Canoeing South Africa Media Release

 No: CSA1618 28 May 2016

 Embargo : None

Written by: Kyle Gilham

Molokai Challenge stars braced for flat sea slog

Molokai – Forecasts suggest the 2016 Maui Jim Molokai Challenge is set to be a battle of attrition on Sunday, 29 May as the world’s toughest ocean racers go head to head at the iconic 52km event Molokai to Oahu, Hawaii for this year’s spoils.

Predictions of little wind to offer paddlers any assistance will fill the stomachs of elite and social participants alike with a flight of butterflies as the already daunting task grows taller.

Come what may – or may not – though, the race across the renowned crossing will go ahead with many expecting a quintet of pre-race favourites to challenge one another for the overall crown.

With victory at the 2015 Molokai was Cory Hill maiden international surfski win of his career, before going on to claim the ICF Ocean Racing (Surfski) World Championships in Tahiti, the Australian is back to defend his Molokai title again this year and enjoys the distinct advantage of having nine-time race winner Dean Gardiner aboard his escort boat for guidance.

Hill is joined by fellow Australian, Clint Robinson (Epic Kayaks) who, with Molokai wins in 2010, 2011 and 2013, knows exactly what is required to win the gruelling challenge.

The pair from Down Under will however receive a stiff challenge from South African trio, Hank McGregor, Jasper Mocké and Sean Rice.

Current ICF Canoe Marathon World Champ and three time Molokai winner McGregor (Euro Steel/Epic Kayaks) has been in sublime form in his hometown of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal of late and is in peak physical condition and a great mental space as he looks to add to his 2009 and 2014 victories.

While winless at the Hawaiian event, Think Kayak’s Sean Rice and Euro Steel/Epic Kayaks’ Jasper Mocké have come close on previous occasions having finished second in 2013 and third in 2015 respectively and will be eager to challenge for the title once more this time around.

“After a very hectic past few months on the road, I’m really looking forward to Molokai, which will be only my second race this year,” explains Rice. “I think my fitness is good and my eagerness to race is sky high; after all the training I’m revving to go!”

“Conditions look like they’ll be tough but my training has been suited to it after the time I spent in hot, humid and flat conditions in Florida recently. Besides, no doubt everyone will be hurting this year!”

Mocké too is confident in his preparations and is paying little attention to pre-race weather concerns. “I have had a very enjoyable build up to the race and have done some good sessions trying to recreate every race situation I could possibly be in during this year’s Molokai.”

“One element which has been impossible for to prepare for is the heat and conditions are looking like they’ll be hot and flat but personally I'm not fazed about what we get; Molokai is Molokai and you have to paddle across the channel whatever the conditions!” says Mocké.

Some pundits suggested in the build up to the big race that the trio’s fellow South African and twelve-time race winner, Oscar Chalupsky was in sublime condition – despite now being on the other side of 50 years-old – and should Mother Nature have played her part, may well have been a factor at the sharp end of the race.

On the women’s front, New Zealand’s Rachel Clarke (Epic Kayaks) – who clinched victory in 2014 – looks set to lead the charge in the six-strong tussle of the fairer species while five two-man and two three-man surfski teams will take on the challenge too.

The day’s racing is also set to see a sizeable outrigger canoe (OC) field take part – made up by ten OC-1s, one OC-2, eight OC-1 two-paddler relay, five OC-1 three-paddler relay teams and four OC-2 relay teams – together with seven brave stand up paddleboarders.

The day’s programme gets underway at 07h00 (local time) with the leading men expected at the finish around 13h00 (local time). More information can be found at


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Euro Steel/Epic Kayaks'  Hank McGregor of South Africa hopes to add a third crown to his collection when he takes on Sunday's Maui Jim Molokai Challenge in Hawaii.

Anthony Grote/
Gameplan Media


Think Kayak's Sean Rice of South Africa will be hoping to go one better than his 2013 second place effort when he tackles Sunday's Maui Jim Molokai Challenge in Hawaii.

Anthony Grote/
Gameplan Media


Euro Steel/Epic Kayaks' Jasper Mocké has enjoyed a sound build up to Sunday's Maui Jim Molokai Challenge in Hawaii.

Matt Moon/
Gameplan Media


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