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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, July 24, 2005

Australians sweep paddleboard race

By Dayton Morinaga
Advertiser Staff Writer


Jamie Mitchell breezed his way to victory in the Hennessey's International Paddleboard Championships yesterday.

With winds of 10 to 20 mph at his back, Mitchell completed the 8-mile course from Hawai'i Kai to Kaimana Beach, Waikiki, in 1 hour, 11 minutes, 28 seconds.

Mitchell, who is a lifeguard from Queensland, Australia, has won every paddleboard race he has entered in Hawai'i since 2002.

"When this course is on, it's really good because of the consistent trade winds," said Mitchell, 28. "All I had to do was take a straight line to the finish."

Ryan Addison of Malibu, Calif., placed second in 1:13:49, and Australian Mick DiBetta was third in 1:14:12.

"To beat Jamie, I think you need two Chevy V-8s on either side of your board," Addison said. "That guy's just amazing."

Honolulu lifeguard Brian Rocheleau placed fourth in 1:14:13, and was the first Hawai'i finisher.

Hayley Bateup of Australia dominated the women's division, finishing in 1:25:21. Kanesa Duncan of Honolulu was second in 1:28:52.

More than 140 paddleboarders completed the race. Paddleboards are streamlined surfboards, and are paddled only with arm strokes, much like paddling a surfboard.

Many of the world's top paddleboarders entered the race as a precursor to next Sunday's Quiksilveredition Moloka'i to O'ahu Paddleboard Race.

"This is really a good warm-up," said Mitchell, who is the three-time defending champion of the Moloka'i race. "It's a sprint, so you can go hard. But it's also not that long, so you don't really hurt yourself."

The race course moved to O'ahu's south shore for the first time this year. In previous years, it was held on the North Shore.

"I think I like this course better just because of the winds," said Mitchell, who received $1,150.

Mitchell said he broke ahead of the pack early in the race and then slowly increased his lead.

"The start was a little rough because there were so many people," Mitchell said. "But once we got outside to the wind and the (wave) bumps, I got ahead a little bit and felt good about it."

Bateup was caught in the middle of other male paddlers during her race, so she was never aware of her female opposition.

"I tried to look around to see where Kanesa (Duncan) was, but I had no idea," said Bateup, who received $850. "I always try to beat a few of the guys and challenge myself there."

A stand-up division was added to the race for the first time this year. In that division, competitors had to stand on the paddleboard the entire way and use a canoe paddle to power themselves.

Hale'iwa's Bonga Perkins, who is better known as a longboard surfing champion, won the stand-up division. He finished an impressive 26th overall with a time of 1:22:38.

"It's all fun and games for me and if I can be a part of this and keep up with some of the top paddleboarders in the world, I'm pretty happy with just that," Perkins said.

Bruce Taylor of Australia was the first to finish on a stock paddleboard (a standard, 12-foot board) with a time of 1:17:17.