Hawaii Looking to Reclaim Molokai Channel Surf Ski Title

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- In the past 28 years, only six different people have shared the title of Molokai channel surf ski champion, and the last time the race crowned a winner from Hawaii -- 30 years ago. However this Sunday, one local boy is looking to change that, no matter the odds. Mark Sandvold first crossed the channel at the age of 16. Twenty-six years later he has 17 crossings under his belt, but the one thing that's eluded him is a win.

"I've won the channel a couple times in a 6-man canoe in the outrigger canoe club and I know the feeling of what it's like to win the channel and it's amazing and i'd like to do it in a ski, that would be a dream come true," said Sandvold.

The task won't be easy though. Every year more and more world renowned paddlers enter the mix. Not to mention 11-time channel winner Oscar Chalupsky is back in attempt for number 12.

"Every it gets harder, getting 12 is a tough thing, getting 10 was tough, 11 was tougher and 12 will be tough," said Chalupsky.

"Oscar and about 10 other guys do the world tour of surf ski paddling, there's a world cup and they spend the year going around the world, so they're 100 percent professional basically," said Sandvold.

But while Sandvold and the other local paddlers have jobs and families here, they say if the conditions are right, they can compete with the best.

"If it's really big and confused, the Hawaii guys have the edge no doubt, but anyone of us at anytime could hopefully win this thing and that's what we're shooting for," said Sandvold.

Unfortunately the forecast is not for big water on sunday which the locals would've preferred, but Sandvold says they'll do their best regardless.