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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, August 10, 2006

Stand-up paddler makes O'ahu-Kaua'i crossing

By Jan TenBruggencate
Advertiser Kaua'i Bureau

Hanalei resident Kevin Horgan, 41, passes Kuki'i Point, Kaua'i, after a night of paddling the Ka'ie'iewaho Channel. Horgan is the first known stand-up paddle-boarder to cross the channel, doing so in about 21 hours.

JAN TENBRUGGENCATE | The Honolulu Advertiser

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NAWILIWILI, Kaua'i Kevin Horgan yesterday made what is believed to be the first stand-up paddleboard crossing of the Ka'ie'iewaho Channel between Kaua'i and O'ahu, finishing at 2:30 p.m. after 21 hours, 8 minutes of paddling.

"I probably fell down 100 times, but I caught about 200 waves and that made it worth it," said the 41-year-old Hanalei resident. "There's an old Japanese saying, 'Fall down seven times, get up eight times.' I kept telling myself that."

The crossing impressed bystanders.

"This is one of the most amazing athletic achievements I've ever seen. We were out fishing when we heard that this guy was coming across the channel. I was just blown away," said Sean Stemper of Madison, Wis.

Horgan, who won the solo stand-up paddleboard division in the July 30 Quiksilveredition Moloka'i to O'ahu Paddleboard Race, paddled a 14-foot yellow board with a carbon-fiber paddle. He started out with Big Island friend Jack Gillen at 5:20 p.m. on Tuesday at Ka'ena Point. They had two escort boats, one of which brought Gillen to shore after he became seasick a little more than halfway across the channel.

They had timed the crossing to coincide with the full moon, so they would be able to see the water at night. Horgan said he had the most trouble just after sunset and before sunrise, when the moon was so low it was difficult to judge the swells.

"Right before sunrise was probably the worst part. It was cold and I kept falling off my board. I had (an energy drink) and then the sun came up and everything was great," Horgan said.

Horgan earlier this year crossed the channels between the Big Island and Maui and Maui and Moloka'i. The Ka'ie'iewaho is the longest. Horgan said he calculates his course at 72 statute miles.

His major complaint as he rounded Kuki'i Point to head to the beach at Kalapaki was that his feet hurt.

Asked why he participates in long-distance stand-up paddling, a sport he's been doing for only about two years, Horgan said: "It's great exercise and a great way to see the ocean."

Reach Jan TenBruggencate at jant@honoluluadvertiser.com.