This year I really thought more about the logistics as I sat in my Oahu hotel room (thank you Hotel Renew!). George Ramos and Matt Sack were both preparing for their 15th consecutive crossings. Jamie Mitchell is making a movie about his channel crossings. Well, he's starring in it, but Brent is making the movie. 10 victories in a row. They tell me it might be a better story line if he loses; I put my money on Jamie anyway. Good thing because he did not disappoint - way to go JM! I feel like we've grown up together over the last 10 years of the channel. So proud of you!
|It's a race with a million stories. This one tops them all. JM 10|
Once the race goes off, usually your body takes over and your mind fights for control (surf North, keep drinking, stay positive, etc.)... This year, I felt the pain more than last year. My body told me to stop. It told me that it would have appreciated some more prep, some more rest. But in the end, it didn't let me down. I handled. I surfed on my knees better than in any other year. I rode all of the bumps I could find. I fought hard. I was cheered on by my husband, my wonderful friend Theresa, and my boat captain Billy.
|My cheerleader Ana Bella!|
|My honey. Thanks babe.|
|Escorting will wear you out - ask Theresa.|
I got my best time - I finally went faster on an unlimited board (5:50) than I had on a stock board (my stock record still stands at 5:53)! I broke the woman's overall and unlimited record of 5:58! But in the end, it was a 17 year old girl, by the name of Jordan Mercer who taught me about the channel. She paddled 32 mile in 5 hours and 22 minutes - a record that both eclipsed mine and was faster than the men's record that had held for the first 7 years of the race. Her time was also faster than the winning stock man's time (and new record set this year by Eric Abbott), faster than the SUP woman's winner, and less than 40 minutes behind the 10-time-consecutive-winner Jamie Mitchell. Jordan not only won the race, she eloquently spoke about it to the press and at the awards. I am so proud to see such talent and passion in traditional paddleboarding and look forward to her return to Hawaii for many years to come!
|Jordan Mercer. Inspiring performance girl!|
|Woman's unlimited winners|
|The man who makes the machines we ride - Joe Bark!|
|My friend and studly stock winner, record breaking, Eric Abbott|
|Thank you Theresa for supporting me since 2001! My water jumper for many of the years - from the beginning, when we didn't have a sea worthy escort and our GPS knowledge was minimal :). She says she'll be back with me next year!|
|SUP winner and Brazil-Maui girl Andrea Moller. Yeah girl!|
|Proud papa of 3 week old Eli - Brian Rocheleau. Top Hawaiian traditional paddleboarder.|
|Done! No rashes! Pualani swim suit. XCEL top. 2XU pants. Solid!|
|Finish line. Best time.|
|Jack Bark. Joe's son. Mikey Cote's partner. 1st place.|
|The channel will do that to you...|
|Eric Abbott. Best time. New Record. 1st stock. Killer.|
|Andrea bringing it home for the Maui girls.|
|Post race recap (my bud Keoni Watson and Vertra man in the background)|