On Sunday 15th May at 11am Surfski paddlers from around the world line up on Kepuhi Beach on the Island of Molokai and race 56km across the channel to Hawaii Kai on the Island of Ohau what has become known as the Molokai World Championships.
South Africa will be represented by Tom Schilperoort from Fish Hoek in Cape Town, a very tallented paddler who has raced all over the world and in all types of conditions.
Here is how he has settled in, and his experience's of the first 4 days of his "Hawaii Safari"

Hawaii - Makapu'u Madness

So I've been in Hawaii for four days now and I can't quite figure out if I've fallen in love with the place... It could be naive teenage infatuation or maybe it’s real, I dunno, but I'm pretty besotted at the moment!

Watersports rule here. They always have done. From the days of the ancient Polynesians through to Duke Kahanamoku and to today’s professional watersports athletes, this place is Mecca. You literally feel it when you get in the ocean here. The first paddle I did when I arrived was the legendary Makapu’u Run.

The colour of the water is almost indescribable.  It’s a deep blue, so deep that you feel that there could be other galaxies underneath you! Then there’s the sheer size and power of the ocean swells. I’ve paddled in many different places around the world and I like to see the ocean as my comfort zone. If ever I feel a bit uncomfortable or even homesick in a land far from home, I always know that if I get out for a paddle, everything will be familiar and “homely” again. Well as I rounded the point at Makapu’u, I wasn’t filled with a feeling of homeliness.

 The place is a giant washing machine. Massive swells, built by the easterly trade winds blowing for hundreds of kilometres over the great expanse of the Pacific Ocean, crash into the shear lava cliffs that defend the eastern shore of Oahu. The cliffs are a wall that stands firm and the remnants of the retreating swells are sent back in every direction. The ocean literally dances. It’s similar to what happens around Cape Point, except it’s twice the size and a little angrier. Mountains rise and fall in a matter of seconds.

It’s very difficult to find a rhythm on a surfski there. You literally could catch a bump in any direction. I heard a story of an OC-1 paddler who got caught at the convergent point of two swells. He was catapulted out of his boat. Paddler,paddle, outrigger, arm and boat were all flung in different directions. You could use a seat belt at Makapu’u   

That was on a day when the wind was blowing at a steady 20knots though. Like anywhere, the wind in Hawaii comes and goes. Today was a mill pond, beautiful for sun tanning, SUP surfing and fishing but not what we would like come Sunday when we cross the Kaiwi Channel. At the moment the wind guru assures us that we’ll be blessed with a steady 15knots. That would suit me just fine.


From all of the Orka Training Squad and Swamp Donkeys, Tom good luck on Sunday.