Monday, July 31, 2000

Posted on: Monday, July 31, 2000

Paddler beats Daniel across Kaiwi Channel


By Dayton Morinaga
Advertiser Staff Writer

Dawson Jones glides across the finish line in second place in Quicksilver Moloka'i to O'ahu paddleboard race.

Deborah Booker • The Honolulu Advertiser

This is Sean Monahan’s excuse for skipping work today.

For nearly six hours yesterday, he out-paddled Tropical Storm Daniel and some of the world’s best paddleboarders to win the Quiksilver Silver Edition Molokai to Oahu Paddleboard Race.

Monahan, a lifeguard at Fort DeRussy, completed the 32-mile course from the Kaluakoi Hotel on Molokai to Maunalua Bay, Oahu, in 5 hours, 37 minutes, 33 seconds. It was his second consecutive victory in what is considered one of the world’s elite paddleboard races.

"I’m calling in sick," said Monahan, 30. "This one was, to me, twice as hard as last year. This race hurt bad."

Indeed, with the tropical storm contributing to a sloppy Kaiwi Channel, paddlers were forced to battle crossing winds and irregular swells the entire way. Monahan’s time was the slowest winning mark in the four-year history of the event.

"You had to fight just to stay on line," he said. "There were some runners (waves), but when you caught one, you kind of went sideways and then you had to paddle back the other way to get back on course."

For the second consecutive year, Hawaii competitors took the top three places. Dawson Jones placed second at 5:42:00, and Guy Pere was third in 5:46:56. Australian Aaron Bitmead was fourth (5:49:11), followed by Hawaii’s Jimmy Austin (5:52:34), who at 20 became the youngest finisher in the race.

The two-man team of Brendan Shea and Charlie Walker completed the course in 5:23:10, which was the fastest time yesterday.

Dolan Eversole won the stock board division (for boards 12 feet long) in 6:05:39. Megan Harrington and Kelly Fey (6:38:45) were the only women’s team to finish. No females entered solo.

"At the point where I knew Sean was way ahead of me, I just wanted to finish," said Jones. "He had probably the most perfect line you could have for the last 25 percent of the race."

Once Monahan broke away from the lead pack, he maintained a straight course toward Maunalua Bay. Jones tried to catch him in the last five miles on a more southerly course, but that proved futile.

"I think I had the position," said Monahan. "I was north of him and I was able to surf a little bit at the end. He had to work back against the swells."

Added Jones: "I wish that I had covered him instead. Once I was off his line, I dropped back."

Instead, Monahan once again proved the worth of his unique solo training methods: He practices alone and only enters one race per year - the grueling Molokai to Oahu.

"I put in a lot of training hours," he said. "I think that paid off in the last hour of the race."

In addition to the training methods, Monahan said he maintained several other items from last year, including his surf shorts.

"I’m not superstitious," he said. "But it works, so . . ."

One thing he did change was his paddleboard. He used a 17- foot, 2-inch styrofoam-based board, which was longer yet lighter than the one he used last year.

"It worked great in these conditions," he said.

Pere, who finished second in the 1997 and ’98 races, overcame an equipment breakdown and two Portuguese man-o-war stings to place third.

"It was probably my worst race combined with my best race," he said. "I dropped back from the lead pack four times to stop and fix my rudder cable. After the fourth one, I thought about dropping out, but I figured I should just finish.

"And then I get stung twice. I was like this is not my day.’ But I just kept going and going and before I knew it, I was passing all these guys at the end."

Pere had high praise for his fellow lifeguard: "It was no fluke last year. Sean kicked butt again."

Leaders:

Elite: 1, Sean Monahan (Hawaii) 5 hours, 37 minutes, 33 seconds. 2, Dawson Jones (Hawaii) 5:42:00. 3, Guy Pere (Hawaii) 5:46:56. Open, 40-older: 1, Scott Lincoln (Calif.) 7:06:27. Stock, 39-younger: 1, Dolan Eversole (Hawaii) 6:05:39. 2, Victor Hemmy III (Hawaii) 6:29:26. 3, Matt Sack (Hawaii) 6:43:37. Stock, 40-older: 1, Ernie De Silva (Hawaii) 6:42:35. 2, Kamuela Aea (Hawaii) 6:50:22. 3, George Ramos Jr. (Hawaii) 6:50:53. Team Open: 1, Brendan Shea/Charlie Walker (Hawaii) 5:23:10. 2, Dave Kalama/Buzzy Kerbox (Hawaii) 5:27:44. 3, Beau Brown/Jeff Stoner (Calif.) 5:36:00. Team, 79 combined years or fewer: 1, Leon Hay/David Rastovich (Australia) 6:02:09. 2, Kolohe Blomfield/Rick Williams (Hawaii) NA. Team, 80-99 years: 1, Todd Bradley/Dale Hope (Hawaii) 5:55:13. 2, Dennis Pang/Mike Takahashi (Hawaii) 6:04:12. Team, 100 combined years or more: 1, Ken Bailey/Buddy Sheppard (Hawaii) 6:23:56. Mixed Team: 1, Tasha Ho/Kimo Kauihou (Hawaii) 7:03:04. Women’s Team: 1, Megan Harrington/Kelly Fey (Hawaii) 6:38:45.