« Back to Events 2011 MOLOKAI to OAHU Part I: One week prior to race by Heather Baus Start:January 1, 1970 12:00 am Somewhere over the Gulf of Mexico, Savannah and I share the cabin of a Boeing 757 with coughing folks, crying babies and no legroom- even for us short folks.



Now is a time to reflect, rest and contain the excitement of paddling the Ka’iwi channel in less than a week.  14 hours of flying time should be sufficient.  Savannah is styling in her Skull Candy headsets and I just finished organizing over 5000 photos and videos on the MacBook Air; long flights are awesome for pc spring cleaning!

Training for the M2O event has been something pretty amazing itself.  The idea began soon after BOP/CA 2010 and so did the training, in baby steps of course.  Being a Mother, teacher, wife and the Kialoa, Hinano and Raw Elements PR/Caribbean rep, I had to be very clever to fit in training and I could not have done so with out the support from the entire family.  Koko, our 5 year-old macaw, was the only one that opposed the idea.

Logging longer miles began over our Christmas sailing trip in the British Virgin Islands; it’s not difficult to put a 15 miler in while paddling in crystal clear waters and not a care in the world while on vacation.

My first goal was to train enough to complete the Catalina Challenge with my teammate Dane Moressey.  Thankfully we both had been training as we paddled up hill most of the way.  After this event the Spring was very busy with lots of on and off island SUP races.  I did the best I could to log miles, but it was after the BOP/HI and GCC that I had some pretty extraordinary paddling days.

Historically, the Molokai to Oahu run is primarily left sided paddling while off the south coast of PR, my primary training grounds, it is mostly right sided.  During the week I either had to paddle around my loop A LOT or catch a downwind that was almost completely right sided.  During the weekends while our daughter sailed with the Ponce team, Jim and I would head out to sea in Blue Moon, our 19’ inflatable with the kick butt custom board racks, and try to get an angle that was at least a few strokes on the left side (but even still the swell from the left quarter).  The first couple of times we started doing these longer runs it seemed like such an ordeal driving the boat up wind for 15-20 miles then paddling down.  I would feel so guilty seeing Jim just sitting there in the boat for hours watching me paddle, but soon found out he was quite content.  It was when we started bringing Savannah along it got interesting: she needs a shirt that says “professional puker”.  She decided she would take a small break from sailing and instead enjoy the boat ride and quality time with her Dad. I would look over so many times and smile only imagining what they were talking about.  Of course after many weekends of this any 9 year old would start to get bored of the idea of sitting in a boat for 3 or 4 hours.  Next thing I know I was giving her rides on the back of my board while she peered into the ocean with her goggles; then she decided she needed to drive the boat and Daddy needed to paddle and just all kinds of wacky ideas.  Finally one morning she told her Dad to load my 12’6 and that she was going to paddle too, and there our little downwinder was born.  Jim would stay with me as long as he could then zoom downwind farther to drop Savannah in and I would play catch up.  She would generally paddle the last 5 or 8 miles depending on the conditions.  The first couple of weekends I would catch up pretty quickly but the last time or two I had to turn it up a notch to pass this little grom.  The fun factor was also turned up a notch!


I think training for the Molokai has certainly made me a stronger paddler and has also made an even stronger family bond by working together and making the most of every outing.  I did not want training to take away from time with my family and instead it added to it.  No matter the outcome for Molokai I would not trade the training experience for anything and will continue these long paddle when I return.  Maybe with a stroke of luck the Molokai channel will be right sided paddling?

Check out Heather’s site at: http://www.heatherbaus.com/

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