Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Serene Hawaii Offers Tough Paddle

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Serene Hawaii Offers Tough Paddle

Article excerpt

Byline: STEVE SPINKS steve.spinks@northernstar.com.au

IT was almost a surf paddler's worst nightmare - 52km of flat ocean with no swell and a slight headwind.

Many competing in the Molokai World Championship recently would have welcomed the slight swell crossing the treacherous Kaiwi Channel between the Hawaiian islands of Molokai and Oahu.

But Byron Bay paddler Dan McCabe, who finished sixth in the epic race behind South African Hank McGregor in just over four hours, believes the slight conditions made the crossing harder.

"I hadn't done a distance like that so I went easy early to make sure I would make it," the 33-year-old said.

"I'm a surf paddler, I like a bump in the ocean, and I'm used to racing 800 metres. With no swell and no wind behind you it takes much longer to cross so I would have preferred for there to be a bit of swell."

Despite his disappointment with the Kaiwi Channel, which is rated one of the roughest channels in the world, McCabe was ecstatic with his effort, even beating home Olympic champion kayaker Clint Robinson.

"I was hoping for a top 10 but it was my first real long- distance event," he said.

Club mate Kim Chappel went a little better by claiming fourth in the women's category behind Katherine Pocock and Sydney surf lifesaving champion Naomi Flood.

The 20-year-old, who made the finals at the Australian Surf Lifesaving Championships in Perth this year, said her fourth placing was unexpected.

"I just wanted to finish and I didn't really have any expectations but I loved the race," Chappel said.

The Byron Bay clubbie was cheered on in the support boat by her mother Glenda, sister Jodie and good friend Carly Costello, who happily sunbaked and lapped up the beautiful crossing conditions.

"They were good and kept me on track," Chappel said.

"When they saw I was tired they pushed me along. …

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