CHAMPS TAKE ON HAWAII
HEAD of Year 11 at Sunshine Coast Grammar School, Craig Ebneter recently returned from Hawaii, where he and his team, comprising of paddlers mainly from Mooloolaba, represented Australia and took out the 50+ division in the gruelling Molokai Hoe for Outriggers.
The team was undefeated in Australia during this year’s outrigging season, before going on to win the Australian Marathon Championship. As national champions, the team was invited to compete in the Molokai Hoe as Australian representatives. The renowned Molokai race is one of Hawaii’s largest annual sporting events and this was the 65th year.
Ebneter said that Molokai Hoe, for Outriggers, was the ultimate test for paddlers and was considered the World Championship of Outrigging with more than 100 crews from across the world crossing the Kaiwi Channel (Channel of the Bones) from Molokai to Oahu and finishing the 66km journey on Waikiki Beach.
“The conditions on the day were favourable and we completed the event just outside the record time for our division in five hours and 35 minutes but only took the lead with 15 minutes to go in the race after being placed third for the majority of the race,” Ebneter said.
The team finished 23rd overall. Leading up to the event they trained seven days a week on and off the water under the guidance of coach Danny Sheard and club president Ron Grabbe.
Outrigging in the Pacific Island Nations, is a national sport and a way of life with countries like Tahiti dominating the Molokai Hoe in recent years. However, this year a combined team from Hawaii broke the 10-year Tahitian stranglehold.
PROUD WINNERS: Podium for veteran Molokai paddlers.
Towards Diamond Head.