paddleIMUA 2015 – Memories


A personal experience of crazy winds, magic bumps and an OC-1 rescue:

After the Olukai this was only my 3rd Maliko Run this year. I was particularly excited for this race, because the wind forecast looked real good and last year we ran out of wind about half way through the race. This year was different we had smoking trade winds all the way to harbor. In fact I got smoked off my board by a gust in the harbor basin, but that’s later.

After the hairy off shore start at the Olukai last week I was looking forward to a more the less calm start inside the gulch where everything should be a bit more organized and less hectic. Maybe it was only me but some how my start was actually not as organized and calm as I hoped it to be. After the briefing all 200 paddlers were filling up the bay inside Maliko Gulch rather quick. Everybody was sitting down as told between the buoys on each side of the bay. OC paddlers to the right and SUP to the left. The wind was blowing pretty good from the east so I tried to be as far right in the pack as I could. In the beginning I had a pretty good spot, but somehow the pack kept creeping forward and I had to make sure to maintain my position. People were paddling forward sitting down around me. The next time I paid attention the two starting buoys were well behind me and we were actually sitting almost outside of the bay. We were now sitting in pretty rough waters, then all of a sudden some of the elite-paddlers upfront stood up and started paddling. I assumed that was the start and did the same. The distance between the people in the back of the pack and the front of the pack was probably a good 100 yards. (If you are in these ocean races to win or at least to get a prime spot on the podium you better make sure you are up in the starting line.) Either way… I was now fighting to get as far out as possible as we were also dealing with a small north swell.

Once I found my line I had the heck of a good time, there were rollers and bumps all the way. I was making good pace trying to keep up with the guy in orange in front of me, but he made good pace too so I could never really catch him. The wind was humming at probably  18kts with gusts a bit higher. I was catching bump after bump having a blast. I was also pretty proud of myself as I stayed dry all the way till mid Kanaha when I spotted an OC-1 paddler in front of me without the OC-1 attached to her. Where was the jet ski? She was right in my line and it was clear to me that she would not make it to her canoe swimming. She now waved her paddle. I paddled up to her and she told me that she “huli” her canoe (capsized) and her leash broke. Her OC was drifting in the wind. I told her to sit behind me and we would 2-Man up to her boat. We paddled and paddled and finally made it to her canoe, she jumped in the water to swim up to it as gust took her canoe out of reach. Dang paddle again… lucky my friend Frank just paddle along that moment and he was able to sit down lee-ward of the canoe and hold it until we made it there. Happy times: Nani got her canoe back and race continued.

Now it was not all that far to get to the harbor and the wind was going strong with bumps standing tall. I connected some awesome bumps and made my way into the harbor now fighting the wind from the side. Besides the OC rescue this was the craziest part of the race. I tried to stay as close to he breakwater as close possible to be out of the wind jsut to be greeted with 20kts head wind after 9.5miles down the coast this was not much fun. I fought my way pretty good against the wind towards the commercial pier with the cruise ship from where I usually can ride the wind out towards the beach. NOT TODAY!

The water surface it self was relatively calm but the wind was crazy, there were gusts picking up water from the surface creating “water smoke” and at some point I got hit by such a gust picking pushing me right off my board. The board was flying and I was in the water… dang that cost me at least 3 spots and not only that, my leash was caught around the fin so I had to paddle the last 200 yards with a leash under my board. Finally I was at the beach running up the track being greeted with a lei. That was so nice, I was definitely exhausted, what a crazy race that was, from start to finish. I loved it all the way. Now just too bad I have to wait all the way to July for the next crazy race. Till then I will continue to cover everybody elses’ races across the world.

If you like to know the results by division here is the link to the paddleIMUA 2015 Race Results.

Enjoy this little gallery below and make sure you also check out Jimmy Hepps’ and (Johann Meya) Galleries. They do an amazing job getting the great shots.

Also big mahalos to Bluesmiths and IMUA Family services for putting on this great event.



Dieses Jahr war das paddleIMUA eine besondere Erfahrung: Die Winde waren krass und wir mussten Unterwegs noch eine Dame mit aus dem Wasser retten… Die ganze Geschichte neben an auf English…