after the race even though I'd spent the second half of it in fear of being caught from behind and then seen that fear become reality.  My goal was to win the race and I was disappointed, but if I had to get beat I'm glad I got beat as a result of being overly aggressive rather than as a result of being overly timid.  I went out and did exactly what I thought I had to do, and it just didn't quite work out.

In its 12 years of existence, the Bluz Cruz Canoe and Kayak Race has become an important part of the schedule for racers in the Mid South and Gulf South United States.  Stay tuned to www.bluzcruz.com for the 2017 race date.

Photo Credits:  Paul Ingram
Read more from Elmore Holmes here:   http://mytrainingblogbyelmore.blogspot.com/