Four Mairangi Bay Surf Lifesaving Club lifeguards have recently returned from a successful trip to Hawai’i to race in the Molokai to Oahu Paddle Board world championships.

The four, Mairangi Bay’s head coach Tom Lowe, Harry Hickey, Joe Wilson, and Lucas Forbes, raced the 52km open water event on July 30 (Hawai’i time).

The race is steeped in history, with some of the biggest names in surfing having competed - this year included
Kai Lenny, Buzzy Kerbox and Luke Shepardson - and is widely regarded as the toughest event on the prone paddle boarding calendar.

Competitors battle the field and the elements from Molokai to Oahu across the Ka’iwi channel, otherwise known as The Channel of Bones, due to its reputation for ruthlessly flipping boats and sending crews to their deaths.

After a three-year absence due to Covid lockdowns, this year’s race saw 230 paddlers on the starting line.

Challenging conditions greeted them all; the forecasted prevailing winds that help push the racers to Oahu petered out around the four-hour mark of the race while solid six-to-eight-foot ocean swells battered them as they crossed the 52kms.

The four Mairangi Bay competitors did incredibly well, with Forbes winning the Under 19 stock-prone board category, Wilson second in the 20-29 stock-prone category and Lowe, and Hickey finishing third in the Under 79 (combined age) two-person team’s category.