1 – Most of us Molokai Virgins

Briac FRCC

So the False Creek women paddled to glory last week (I still don’t believe that their achievements have sunk in with everyone yet..under 10 minutes behind the record setting winners…that’s got to be considered within jab of title contention)…and hung us out to dry in our cold, wet Vancouver hideout with no information, no updates, nothing….we were reduced to drug addicts in withdrawal, hitting up any website that would mention even the tiniest of facts about the Molokai crossing…trying to find anything about what
conditions were like….

So having been in that situation, hopefully a couple postings on this site will avoid a repeat.

The intent of these postings are to give a perspective for everyone stuck at home (did I mention how warm the water is here?), and be at the same time informative and entertaining. Let me know if there’s any aspect I can add to these.

So the FCRCC men’s program is sending over the better part of two full crews this year. Most of us Molokai virgins, with a meager four who have at least one crossing under their belts. Shane who crossed last year for the first time has mostly been the brains and organization of this year’s effort.

To give you an idea of what a crossing entails:
1. Getting race boats
2. Arranging for escort boats
3. Finding bodies to fill any empty seats
4. Renting a house for training week
5. Finding boats to use for training week
6. Booking flights
7. Booking accommodations on Molokai
8. Trans-island travel arrangements
9. Making sure we’ve got food, cars, surfboards…etc…the list
goes on..

So now to introduce the line up:
We’ve got a total of 14 guys coming over from FCRCC (9 people required for each crew). Shane showed up Thursday to arrange last minute details, then Reg followed suit on Friday, Scott and Gord arrived Saturday afternoon on separate flights, then the boatload of Jake, Niels, Vlad, Adam, Steve, and Briac showed up Saturday afternoon, followed by Moe, Dave, and Cam later that night. Many trips to the airport. Trevor, the 14th will show up later in the week. In addition, we’ve picked up a guy from Australia: Sampson
Hollywood (with a name like that we still have to ask him if he’s involved in the porn industry). There’s a guy from Mooloolaba joining us by the name of Gord, a steersperson from HuiNalu by the name of Paul, and finally one of his friends. That’s a total of 18. No crews have been set yet, and that will slowly jel over the next few days.

So the first real day in Hawaii:
Sunday October 3rd. Temperature: hot. Humidity: low. Waves: not much. 7am (yes, jetlag), and we’re all piling into the minivans to go surfing. We get to Waikiki and rent the heaviest, biggest longboards in the world. It’s pretty flat, and none of us really know what we’re doing…but we squeeze in an hour of surfing…and our first casualty of the trip occurs: Cam is surfing a 16ft wave, he’s just coming out of the barrel when he bites it on the reef. Actually he fell off a 1ft wave and stepped on a sea urchin. Man
down. Life guard offers to urinate on his foot…he passes…which results in a trip to the store for some vinegar.

Back to the house for some lunch…we’re all awaiting with anticipation our first training run: 11am. We get to HuiNalu and see our boats for the first time. They are a Bradley and a Bradley Striker. Very nice boats…great skirts and paddle hooks. We split up into 3 crews of 5, and head out. You follow a few markers to navigate through the reefs, and out into open water. Everyone is giddy with excitment as we observe the swells on the horizon. The boats are running well…we see teams from Tahitti training as well. The water is very salty, but soooo warm.

We head ccw around the island, and we’re going up against the swells…it’s not big, but already the full potential of what’s in store is clear…you hear the occasional “Holy S#@t!”. All boats are holding side by side..then we finally turn downwind, and the ‘Hawaiian steersperson’ advantage becomes clear…Paul’s boat takes off. Eventually we head back into the harbour, and Paul is mentioning to stay beside the channel…odd…but quickly we understand, Vlad calls a push, and the boat picks up, we’re three boat lengths behind Paul’s boat, and our boat has just shifted gears and we’re now wondering what is happening…we’re going so fast it eventually becomes clear that to continue paddling is a waste of time, I look over my shoulder, and see a wall of water bearing down on us…we reach Paul’s boat just as we peel off the shoulder of the wave, and see them get onto it just as it is cresting…they disappear behind a wall of whitewash..and I’m thinking we just lost a crew and boat. Turns out they did fine…and the third boat is sitting there watching all of this yelling and jealous. Another sign of things to come. We then load our boats onto the trailer, and we will be loading them onto a barge tomorrow morning to be shipped off to Molokai.

Ok, mental note, I’ll have to make these updates shorter……


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