James Casey has conquered the Ka’iwi Channel to claim the 2019 Molokai-2-Oahu title after an epic battle with fellow Aussie Michael Booth.
“Jimmy” completed the 32 mile (52km) channel crossing from the Hawaiian islands of Molokai to Oahu in 4:03:20, five minutes ahead of Boothy and only a few minutes outside the course record.
The two favourites were locked in a see-sawing arm-wrestle for more than half the race, paddling stroke-for-stroke virtually side-by-side in the open ocean until the Sunova team rider was able to take control in the closing stages. Both paddlers began cramping but refused to give in, fighting all the way to Oahu in one of the best Molokai races we’ve ever seen.
Jimmy dedicated his emotional win to his dad who is currently battling brain cancer — he spoke at the finish line of how is old man’s spirit got him through the toughest moments of the race.
Special mention to Josh Riccio who not only claimed another stock title but also third-place on line honours. Josh was on a 14′ vs the unlimiteds of the other guys, but he knows this channel so well he was only 9 mins behind Jimmy.
It was a clean sweep for the Aussies (and Team VMG) in the unlimited division with Terrene Black defending her title against 3x winner Sonni Honscheid.
Terrene was on another level today, finishing in a time of 4:34:09 to win by 20 minutes and set a new record by a similar margin. The victory puts the Australian hero on par with Sonni, with each now holding three Molokai titles. Only one other woman (Penelope Strickland) has won a single Molokai title in the past seven years.
Terrene dedicated the race to her old lifeguarding boss Allan Cook who passed away on the eve of the event. Allan was one of the first people who encouraged Terrene to get into stand up paddling a decade ago…
The highly-anticipated foil fight was incredibly tight, with young gun Jeffrey Spencer left heartbroken after leading most of the race only to be mowed down by defending champ Kai Lenny who somehow managed to foil three quarters of a mile upwind. Annie Reickert was the only woman in the field but still flew at an extraoardinary pace, crossing the line in 3 hours 20 minutes to set a high-water mark that will be tough for any other woman to beat any time soon.
The race was close in the prone division as well, with Aussies Harriet Brown and Lizzie Welborn separated by less than a minute after 5 hours of paddling, while Matt Bevilacqua won his fifth-straight M2O title in a record time of 4 hours 20 minutes. I believe this is the third time Australia won all four unlimited divisions following similar sweeps in 2013 and 2018.
Interestingly, the men’s unlimited SUP was the only record that didn’t fall on a day that produced ideal conditions in the Ka’iwi Channel, which highlights just how impressive Travis Grant’s 2017 victory in 3 hours 59 minutes really was.
MOLOKAI-2-OAHU 2019 RESULTS
MEN’S SUP: LINE HONOURS
1st: James Casey (Sunova/AUS) 4:03:20
2nd: Michael Booth (Starboard/AUS) 4:08:32
3rd: Josh Riccio (F-One/USA) 4:12:08 *1st stock
4th: Kenny Kaneko (ONE/JAP) 4:19:50
5th: Kosuke Matsuyama (JAP) 4:51:05
WOMEN’S SUP: LINE HONOURS
1st: Terrene Black (QB/VMG, AUS) 4:34:09
2nd: Sonni Honscheid (Starboard, GER) 4:55:38
3rd: Jenn Lee (NSP, HAW) 5:40:16
CHAMPION: Kai Lenny (Hawaii) 2:29:38
Runner-up: Jeffrey Spener (Canada) 2:37:44
3rd: Clement Colmas (New Caledonia) 2:38:36
4th: Titouan Galea (New Caledonia) 2:52:31
5th: Bernd Roediger (Hawaii) 3:07:21
6th: Zane Schweitzer (Hawaii) 3:07:26
WOMEN’S FOIL CHAMPION
Annie Reickert (Hawaii) 3:20:22
MEN’S PRONE CHAMP: Matt Bevilacqua (AUS) 4:20:50
WOMEN’S PRONE CHAMP: Harriet Brown (AUS) 4:50:58