Founded in 1997, the Molokai-2-Oahu Paddleboard World Championships, presented by Kona Longboard Island Lager, are set to celebrate the 16th anniversary on Sunday, July 29, 2012.
The annual race has grown from a grassroots challenge for the legendary lifeguards and watermen of Oahu to the premiere event for the sport of paddleboarding. More than 250 of the world’s most accomplished watermen (men and women) from 15 countries will attempt the challenging 32-mile open-ocean crossing of the Ka’iwi (kah-EE-vee) Channel from Kaluakoi Beach on the north shore of Molokai to Maunalua Bay on the south shore of Oahu. The fastest athletes complete the crossing in just less than five hours, facing powerful currents as they surf atop swells that can reach heights of more than 12 feet and carry athletes for hundreds of meters. They will battle strong currents and surf for hundreds of yards atop waves.The race features two divisions, prone paddleboard and stand up paddleboard (SUP) with athletes competing as solo paddlers or in teams of two and three. Paddleboards are classified into unlimited (no size limit and with the movable rudder system) or stock categories (12 feet or under for prone paddlers and 14 foot or under for SUP with fixed fin).
After establishing a seemingly insurmountable record of ten consecutive victories at M2O in 2011, Australian Jamie Mitchell will not race this year. His departure guarantees a new champion in the men’s traditional paddleboard division. To finish, let alone win this division is considered the crowning achievement by both men and women in this prestigious race who rely solely on the power of their arms to propel their boards across the Channel of Bones.