The Molokai 2 Oahu event hosts the most rigorous Paddleboard competition in the world and our ambassador, Vincent Dion, was the first Quebecer to participate. With a total distance of 50 km to navigate between two Hawaien islands. On the menu: destabilizing winds, insurmountable waves, muscle fatigue and sharks, literally.
Vincent, our ambassador, participated in 2018 and 2019 and shares with us his experience.
With the help and encouragement of my Hawaiian friend, Trey, I decided to sign up for the M2O World Championships. Of course, there is a lot of preparation to do before D-Day. Two weeks before the event, I trained on the Hawaiian waves of the Pacific Ocean. To be specific, I began my training at the China Wall, right up to the Ocean Canoe Club.
I then flew to the island of Molokai. I stayed there for 3 days to rest and relax, in order to focus my energy on competition.
The morning of the competition, all the participants, including my friend Trey who was also participating in the competition, gathered to say a prayer. The purpose of this prayer was to unite us with the spirit of the ocean according to the Hawaiian tradition, so that it will protect us throughout it.
The competition starts at 8 a.m. and we must all have an escort boat that follows us during the course, in case certain obstacles arise (weakness, sharks, bad weather, injuries, etc.). It is mandatory. In 2018, my sister accompanied me on the boat. She encouraged me to push myself because once in the middle of the ocean, you feel as though you are alone in the world. Between the island of Molokai and the island of Oahu, the waves can get quite high and this is where you feel the depth of the ocean.
About halfway through the course, I had to change my water bag. The rules around this are pretty strict: you have to stay at a distance of 5 meters without touching the boat, and it's a member who has to jump into the water to come and bring us and exchange our bag.
I continued nonstop until the very end. The final moments are quite difficult, it feels as though you have almost made it, but in fact there’s still a long way to go. My sister continued to cheer me on for the last 8 kilometers. The closer we get to the island, the more the intensity of the wind increases, pushing you in all possible directions.
My knees began to throb with all this pressure caused by the winds. Near the finish line, I saw my friend and family who were cheering me on. Their voices added to my inner voice which pushed me to keep going. This helped me cultivate positive thoughts and give me the energy to finish the competition.
Once I crossed the finish line and finally touched down, everything happened all at once: I received a medal, my family and friends came to congratulate me. My knees were in so much pain and I was exhausted. I crouched on the ground. It was also at this time that my sister came and gave me rather unsettling news: two sharks were following me during the competition.