Paddleboard Champion, Jamie Mitchell, Makes a Visit

(KHNL) - This Sunday, more than 120 athletes will compete in the 11th annual "Quicksilver Edition Molokai to Oahu Paddleboard Race." It's a 32-mile open-ocean course and it's considered the world championship of long-distance paddleboard racing. The sport's biggest star is five-time defending champion, Jamie Mitchell. And we're honored to have this awesome Australian here with us this.

ANGELA:  Good day!

JAMIE:  Good morning.

ANGELA:  Did I say that right?

JAMIE:  You did, you did.

ANGELA:  What is the most important part of this race for you personally?

JAMIE: I think it's just the heritage and the tradition and it's very prestigious and obviously, Hawaii's got a lot of great watermen and athletes in the water and the rest of the world come out and compete with the Hawaiians and it's really an honor for us.

ANGELA:  How long have you been doing this?

JAMIE:  I've been paddling in the ocean my whole life but for the long distance paddling, I first came over in 1999 and I've been coming back ever since.

ANGELA:  How do you prepare for something, 32 miles is a long way and in the ocean and paddling at the same time and dealing with the weather situation and the waves, how do you prepare for something like this?

JAMIE:  That's why it's so good and prestigious because it's a lot of training.  You have to get on the board a lot, paddling and obviously nutrition and the way that you drink across the challenge and eat is very important for something so long and grueling and the course you take across the channel, it's very important to have a good escort crew, guys who know what they're doing across and good support.  There's a lot of things involved to make it an enjoyable day if it can be enjoyable.

ANGELA:  You obviously have big waves especially if you go anywhere near Waimea Bay during a high swell.  How do you deal with a 25 foot wave that's coming at you and you're trying to paddle?

JAMIE:  I guess it's just being comfortable.  We're trying to be as comfortable as you can but it's just something as a kid I guess, I grew up looking up to a lot older people when I was growing up and they always push me to do bigger better things.  It's just another one of those things that I'm trying to get into and in the last few years I've been lucky enough to get some waves at Waimea Bay.

ANGELA:  So how long does it take to get through the entire race?

JAMIE:  Usually if you're having a good day out in the challenge for the first guys to finish, it would be about... 4 and a half hours will be good time but there's a lot of people out there that are out there a lot longer than me so it's up to 8 hours.

ANGELA:   I want to see your arms, put them up here.  Let me see this, holy cow!  There's a lot of muscle in there.  That's what it takes, doesn't it?

JAMIE:  You got to have a little bit of muscle to get across.

ANGELA: Okay so in addition to the arms, I believe you're on your knees for quite some time, how do you handle that ?

JAMIE: Traditionally a long time ago, a lot of the Hawaiians in California would just prime paddle which is on their stomach. But we grew up in Australia at a young age to learn how to knee paddle and I was lucky enough to learn that at a young age.  And I guess over the past few years with the Australian coming over and sort of passing on that knowledge of the knee paddling, and now it's taking that aboard and now a lot of people are knee paddling a lot more and there's definitely an art to it but everyone's catching on which is making everyone go faster and progress into sport.

ANGELA:  Cool.  Now Jamie Mitchell, good luck to you.

JAMIE:  Thank you.