This is a great read by Dave Kalama from his near win in the 2018 Maui to Molokai crossing on his foil board. Great mix of humility , ability & experience , true Hawaiian Waterman.
Sour grapes never tasted so good! Let me explain, this past weekend I competed in the Molokai Holokai. A race from Maui to Molokai's Kaunakakai harbor ( 26 miles), consisting of mainly SUP and OC 1 & 2, but this year they added foiling, the discipline I competed in. I believe it was the first official channel crossing race for foiling and it was a doozy. Monster open ocean swells, rain storms that prevented any type of visual reference, and very strong winds, most of the way. ( that's where the sour grapes come in to play).
In any case, the race provided some all time career high lights for me, I had the fastest glides I'd ever had because of the extreme efficiency of the Go Foil Maliko 200 I was using. I rode the biggest swells I've ever ridden in the open ocean. Because of the limitations of SUP and Outrigger canoes, you simply cannot go fast enough to ride those behemoth swells to completion, but with the foils you can, and they do, if you have the weight and gumption to track one down, talk about having a tiger by the tail. I also had another personal best, in that I stayed up on foil for approximately 23 to 24 miles, more than double my previous personal record. This wasn't a solo endeavor by any means though, my fellow competitors( although we felt more like team mates, because we were all jumping off this channel crossing cliff together) were Mark Raaphorst and Alan Cadiz, Zane Schweitzer, and my son Austin Kalama ( his first channel crossing of any kind) .
Off the start I fumbled a bit, was plagued by the confusion of the boat wakes ahead of me, and just general anxiety and stress. I did eventually come down off my foil about a mile into the race. Frustrated, I recognized that I had better hit the reset button and calm down, if I wanted to have any chance of enjoying this experience. To give you some reference of how much I enjoy being out in these channels throughout Hawaii, let me just say, I've paddled every major channel in Hawaii at least twice, some as many as 38 times( Kaiwi), Pailolo at least 20, and I've even paddled Maliko to Ala Moana (115 mi.) so I know my way around out there, and I also know that the key to success in any crossing is channeling all that nervous energy in to a focused point of calmness, and then finding your rhythm. Once a rhythm is established that's when the magic starts to happen, and that's just what happened for me. I took off like a rocket, I realized that the giant swells I've always daydreamed about catching were now rideable on a foil, it was literally a channel junky's wet dream. I not only caught back up to the leaders, but then proceeded to put the hammer down and roll right on by.
The internal joy and happiness of this experience put it right up there in my top three days ever on the water. Two of my top three days are in this channel, the other being a 6 man canoe race, and my best day as you might assume is a big wave day at Peahi. Now that I had established a lead I could relax even a little more and truly absorb the pureness of this experience, which in turn creates a freeness to flow and be in the zone even more. At about the half way point I remember passing a unlimited SUP racer, I think maybe Cody but wasn't sure, we were about a 100 yds. apart, but it gave me an understanding of how fast we were all going. (SUP had started approximately 40 minutes ahead of us). Things continued to be amazing, surfing from swell to swell with a flow that felt more like a epic surf session than a downwind race. At about 7 or 8 miles to go my boat told me I had somewhere between a half mile to a mile lead. I thought to myself don't get ahead yourself and start thinking about winning, just stay in the moment and keep flowing, so I did, and at about 2 miles to go I noticed the wind beginning to lighten quite a bit but still enough. It wasn't time to panic yet, but very quickly after that thought, BAM! It went completely still, no wind. I was in trouble, there was still a little a little bump in the water, enough to barely fly but at a much higher energy out put than I could muster. Plop! I went down and I didn't have the energy to get back up or the bumps necessary to give me a chance. The attribute , that helped me establish the lead ( my size and strength) were now working against me( it certainly didn't help that I hadn't done any formal training in the past 8 months because I've been so busy building Kalama performance foilboards for everyone. What a shameless plug??).
I had become a monster truck in a 250 cc motocross race and that 250 was coming up my back end. A few minutes later the inevitable happened, Zane went flying by me like a dandelion in the wind and there was nothing I could do about it, other than sit down and have a big gulp of my sour grapes and slice of humble pie. The cherry on top of my humble pie was that not even Zane made it to the finish up on foil, but he sure made it a lot further than I did, so you have to hand it to the kid, he won. And while I was floundering in my pity, I was glad for him, he's such a good kid and a real testament to how great his parents are. And speaking of kids, one of the days most special aspects was the sharing of this crossing with my son. I'm so proud that he did it, and hopefully someday this channel will bring him some of the joy it has given to me.
I purposely waited a few days to write this so that my sour grapes had a chance to sweet'n a little bit. Am I disappointed that I didn't win? You better believe it! I have to keep reminding myself though that my time at the throne has come and gone, like the generations before me. It's time for the next generation to have their turn at the helm. I do take some solace in acknowledging I'm almost 54, am not able to train every day like I used to, and was still able to mix it up with the best of them. Mahalo to my crew on the boat, my coach Bruddah Chris, Brent Deal for making happen, Quickblade paddles for the best you can get, Matty Schweitzer for some insane drone flying, Clare for putting on an incredible race, and my fellow Flyers Alan, Mark, Zane and Austin. Enjoy the wins, enjoy the losses and enjoy a glass of sour grapes now and then.
Zane's story who took the win & did it on an IWA that's amazing.
