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Australian athletes have taken out all top 10 positions in the 22nd Hawaiian Molokai to Oahu Paddleboard race this morning with half of those hailing from NSW Surf Life Saving clubs.

The 52-kilometre ocean race across the Ka’iwi ‘Channel of Bones’ attracts over 200 hardcore competitors from all over the world.

Ironman Matt Bevilacqua has taken out his fifth consecutive win in the Men’s Solo Unlimited Prone Paddleboard and set a new course record of 4 hours 20 minutes, beating his own 2016 record by 10 minutes.

Stewart McLachlan from Manly LSC took out the top title in the 30-39 stock division, his fourth consecutive title. He also broke the five-hour milestone, a personal best for him. "I really wanted to break five hours this year and I achieved it with 4 hours 43 minutes," said McLachlan after the race. "The race this year was actually very comfortable compared to other years. That said, it's never an easy race." 

Fellow Manly LSC Ironman and teammate Harrison Stone rounded out the Australian top 10 with a silver in his own division in the Men’s Stock Prone Paddleboard Under 29 category.

Ironwomen Harriet Brown and Lizzie Welborn from North Bondi SLSC battled it out for the top spot in the Women’s Solo Unlimited Prone Paddleboard. Lizzie led for much of the race but Harriet dug deep in the final three kilometres of ‘flatwater’ and passed her to finish first – her third straight win. Harriet set a new course record of 4 hours 50 minutes.

Nick Carroll from Newport SLSC took out first place in the Men’s 100+ teams’ event with team mate Gavin Hill from BMD Northcliffe SLSC, QLD. Racing together for the first time, they set a new record of 5 hours 21 minutes. Carroll, who was competing in his seventh event, said that conditions were almost perfect with “healthy winds and relatively normal trade-wind swells”.

Nick Carroll (Newport SLSC) and Gavin Hill (BMD Northcliffe SLSC QLD)
Gavin Hill (BMD Northcliffe SLSC QLD) and Nick Carroll (Newport SLSC)

“We pushed it hard and fast from the start of the race because we knew a nasty current would form at the South East corner of Oahu early in the afternoon. It can push you backwards if you’re too slow getting across the channel.” said Carroll.

Carroll said that Australia’s dominance in the event was unsurprising given the culture of surf clubs in Australia and the board skills and training opportunities available to lifesavers from a young age.

Surf Life Saving NSW congratulates all our surf sport athletes who competed in the Molokai to Oahu Paddleboard race.

Time Competitor


Matt Bevilacqua (QLD)


Campbell Guthrie (QLD)


Joel Erskine (QLD)


Stewart McLachlan (Manly LSC, Redhead SLSC, NSW)


Lachie Lansdown (QLD)


Hayden Smith (Terrigal SLSC, NSW)


Cameron Coghlan (Manly Life Saving Club, NSW)


Harriet Brown (QLD)


Lizzie Welborn (North Bondi SLSC, NSW)


Harrison Stone (Manly LSC, NSW)