1 – Most of us Molokai Virgins

October 5, 2004 · 0 comments

Briac FRCC

So the False Creek women paddled to glory last week (I still don't
believe that their achievements have sunk in with everyone
yet..under 10 minutes behind the record setting winners...that's got
to be considered within jab of title contention)...and hung us out
to dry in our cold, wet Vancouver hideout with no information, no
updates, nothing....we were reduced to drug addicts in withdrawal,
hitting up any website that would mention even the tiniest of facts
about the Molokai crossing...trying to find anything about what
conditions were like....

So having been in that situation, hopefully a couple postings on
this site will avoid a repeat.

The intent of these postings are to give a perspective for everyone
stuck at home (did I mention how warm the water is here?), and be at
the same time informative and entertaining. Let me know if there's
any aspect I can add to these.

So the FCRCC men's program is sending over the better part of two
full crews this year. Most of us Molokai virgins, with a meager
four who have at least one crossing under their belts. Shane who
crossed last year for the first time has mostly been the brains and
organization of this year's effort.

To give you an idea of what a crossing entails:
1. Getting race boats
2. Arranging for escort boats
3. Finding bodies to fill any empty seats
4. Renting a house for training week
5. Finding boats to use for training week
6. Booking flights
7. Booking accomodations on Molokai
8. Trans-island travel arrangements
9. Making sure we've got food, cars, surfboards...etc...the list
goes on..

So now to introduce the line up:
We've got a total of 14 guys coming over from FCRCC (9 people
required for each crew). Shane showed up Thursday to arrange last
minute details, then Reg followed suit on Friday, Scott and Gord
arrived Saturday afternoon on separate flights, then the boatload of
Jake, Niels, Vlad, Adam, Steve, and Briac showed up Saturday
afternoon, followed by Moe, Dave, and Cam later that night. Many
trips to the airport. Trevor, the 14th will show up later in the
week. In addition, we've picked up a guy from Australia: Sampson
Hollywood (with a name like that we still have to ask him if he's
involved in the porn industry). There's a guy from Mooloolaba
joining us by the name of Gord, a steersperson from HuiNalu by the
name of Paul, and finally one of his friends. That's a total of
18. No crews have been set yet, and that will slowly jel over the
next few days.

So the first real day in Hawaii:
Sunday October 3rd. Temperature: hot. Humidity: low. Waves: not
much. 7am (yes, jetlag), and we're all piling into the minivans to
go surfing. We get to Waikiki and rent the heaviest, biggest
longboards in the world. It's pretty flat, and none of us really
know what we're doing...but we squeeze in an hour of surfing...and
our first casualty of the trip occurs: Cam is surfing a 16ft wave,
he's just coming out of the barrel when he bites it on the reef.
Actually he fell off a 1ft wave and stepped on a sea urchin. Man
down. Life guard offers to urinate on his foot...he passes...which
results in a trip to the store for some vinegar.

Back to the house for some lunch...we're all awaiting with
anticipation our first training run: 11am. We get to HuiNalu and see
our boats for the first time. They are a Bradley and a Bradley
Striker. Very nice boats...great skirts and paddle hooks. We split
up into 3 crews of 5, and head out. You follow a few markers to
navigate through the reefs, and out into open water. Everyone is
giddy with excitment as we observe the swells on the horizon. The
boats are running well...we see teams from Tahitti training as well.
The water is very salty, but soooo warm.

We head ccw around the island, and we're going up against the
swells...it's not big, but already the full potential of what's in
store is clear...you hear the occasional "Holy S#@t!". All boats are
holding side by side..then we finally turn downwind, and
the 'Hawaiian steersperson' advantage becomes clear...Paul's boat
takes off. Eventually we head back into the harbour, and Paul is
mentioning to stay beside the channel...odd...but quickly we
understand, Vlad calls a push, and the boat picks up, we're three
boat lengths behind Paul's boat, and our boat has just shifted gears
and we're now wondering what is happening...we're going so fast it
eventually becomes clear that to continue paddling is a waste of
time, I look over my shoulder, and see a wall of water bearing down
on us...we reach Paul's boat just as we peel off the shoulder of the
wave, and see them get onto it just as it is cresting...they
disappear behind a wall of whitewash..and I'm thinking we just lost
a crew and boat. Turns out they did fine...and the third boat is
sitting there watching all of this yelling and jealous. Another sign
of things to come. We then load our boats onto the trailer, and we
will be loading them onto a barge tomorrow morning to be shipped off
to Molokai.

Ok, mental note, I'll have to make these updates shorter......


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