Paddler claims title and record
JAMIE Mitchell said he may never compete in the Molokai-to-Oahu world championship race again after winning an unprecedented 10th consecutive time.
The Gold Coast lifeguard said he felt like the weight of the Hawaiian Islands lifted from his shoulders when he crossed the finish line of the 51.5km paddling race in record time.
Mitchell, 34, shaved eight minutes off the course record that he posted back in 2007, clocking a new fastest time of 4 hours, 30 minutes and 41 seconds. “I feel like the weight of the entire Hawaiian Island chain has lifted from me,” said a pumped up Mitchell at the finish.
It was an emotional and relieving victory that ended a decade of perfection for Mitchell. And he signalled a decade was enough.
“Go out at the top,” he said.
“It's time for a new challenge. I've worked hard to get this. Ten years is a long time. It's time to chase something new.”
The win puts Mitchell on par with Quiksilver teammate Kelly Slater, a 10-time world champion of surfing and one of the only human beings on the planet who can comprehend the dedication and commitment such a sporting feat demands.
Slater was among the first to praise Mitchell's accomplishment. “Jamie has set a bar that few, if any, athletes have set in their careers,” Slater said.
“Ten straight years of doing anything is impressive. To beat the world's best paddlers time and again in treacherous, unpredictable conditions is inspiring and unbelievable.”
Relatively weak trade winds didn't offer much assistance, but an incoming tide made the course surprisingly fast.
Before tackling his next “Everest”, it's time for Mitchell to finally take his new wife Jocelyn on the honeymoon that has been on hold for three months.
After that, he will lend his support to Slater as head of water safety at the upcoming Quiksilver Pro New York from September 1-15.