Toughing out a Molokai ordeal with handy local support
KENILWORTH Dairies is the proud gold sponsor of the Noosa Loggerheads open men's Outrigger Canoe team off to compete against the best paddlers in the world.
They are part of the toughest canoe race in the world, an adventure from Molokai to Oahu in Hawaii.
On Sunday, October 7, the racing canoes will launch from the Hale o Lono Harbor off the west side of Molokai and travel about 41 miles (66km) across the Kaiwi Channel to Fort DeRussy beach,Waikiki.
The channel is said to be among one of the most treacherous spans of ocean in the world, with the current record time for the passage being under five hours.
This will be the first attempt at the crossing for the Noosa Loggerheads open men.
After having some great results in local regattas here in Australia over the past two years, The Loggerheads decided to experience some international competition.
Earlier this year The Loggerheads finished sixth in the Takapuna Beach Cup in New Zealand which was good enough to gain qualification into the Molokai Hoe 2018.
As Molokai Hoe is known as a changeover race, The Loggerheads crew consists of nine paddlers, namely John Goller, Paul Squire, Josh Neeld, Paul Ostwald, Bevan Venables, Craig Tilley, Nick Le Roux, Shaun Fisher and Leigh Paine.
The team is well supported by their coach Shane Hegarty and team manager Pascale Hegarty who will also travel to Hawaii with The Loggerheads.
For the change race, the first six in the crew race for about 45 minutes before the rest of the crew in a support boat make ready for an interchange.
The skill and strength required to make this change in such treacherous conditions while not stopping racing, is quite an art.
Besides the racing side of preparing for an epic event like this, the logistical process is not simple.
Hiring of canoes, support boats, lining up flights externally and then from Oahu to Molokai (an island without many facilities) car hire to get to the start line, ensuring the canoe has all its accessories, paddler fuels and hydration and communication back and forward from afar, leaves no margin for error.
It's been an amazing journey to this point. One of the crew said he had driven more than 11,000km this year just to get from home to training and back.
The Loggerheads train five times a week on the water and three times off water, sometimes starting at 4.30am. Some mornings have been as cold as two degrees.
All of this has been in the quest to experience and achieve the best result possible and do the Noosa Loggerheads, The Noosa Outrigger Canoe Club, Noosa, The Sunshine Coast, Queensland and Australia proud. Just as John Cochrane and the team at Kenilworth Dairies are doing the region and Local Dairy Farmers proud. Without the support of Kenilworth Dairies (Gold Sponsor Noosa Loggerheads), and all our other sponsors, this representation in Hawaii may not have been possible.