Zane Schweitzer (Hawaii) has just won the inaugural SUP Foil division race of the 26 mile (42 km) Pailolo Channel crossing from Maui to Moloka'i at the 2018 M2M Crossing, setting a new channel crossing record time and winning the overall classification - beating all other crafts including traditional outriggers, surf skis and unlimited SUPs!
The 15 x World Champion and 2 x Ultimate Waterman, Zane Schweitzer, has always been pushing the boundaries in the multitude of ocean sports he persues including windsurfing and paddleboarding surfing. "InZane" has been at the forefront of SUP foiling phenomenon and is now, once again, pushing the boundaries of this new frontier.
The Maui based waterman raced with the Starboard 6'9" x 23" Hyper Nut Carbon with a GoFoil Iwa just beneath the surface. Zane didn't accomplish this feat alone but gives credit to family and friends for their support in helping him realize this dream. He was also pushed hard all the way to the finish line by mentor and friend Dave Kalama. Here's Zane' account of winning the 2018 M2M Crossing on a SUP Hydrofoil ~
"From the water start outside of Fleming's Bay, on West Maui, I look over my shoulder at the braze crew of Hydrofoilers taking on one of the first ever major SUP foil events. Lined up beside me was Austin and Dave Kalama, Mark Rapahorss and Alen Kadiz.40 minutes after the SUP start the blast of the start horn for the foil classification sounded. I gave it 3 hard sprint strokes and quickly popped to my feet - and felt like I had already made it to the flying position. Besides one quick fall, I felt a nice flying rhythm and soon developed a good lead ahead of the other foilers.
Near the most exciting part of the race with the biggest, fastest-moving swell, Dave Kalama had a line that seemed to be faster mine and so he was gaining ground on me. I moved away from my dad who was my escort boat to feel the water further South towards the line Dave was following, but I soon realized that I made a bad choice getting and was just getting psyched-out by my competitor and not just following my own line - and the great course my very knowledgeable father had me on! My dad noticed what was happening and so quickly came over to me and reminded me to get back on course. Once back on course, I was able to catch back up to Dave, then eventually we were neck and neck just as we had an unexpected change of conditions - conditions that presented us with an extra challenge.
The wind started to die and the swell dropped too as we neared our finish at Kaunakakai Harbor on Molokai, and I knew this was a good time for me to take advantage of the hard sprint, interval and pump training Larry Cain (Paddle Monster) has had me on for the past 3 months. Shortly after the wind and swell died off, we then felt the wind in our face - with almost 4 miles still to go!I felt some raging cramps coming on as I was sprinting and pumping so hard to to get to the end before the headwind intensified - just did my best to mentally block the pain out. I was relieved to see Dave Kalama on my side - land to the water - as I knew it would be very hard for both of us to once again get the foil back up and flying after touching down in these flat waters.
I kept sprinting and pumping and flying for short burst as much as I could, through my cramps and exhaustion until finally, my board touched down for the last time and I was unable to get airborne again, to paddle home the last 2 miles or so on my 6'9" Hyper Nut and Iwa GoFoil both fully submerged. Dave was on an even shorter board than mine so I just had to keep going, padding and grinding, knowing that uncle Dave was also pushing water and pulling a foil.I was stoked to break the new record time across the channel and win overall between all crafts!
My time was 2:24 with the help of the 25 knotwinds and big swell- although the last 2 or 3 miles were into the wind and flat. If the wind was its normal NE Trades I believe I could have crossed the finish line foiling been near the 2 hour mark!It was a tough paddle when landing in those last roughly 2 miles of flats, leaving me to drag the foil on only a 6'9" SUP after pumping for hard for 23 miles, but man, was it a fun session and run filled with countless epic full-speed drops and rides I couldn't even time they were so long!!Big mahalo to my team for the support firstly to my Dad and his crew on the escort boat, Uncle Joe and uncle Scott Shoemaker, my coaches Larry Cain (Paddle Monster), Uncle Braddah Kamansi (Native Action) and my brother Matty Schweitzer! Also mahalo to my supporters and sponsors for the best equipment, Starboard with the 6'9" HyperNut, GoFoil Iwa, 5' Revolwe BioLeash, VestPak Hydration, and as well Kim Yap and Donica Shouse for the meal prep and race fuel!It was an epic run!"-
How damn exciting is this result! It's incredible to think these amazing guys on 6' SUP foils have beaten OCs and surfskis, with Dave Kalama a totally inspirational 54 y.o. This will stir up the M2O crew!
First time they did foiling in the maui to Molokai race and it breaks the record for fastest crossing ever and beats all other crafts!!
I think down wind foil racing is officially on the map!!
Yes have to agree Youngbreezy , watch this last part of the race where the wind is dropping and Zane keeps it going , just amazing and a whole new Genre of Downwinding.
So does that make a foil sup the fastest man powered open ocean water craft out there? Doesn't seem like those foil skis work on anything other than flat water, right?
The ski will never be faster just because of the length adding swing weight and pressure on the foil . The only time I can see a ski having maybe a small advantage is when you touch down in low wind you will have more paddle power to get it back up. I'm retty sure Dave's board is 5 foot or just under. Zane's 6'-3" so the only ski that would compete with that is a goat boat.
It would be good to know what the winning margin was. I can't find any results for 2018.
Zane's time was 2:24. The 2017 winning time was 3:19. The stories talk about catching unlimited SUP and OC 1 & 2 and that they had a 40 minute head start. It's not clear whether they were backmarkers or the leaders.
If the times were consistent with 2017 then the foils not only caught the leading fleet but crossed the line with nearly 20 minutes gap. That is awesome on top of amazing.