World Challenge draws hundreds of paddlers

SALT POND — The wind blew with the paddlers yesterday as hundreds competed in the Fifth Annual Expedia.com Kaua‘i World Challenge.

Approximately 110 teams were registered for the 34-mile canoe race which carried a $25,000 purse.

The race started at the Wailua Beach and soon as the paddlers got the start signal, they raced from the beach, sprinting with one hand on their canoes and one with a paddle. Arms flailing, they all tried to get a jump into the water.

Conditions were calm at the start, but as soon as the paddlers started heading south, the wind and the waves picked up. There were three changes, the first at Hanama‘ulu Beach, then at Kalapaki Beach and Po‘ipu Beach. The finish was at Salt Pond where crowds awaited the first paddlers.

The first to come in and complete the course was a two-man canoe team of Greydon Viloria, William Anderson, Greg Pavao and Tim Ekau, with a time of 3:56:16. Pavao and Ekau paddled the first and third leg of the race, while Viloria and Anderson took the second and fourth.

“The third leg was the hardest,” said Pavao. “Coming around the point (at Kalapaki), it was kind of rough out there.”

When Viloria and Anderson pulled in, they were somewhat surprised to hear they were first.

“They had us by a mile,” Anderson said.

The “they” he referred to was another two-man team from O‘ahu consisting of Kevin Thompson, Jonathan Leandro, Cana Day and Hayden Ramler. They were undoubtedly a mile ahead of everyone, however, they paddled far out and did not turn at the escort boat and through the buoys.

By the time a Jet ski rode to them to turn around, other teams had already taken the top spots.

They were eventually awarded the win in the two-man canoe division with a rough true time of 3:42.

The overall winners of the day were Kai Bartlett and Kea Paiaina of the one-man canoe division with a time of 3:41:46.

Because of the race’s staggererd-start, Bartlett and Paiaina had the fastest time even though they weren’t the first to paddle in.

Other winners include Dolan Eversole and Matt Dubueil in the surfski with a time of 3:42:03 and Amanda Ozolins and Lisa Curry-Kenny with a time of 4:25:42.

The paddlers came from as far as Hong Kong, Brazil, Vancouver, Australia and as close as O‘ahu and Maui.

The six-man canoe races close out the Kaua‘i World Challenge today.

The paddlers will start at the Kalapaki Beach and finish at Po‘ipu Beach.

Full results will be posted at www.kauaiworldchallenge.com.

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