After winning the 12th annual QuiksilverEdition Molokai to Oahu paddleboard race, his seventh straight, Jamie Mitchell (Queensland, Australia) has solidified himself as the greatest paddler ever. Period. He didn’t quite break the course record, missing out by nine minutes on his time from last year, but when you realize that the second place finisher was a full twenty minutes behind him on the 32-mile course, there’s no disputing his dominance. We caught up with Jamie back at home in Oz to find out how it feels to be the champ.
SURFING: Most people have no idea what paddling 32 miles is like, walk me through the race and what it takes.
Jamie Mitchell: Paddling the Molokai is obviously very tough. It takes a lot of preparation and dedication and training. The race itself is brutal… You have to deal with wind, currents, tides, swell, the heat, the ocean creatures, and your own mind. And depending on what mood all those things are in will depend on how bad your day is going to be haha…
This was your seventh consecutive win, how did this year’s race stack up against the others?
For me I personally had a great race… I really felt solid the whole way across and really never hit the wall. The tide changed with about 8 miles to go which made the last bit harder as it was flushing out into the channel against us… But there were definitely some good bumps to surf across and I would have to say all in all it was a pretty good crossing compared to other years.
Where do you go from here? It seems like you own this event, are you going to keep competing in it?
Yeah, where do I go from here, good question. Having a nice rest right now. But as for paddling I won’t jump back on a paddleboard now till March next year. Ill just be surfing a lot… But I’ll be definitely doing it next year…
How do you stay motivated?
I draw motivation from a lot of different places. Other athletes, myself, and just the challenge of finishing the race gives you motivation, and oh yeah everyone trying to kick your ass…
It’s a really long race, I mean it took you nearly five hours to finish, what goes through your head out there? Does your mind wander, or do you stay pretty focused the whole time?
Yeah, the race took me nearly 5 hrs but for me it didn’t really feel like 5 hrs. I try and stay pretty focused and really try to catch every little bump and give myself mini challenges in my mind. I also use a waterproof iPod, which helps a lot. But just catching bumps and surfing across is pretty fun so it can go quick sometimes. Other days it seems like forever and your mind does wander. Its amazing the weird shit that can come into your mind…
Jamie; midway through the 2008 QuiksilverEdition Molokai to Oahu paddleboard race
How do you train for the Molokai? Do you do anything besides paddling?
Training for the Molokai consists of paddling obviously. Also I swim a fair bit and paddle Stand up for cross training and also a little strength training. But it’s pretty full on… 6 days a week… Sundays off.
You said you have a waterproof iPod, what were you listening to?
I was listening to pretty standard rock music… AC/DC, Pearl Jam, Chili Peppers, Incubus, Metallica etc.
How did you celebrate the win?
We celebrated by a few too many beers.
You also do a good amount of big-wave surfing, would you rather win a paddleboard race, or surf huge waves?
Win a paddleboard race or surf big waves… That’s a tough one. I LOVE both… How about paddle into a big wave??? That’s doing both, hey?