Molokaʻi Hoe 2012 was a far cry from the epic conditions two weeks earlier for the Na Wahine race. The week leading up to the race was marked by winds of any kind missing in action, and paddlers were hopeful that the weekend would bring some trades and swell. It was not to be as race day brought a relatively flat channel with haze and little surfing. Race favorite and 6-time defending champion Shell Vaʻa had a battle on their hands though as a younger and determined EDT crew led the race by 200 meters entering the channel after the sprint to Laʻau. However EDT veered a little south and shortly afterwards Shell took off to the right and found a more favorable line. From that point on, EDT had to play catch up and slowly narrowed the gap approaching Oahu. Off Waikiki, EDT came within striking distance but just couldnʻt catch the Shell crew who went across the line one minute ahead of the challengers. No record this year as the winners finished in 5:15:49 as the conditions took their toll on all the crews. Shellʻs second crew was third, and their paddlers crossed the line standing up in celebration. The Big Islandʻs Livestrong was the first Hawaiian crew to finish followed by Team Primo. Tahitiʻs Team Tahaa Nui was next, and the Tahiti Ohana crew, including some members of the Raʻi winning crew from 2002 finished ninth overall and first in the Masterʻs Division.
Heading for the finish: Shell in the lead and EDT turning.
EDT thinks of what might have been as a small course mistake proved costly. They will have another chance soon in the upcoming Hawaiki Nui race.
For Hawaii crews once again, what will it take to break up the Tahitian domination. Age, sponsorship help, and training are working against the top Hawaiian crews. For example EDTʻs paddlers are mostly in the 19-20 age group. Of interest is their training schedule. Six days a week they prepared by training before work from approximately 5-7 AM, work for the electric company until 3-3:30 PM and then more training with cross training lifting and running as well.
With their win, Shell Vaʻa broke the previous record for consecutive Molokaʻi victories which they shared with the Waikiki Surf Club powerhouse crews of the sixties. When asked what their goal was going to be, one comment was , "We wonʻt stop until we get ten in a row!" It may be that the crews like EDT may have something to say about that!