MOLOKAI RACE WEEK 2024
Why is Hawaii a Surf Ski heaven for paddlers?
From late May to the end of July, the Easterly trade winds hit Hawaii. This is a consistent strong wind from the East direction – making Hawaii the best place in the world for downwinds. When the wind blows from the East we are on the 15km Hawaii Kai downwind run, when the wind blows from the N or NE we are on the 12km North Shore run and if the wind blows from the South we have the 12km Lanikai run. With everyone within a 30mins drive Coach Luke Horder makes the next day plan and has the vans and trailers out the front of the hotel ready to go.
Waikiki is the easiest and is the most fun place in the world to catch waves on surf skis. Luke starts you on the smaller Sheraton Wave, a small 2ft wave that runs for 600m out the front of the Sheraton resort Waikiki. Then you build to the 800m wave outside the Outrigger Canoe Club which stands up a bit more, depending on the tide. The biggest and longest wave is the China Wall wave at Hawaii Kai, swell needs to be 2m plus for that wave to work. With all the wave locations Coach Luke Horder is there to show you where to paddle out, where to take off on the wave, what line to hold when on the wave and when to pull off.
The Molokai Race event
As we all know, Molokai is the Big Kahuna of surf ski races; the 32mile/52km crossing of the Kaiwi Channel between Molokai and Oahu Islands in Hawaii is a daunting challenge (whatever the weather!). The crossing is the greatest sporting achievement you will ever do and feel absolutely satisfied and overwhelmed when you cross the finish line.
Hawaii is surf ski heaven
Beautiful blue Hawaiian water, the sunny weather, and the turtles each day, is the icing on the cake. Every night we gather at restaurants, have a few drinks and enjoy the time with like minded paddlers.
Come join us in the beautiful location and experience it all first hand.
The 2024 Hawaii trip dates to be confirmed, however are looking to do Friday 17th May - Sunday 26th May 2024.
Depart Friday TBC (possibility 17th) May 2023
Qantas (Depart Sydney 9:10pm – arrive 10:55am Hawaii time)
Depart Monday TBC (possibility 27th) May 2023
Flights are at your own expense and arrangement.
Waikiki Beach has a fairly small footprint. We paddle each day from the Outrigger Canoe Club (2909 Kalakaua Avenue) and most of the restaurants we go to at night are near the Sheraton Hotel. These two points are 2km apart – which is an easy walk or uber / bus ride.
If you prefer to stay in the middle of the shops and restaurant area, The Sheraton or The Halepuna Hotel are options used on prior trips. To be close to the Outrigger Canoe Club, the Lotus Hotel is closest, or select a mid-point location like the Aston Waikiki Beach.
(excluding airfares, accommodation and food/beverages)
Payable to Sydney Harbour Surf Club:
Deposit $100 due by 31st August to secure your spot
First payment - $1,300 AUD due by 30th September, 2023
Second payment - $1,500 AUD by December 1st 2023
No refunds will be given after 1st January 2024
This covers the following and ensure we can lock in the trip logistics.
Epic Surf Ski 7-day hire and storage at Outrigger Canoe Club = $1,300 AUD
All downwind logistics = $1,500 AUD
- Includes transport for you and your surf ski to the start/finish of every paddle location, includes 1x 15-seater van hire, 1 x 6-seater vehicle, plus a 19 rack surf ski trailer, hotel vehicle parking/trailer parking, exchange rate, expert daily Coaching from Luke Horder.
Other Paddling related costs you will incur as the trip occurs:
Outrigger Canoe Club 7-day membership: ~$125USD
Apart from the waves, the Outrigger Canoe Club café, bar, restaurant is the highlight of the trip. This exclusive club is where we store our surf skis, there is access to a locker for the week (at an additional cost ~$8USD per day + taxes) with hot showers and towels after every paddle. This place is where we hang out after paddles with long lunches and evening dinners in the fancy restaurant overlooking the beautiful Waikiki.
Everything you spend at the OCC will go on your member account, with an invoice sent at the end of the month – no cash payments on the way through.
Molokai Crossing: Support boat
For those who elect to do the Molokai crossing, there is a support boat needed per ski, whether you are a solo paddler, or a relay team. Support boats can cost $1,200 - $1,500 USD, which is payable directly in cash to your boat Captain on the day. Your support boat will drive your surf ski over to the island of Molokai and shadow you on the way back across the channel.
Training to best prepare you for Hawaii and Molokai Crossing
Waikiki Wave catching
If you plan to come to Hawaii for the wave catching and prefer to not do the Molokai crossing, then no additional training is required, just fly in and have a great time.
If you want to experience the Hawaii Kai, North Shore and /or Lanikai downwind runs then you should aim to achieve a level of fitness that enables you to take every paddling opportunity on the trip.
We have taken a group to Hawaii every (non-covid) year since 2013, and each year our groups do the Hawaii Kai downwind most days, as the Easterly trade is on every year we go. This is about 12 - 14kms and often ends with playing in the waves of the Outrigger Canoe Club after the downwind run… so there is a lot of paddling time. As the wind is always behind us, it’s more like champagne paddling, but you should aim to paddle at least 3 times per week in the 16 week build up to this trip to have the base fitness to make the most of the opportunities.
If you plan to do the Molokai crossing (a total distance of 53km across open ocean), then first decide if you are doing a relay or solo.
- If you are doing a 2-person or 3-person relay team, you can achieve the crossing by committing to establish the minimum fitness of 3 paddles per week, including Ocean sessions, for 16 weeks build up to the trip.
- If you plan to cross Molokai solo you need to have a phone call with Coach Luke Horder to determine the training you need to do each week to successfully achieve the Molokai crossing solo, as Luke has completed the crossing 6 times.
