Monday, July 31, 2000


By Kathryn Bender, Star-Bulletin
Molokai-to-Oahu winner Sean Monahan strokes to
the finish line on his paddleboard at Maunalua Bay.

Lifeguard defends
paddleboard title

Sean Monahan is the first to
cross Kaiwi Channel in the
32-mile Silver Edition
Molokai to Oahu race

By Steve Murray


Proving last year was no fluke, Hawaii's Sean Monahan captured his second consecutive Silver Edition Molokai to Oahu Paddleboard Race that finished yesterday at Maunalua Bay in Hawaii Kai.

Monahan looked rather fresh after paddling across the 32-mile Kaiwi Channel in 5 hours, 37 minutes and 33 seconds. But looks can be deceiving.

"It really hurt today," the lifeguard said. "There were some real painful waves this time."

The 60 men and three women in the field left Molokai in the early morning to test themselves against the conditions. Fast times were expected because of 20 mph winds and 3- to 4-foot swells that were forecast for the race. The predictions held true almost until the end.

About five miles from the finish, Monahan was nearly 15 minutes ahead of record time. However, when the racers turned the corner near Portlock, choppy waves and a sudden lack of wind slowed things considerably.

Monahan credited his water knowledge and conditioning for helping him fend off a late charge by second-place finisher Dawson Jones (5:42:00). Honolulu lifeguard Guy Pere was third (5:46:56).

Jones, a 34-year-old pilot for Hawaiian Airlines, said Monahan used good course tactics to hold him off.

"He did a good job taking a track closer to shore to ensure the win," he said.

The first of the international finishers was Australian lifeguard Aaron Bitmead, who was fourth overall. This was Bitmead's first long-distance race.

"The longest race I've ever done was for one hour," he said.

Even with increasing his training to three hours a day, the channel almost proved too much. "It's so mental. I was so tired I wanted to pull out at the two-hour point," he said.

The youngest paddler in the race, 20-year-old Jimmy Austin, was awarded a gift he is too young to enjoy: a six-pack lei of Hinano beer. It was Austin's first time crossing the channel but he was not satisfied with his time.

"At about three hours in, I got sick," he said. "It was real disappointing seeing the other guys go by me."

Everyone seemed to agree that Monahan ran away with the race. But even with his competitors' praises, he may not be there to challenge next year.

"This is probably the last time I'll do a solo," he said.


Kaluakoi, Molokai, to Maunalua Bay, Oahu - 32 miles


Elite: 1. Sean Monahan (Hawaii) 5:37:33. 2. Dawson Jones (Hawaii) 5:42:00. 3. Guy Pere (Hawaii) 5:46:56


40-over: 1. Scott Lincoln (Calif.) 7:06:27


39-under: 1. Dolan Eversole (Hawaii) 6:05:39, 2. Victor Hemmy III (Hawaii) 6:29:26, 3. Matt Sack (Hawaii) 6:43:37

40- over: 1. Ernie De Silva (Hawaii) 6:42:35, 2. Kamuela Aea (Hawaii) 6:50:22, 3. George Ramos Jr. (Hawaii) 6:50:53


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

79 years combined-under: 1. Leon Hay/David Rastovich (Australia) 6:02:09 2. Christopher Wright/Greg Quinn (Hawaii) 6:11:12.

80-99: 1. Todd Bradley/ Dale Hope (Hawaii) 5:55:13 2. Dennis Pang/Mike Takahashi (Hawaii) 6:04:12

100-plus: 1. Ken Bailey/Buddy Sheppard (Hawaii) 6:23:56

Mixed: 1. Tasha Ho/ Kimo Kauihou (Hawaii) 7:03:04

Women:1. Megan Harrington/Kelly Fey (Hawaii) 6:38:45

2000 Honolulu Star-Bulletin