Congratulations to Robert Stehlik, CEO of Blue Planet Surf for finishing 2nd in the SUP UNL M40-49 age group of the Molokai-Oahu Paddleboard Race last July 26, 2009. Here’s an update from Robert:
Yesterday I completed the Molokai channel crossing race on a Stand Up Surfboard, which was one of my big personal goals. Months of training and planning paid off and I finished the 32- mile course in a respectable time of 6hrs 15min and 7th overall of all Solo SUP paddlers. I have to thank my wife Sharon for her support -She came along on the escort boat and let me go on long training paddle runs for the last few months. Many thanks to Todd Bradley and Dave Parmenter for their coaching and getting me hooked on “riding bumps” and my long distance training partners Jeff Chang, Morgan Hoesterey and Aaron Napoleon.
Robert’s wife Sharon took the following pictures:
8 am start on Molokai. Ekolu Kalama took off fast right from the start and never looked back, he shattered the record in 5:02, only a few
minutes slower than Jamie Mitchell, the fastest lay down paddler. The first 20 miles of the race were fast and went by quickly
Right before Portlock point I was passed by the fastest Solo woman- Jenny Kalmbach from the Big Island. This was the toughest part of the race for me as there was a nasty current and my muscles were cramping up. I was running on empty and could not keep up with her pace, she was still going strong. Luckily I had practiced riding the waves along China Walls, cutting through the narrow reef pass and staying close to shore where the strong offshore wind was lighter, which saved me some time in the end and I finished a few minutes ahead of Jenny.
I finished second to Dave Kalama in my age group and was stoked to be part of an amazing, inspirational and completely dedicated group of Watermen and Women. I’ll be doing it again next year and probably every year as long as I can.
I mentioned to Robert that Dave Parmenter said the race is normally won or lost on logistics. Robert had his logistics in order and I was impressed how he used his GPS to stay on course. Here’s more insight from Robert:
In my opinion, these are the keys to doing well in the Molokai race, (by importance):
1. Technique- mainly riding the bumps- knowing when to paddle hard and when to relax, how and when to use the rudder, distribute weight, and efficient paddle technique- this takes experience in various conditions and it helps to have someone who is good at it coach you. To me, technique is what wins the Molokai race, the winner is the one catching the most and longest rides, not necessarily the strongest paddler.
2. Endurance/ Fitness- training long distances and lots of miles per week, cross training, mental preparation, nutrition
3. Equipment- with 1 and 2 in place, the equipment can give you an edge but unless someone comes up with a revolutionary new design equipment alone is not enough to win a race.
4. Preparation- includes logistics, planning, escort, support crew, choosing a fast line, paying attention to the conditions and currents, experience, nutrition/ hydration during the race, etc.
Even though I’ve been getting a decent amount of insight from the racers, I’m not sure if I am motivated or capable enough to do it.