Mocké races onto the podium in brutal Molokai Challenge

Cape Town - Fish Hoek based surfski star Jasper Mocké raced onto the podium at the fabled Maui Jim Molokai Challenge in Hawaii on Sunday, finishing third and completing an all-South African podium at the end of a race held in very tough hot weather and on a flat ocean that offered the paddlers no assistance on the 53km crossing between the islands of Molokai and Oahu.

A delighted but exhausted Mocké said from the finish at the Maunalua Beach Park that he was thrilled with the result at the end of a nail biting, tough slog that quickly saw the top five paddlers breaking away at the front.

"It was a hot, flat, tough, brutal race for me," said the Euro Steel/Epic Kayaks ace. "Five of us - myself, Hank (McGregor), Cory (Hill), Sean (Rice) and Clint (Robinson) all found our own niche, and it really was a story of five guys doing their own thing.

"To do well today you needed to be efficient and try and use whatever the ocean gave you - which wasn't much - and maybe from about twenty kays from the finish you could start catching bumps, but they weren't linking so you had to work hard to get any benefit.

"I was sitting in third/fourth most of the way and Clint (Robinson) and I were really racing for fourth place. I managed to come past him with about ten kays to go," said Mocké.

He said that his shot at making the podium came when defending champion Cory Hill of Australia, who was dicing with eventual winner Hank McGregor for the lead, made a mistake at the reef at China Walls, within sight of the finish.

"Unfortunately for Cory he rode a wave too far at China Walls and broke his rudder off over the reef, which jumped me up another spot," he said.

"I am happy. I felt that I left it all out there. I will definitely be back to try and improve," he said.

McGregor bagged his third win in the tough event, widely regarded as the de-facto world championship of ultra distance surfski racing, with Capetonians Rice and Mocké helping to make up an all-South African podium at the event for the first time.
The women's race was dominated by Queenslander Liz Pluimers, finishing fifteen minute ahead of Kiwi Rachel Clarke, with another Australian Tania Moohin completing the women's podium.

1. Hank McGregor (RSA) 3:45:34
2.Sean Rice (RSA) 3:47:01
3.Jasper Mocké (RSA) 3:48:19
4.Clint Robinson (Aus) 3:49:20
5.Joey Hall (Aus) 4:01:02

1.Elizabeth Pluimers 4:18:33
2.Rachel Clarke 4:34:49
3.Tania Moohin 4:48:22
4.Carrie Turner 5:27:57
5.Kiyomi Makino 5:49:30

Canoe Ocean Racing