Molokai Crossing Practicalities
There will be a number of questions that you want answered to ensure you are best prepared for the Crossing. Common questions include:
What about fluids & food on long paddles?
“Do in training, what you want to do in racing”. Establish if you are a “Storer” or a “Burner”. A good “rule of thumb” is 250ml to 450ml of fluid per hour and 30g to 60 g of carbohydrate per hour. Sipping (drink) every 10 mins and eat every hour. Fluid is carried in a Vaikobi bladder (on your back). Food snacks can be placed in your lifejacket pocket or taped to your surf ski.
How do you change over in relay teams?
Simple answer: jump out, hold the ski for the next person to get in (and adjust the leg length). Once they are ready, hand them the paddle, and if possible, help them get going with a big push off.
Got more questions?
Reach out to Luke Horder
General Trip Logistics
What gear will I need?
We will provide you with a detailed recommended packing list of things to take closer to the time.
As an overview, you will require:
- normal paddling gear
- your paddle
- leg leash (take spares, every year several leg leashes break),
- your phone case for safe storage, for SafeTrx + the all important photo taking
- VHF waterproof radio
- 2 x roof rack straps
- PFD – these are optional in Hawaii but are highly recommended for attaching your VHF radio, and for Molokai relay teams are useful for rely team change overs.
- It’s highly recommended that everyone wears a bright orange paddling top, and a bright orange cap or visor for the whole week in Hawaii. Hi-Vis orange is the most visible colour out in the ocean and makes it easier to spot each other.
- Your caps, sunglasses, and GoPro will all need ties (Luke lost 2 Go Pros and 1 pair sunnies last year).
- For Molokai paddlers, a large dry bag (you will need to swim 100m from Molokai Beach out to your escort boat on the crossing day)
How do I get my paddle to Hawaii?
Paddles go as oversize luggage, and you will need to purchase an extra bag for this. Either a purpose built paddle bag with padding to protect your paddle or simply tape it in bubble wrap. Vaikobi make a paddle travel bag that has compartments to take your paddle and then pack your paddling clothes around your paddles to protect them (check out our SHSC shop for this item)
What ski should I use?
Stability is the key to great downwind paddling. When you’re down winding, stability gives you confidence to attack the swell. Don’t get sucked into thinking you need a slick skinny ski to go quick, “It ain’t true!”, it’s V8, V8 Pro, V9’s all the way, unless you’ve done Hawaii before.
The simple answer is, call Luke, let Luke decide what ski you use and don’t try to convince him otherwise 😁
What’s the deal on the skis?
Luke arranges a near new Epic surf ski for you in Hawaii with the Epic Hawaii Company. The surf ski you rent in Hawaii is your responsibility – and you sign a waiver. There is no insurance. Luke will show you each day how to Load, unload and strap your own ski down each day. Please bring 2 x roof rack straps with you in your luggage.
Where are our skis?
The Outrigger Canoe Club (OCC) is home base – you will have guest membership for the duration, and it’s where we wash & store our surf skis.
What’s the OCC?
The Outrigger Canoe Club (OCC) is brilliant. And Exclusive. Enjoy the happy hour (from 5pm) sipping a beer or cocktail while the beautiful Hawaiian sun sets. The OCC is an exclusive country club, set on a private beach. We will be spending a lot of time at the OCC, and utilising their change rooms (showers, towels, lockers) as well as their café, bar and restaurant.
Is there anything different about paddling in Hawaii?
Yes, the waves are very gentle, and so are the ocean runs when compared to Sydney. The icing on the cake…it’s like a surging wave, not a dumping wave as you find in Sydney. And so blue and clear, with waves that go and go forever. Luke will show you areas where you have the whole place to yourself to ride the wave all the way to the beach (600 – 1000m). Note: as Luke takes you to the bigger wave spots, there will be reefs to avoid and Luke will show you the perfect line.
What is the famous Hawaii Kai Run?
This run is so good, Luke named his son “Kai” after this run. Hawaii Kai is a 20-minute drive from Waikiki. Luke sorts the daily logistics to get you and your surf ski there.
For this run, you launch into the water, paddle out to China Wall, then turn right and downwind to Diamond Head, where you turn right and finish at the Outrigger Canoe Club (OCC). Out the front of OCC is where we do a lot of wave catching. Luke will show you how to catch waves, keep the surf ski straight, stay in front of the whitewash and stay on the right line. The smaller waves to get you started are the waves out the front of the Sheraton Hotel,
What are the normal Daily Logistics?
Luke’s Team organises trailers, vans, drivers, downwind drop offs, dinner locations – all the logistics. You name it, Luke has it sorted and he will communicate on the Hawaii WhatsApp chat, outlining each day’s meeting time and place.
Luke is constantly looking at the swell, wind and tide to put you in the best spot at the right time, this is why you progress so dramatically as a paddler in just one week.
Our Team Culture
Traveling as a team is a lot of fun, every day is like a fun school excursion and new friendships are formed. We have a cool team kit you can wear - rock them and wear them with pride.
Long Lunches, plus restaurants every night, means a lot of great food and wine in excellent company (rest assured, not all talk is around paddling). The best part - all the paddling means you come home lighter (kg). Maybe not your luggage, as there will also be time to hit the shops.
Will there be time to sightsee?
During the paddle trip, each day’s paddling is optional, so if you prefer to sightsee rather than paddle, then let Luke know at least the day before so that he can adjust arrangements. Remember though, you are in Hawaii to experience the amazing downwind/wave paddling opportunities, so make sure you take advantage of all the opportunities and perhaps tack on sightseeing time before / after the trip
Got more questions?
Reach out to Luke Horder 0405 444 311