RM Paddle: 2014 Cline Mann Koolaupoko Paddleboard Race

Race Recap

2014 Cline Mann Koolaupoko

Our friends in Oahu provided this great race recap for the 2014 Cline Mann Paddleboard Race.  Those that haven't yet put this race on your list are missing out on one of the great summer races on Oahu.

The 12th annual Cline Mann-Koolaupoko race went off on July 12th in challenging conditions but offering sunny beautiful skies.  Both the long (Makapuu) and short (Hawai‘i Kai) courses race provided each competitor with challenging but very memorable day on the ocean. With steady trade winds gracing the competitors courses, the declining tide provided it’s usual antics that forced each paddler to decide which line to they should take in order to get them to the end of the race the quickest.  The Outrigger-sponsored race honors the late John Cline Mann who the loved the ocean and the sport of traditional (prone) paddleboarding and largely kept the sport alive in Hawai‘i through the 1980s and 1990s.  The former 10,000 meter race course in Waikīkī was altered in 2004 (?) to the current long-distance downwind course favored by many paddlers.

The long course of the Cline Mann race is the second longest race of the year (second only to the Molokai to Oahu race).  The competitors in this division often use this race as a barometer to gauge their ability and stamina in distance paddling as they near the date of this year’s Molokai 2 Oahu finale which occurs 2 weeks later. The always challenging long course, which includesprone paddleboards only and starts at Makai Pier and ends at OCC beach, forces paddlers through a myriad of grueling conditions with a total distance of approximately 17 miles.  Clark Abbey gave the group of usual suspects who elect to compete in this division a wonderful blessing under the pier before the start of the race. As paddlers jumped in the ocean and lined up to begin the race (holding hands to deliver a fair start) Kalani Schrader poured the ceremonial tribute Budweiser (Cline’s beer of choice) into the water signaling the start of the race.  From the Makapuu Lighthouse all the way to Black Point, Keoni Watson lead the unlimited class division only to be slightly edged out by Bert Charlton in the last leg of the race, whom took first place with Keoni coming in a close second. Third place went to one of Australia’s founding fathers of paddleboarding, Mick DiBetta who is no stranger to Hawaiian waters and is one of the original paddleboarders that participated in the inaugural Molokai to Oahu race. In the stock class division Mitch Allen took top honors, with Nick Fox and Kai Hall rounding out the top three.

The short course also followed Clark’s blessing, with paddlers hitting the water on SUP’s and traditional prone boards. With the tide still pulling towards Koko Head, paddlers in this course were also faced with the choice of going outside of Black Point with hopes of catching larger bumps, or taking an inside line to avoid the current and possibly drawing fastest line‘from point A to point B’. Perennial powerhouse Scott Gamble led the charge from start to finish on his SUP and was being chased by the multi-talented and very experienced young Riggs Napolean. Scott was able to keep Riggs at bay, and was the first to the beach with Riggs taking second and Marshal Rosa taking third.  In the unlimited class prone division Troe Herlong was first, Stephen Valentin took down second, and the legendary Clark Abbey took third.  In the stock class prone division Kurt Lager took top honors followed by Hunter Pflueger and Ethan Siegfried rounded out the top three.

Back at the Outrigger, at the start of the long course race, OCC Paddleboard committee member, Dolan Eversole conducted a free Keiki paddleboard relay race.  This free race

is in its’ 3rd year as part of the Cline Mann race.  The relay format pitted 2-person teams withone 500 yard lap each out to the windsock and back.  This year featured the largest turn out to date with over 30 kids total.  Taking the boys division was Team Aloha Boys (Hobey Moss and Luke Biondi) and winning the Girls division was Team The Cruisers (Mahina Akaka and Nicole Yarbrough).  

Once all competitors were in from the water, they were greeted with ono food provided by the OCC staff, a terrific raffle with amazing product donated by our generous supporting company’s, and the incredible music on hand played by none other than OCC’s own (and past Cline Mann champ) Mikey Cote.

Many thanks goes out to all of the volunteers, competitors, OCC staff, donating company’s, and the OCC Paddleboard Committee to making this year’s race such a success.

It should be noted that although many competitors have their eyes on winning (or placing) in their respective divisions, this race is all about camaraderie , having fun, enjoying the ocean, and being grateful that we live in place which allows us to participate in such great events. Kimo Akaka who completed the short course embodies all of these things and continues to amaze and inspire many others as he deserves to be recognized for his great achievement on this day!
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