Nothing will stop Steven from making crossing
FROM a pack a day smoker who liked a drink, Noosa's Steven Roberts is a 48-year-old who by-passed a mid-life crisis for a serious teetotal crack at the Mount Everest of ocean paddling.
And the only puffing will be the never-say-die grunt needed to get this single-minded nursing assistant the 52km of watery pain that is Hawaii's Molokai 2 Oahu Paddleboard World Championships on July 30.
Four years ago Steven was living the good life and loving his surfing when he saw something that has transformed his life.
"I was in Hawaii in 2014 and I saw a guy paddling this longer paddleboard than the lifesaver boards. The prone paddleboards are stock 12 foot,” Steven said.
"It just appealed to me because I surf and I can paddle all day.
"He came into the beach and I had a chat to him and asked him what he called the board.
"He said: 'You see that island over there? He pointed over to Molokai and said I'm doing a race over there next year from there to here, it's 52ks'. A light just went on in my head and I said 'Whoa! That's something that I'd like to do'.”
Steven said he came back to Australia and "everything just fell into place”.
"One of my mates I told him and he went 'I've got a paddleboard you can use. I borrowed his paddleboard and then I got a proper stock paddleboard and started getting into it.”
Molokai was always his goal and along the way he entered his first Australian titles two years ago on the Gold Coast and came third. Last year, he went to Geraldton in West Australia and the state champ was crowned national champion.
"I was aiming to qualify for the World Championships this year.
"I did two big races; I did the 12 Towers down the Gold Coast and the Gold Coast paddle board race and I came seventh in both of those.
"There were a couple of world champs in those.
"You've got to be able to paddle 16km in two hours so I did that.
"I sent my application in and I found out a couple of weeks ago that I'd qualified for the World Championships in Hawaii.
"Now it's no drinking, no nothing ... I've gone pure.
"I gave up the smokes about three years ago and gave up drinking about a year and a half ago, and said right I'm going to give this a good crack.”
"I didn't want to not finish and say 'oh well I drank a bit so that's my excuse',” said Steven, who trains with last year's Molokai runner-up Lachie Lansdown ... his guiding role model
e will have a support boat in case he gets into trouble, but there is no known force on earth that will force him into it.
"I don't want have any excuses. The only reason I'll be getting in the boat is if I'm unconscious. I'm going to finish this race I'm determined ... I'm looking forward to the challenge.”
When he first started prone paddling he set off from Noosa Main Beach groyne out to Granite Bay once and back. Then he did that twice.
"Now I go from the groyne down at Main Beach and go around the corner down to the water tower at Peregian and back,” he said.
"That is 28km and now I have to extend that length so next month I'm going to extend that out to 35km. I'll get down to Coolum and back - that's going to be a big one. I'm looking at about six and a half hours the race will take me.”