This coming weekend will be another big one for BOCC as our local paddlers get ready to compete in one of the most exciting courses on the SQ Zone Calendar, the Noosa OCC Marathon. Whilst they’re here holding up the BOCC fort, another very special group of BOCC paddlers will be tackling their own paddle demons as they prepare to compete in the World Title of OC1/2 marathon relays, the Ka€™iwi Channel Relay.

For those in the BOCC community who weren’t aware, our BOCC stars currently in Hawai’i are Benny Kapa, Danny “Toppy” Topfer, Robyn Saultry, Russ Johnson (BOCC President), Ken Gittins and Hope Grunfeld.

Toppy off the start line in the M2M

Toppy off the start line in the M2M. Photo courtesy of

Danny and Robyn have been in Hawai’i since April 24 with Benny and his family, in lead to Danny and Robyn’s first of many events, the Ozone/Kai Wa’€™a Maui to Molokai (M2M) (April 26). With forecasted trades assisting the 220 entered paddlers, the race and channel lived up to its reputation as being one of the best stretches of ocean to paddle in the world. Both Danny (surfski elite men) and Robyn (OC1 women 40-49) finished 1st in their respective divisions in 2hr 51min and 3hr 30min respectively.

Last Sunday (May 4) was the Hinano-Kialoa Coastal Relay held on the Island of Oahu. This time Danny, Benny and Robyn were joined by fellow BOCC paddlers Russ Johnson, Ken Gittins and Hope Grunfeld. Robyn teamed up with Hope to take out the short course (Makapuu to Magic Island) title in 3hr 28min, whilst Danny shared the relay with Gavin Grunfeld in the long course (Castle Point, Kailua Bay to Magic Island), to cross the line 5th overall in a very respectable 4hr 38mins. Benny teamed up with Cairns based paddler Steve Johnson for the short course (3hr 32mins), with Russ and Kenny making the final BOCC relay combination on the day competing in the long course (6hr 1min).

Hinano-Kialoa Coastal Relay Race Report

by Danny Topfer  


It was an interesting 50 odd km I did legs 1 and 3 and Gavin did 2 and 4. Leg 1 was quite good with a few bumps to chase no white caps but there was some assistance out there. Leg 3 was interesting started off nicely until off Makapu’u when we hit a strong current from the outward going tide which there seemed no escape from… some paddlers went further out to sea and others like me tried to hug the wall…. which at one point was my downfall as I came off my ski along China Wall! The last leg from Hawaii Kai to Magic Island was a slog as what little assistance there was was now directly on the paddlers backs so it was hot going. Post race there was a lot of discussion on how hard the current was pushing in leg 3 and how hot it was on leg 4.

Hope coming into the finish line of the Hinano-Kialoa Coastal Relay

Hope coming into the finish line of the Hinano-Kialoa Coastal Relay. Photo courtesy of Kanaka Ikaka Racing Association.

Now the Russ and Kenny story. The boys original plan was for Russ to do legs 1 and 3 and Ken 2 and 4 which started off fine I’m lead to believe. Where it all went to poo was at the 1st change… In the panic/confusion the boys (Gavin and Ken) parked our cars some distance away, I have to admit I was starting to get a little concerned myself as after walking for what seemed 5 minutes I could not find our car and started jogging around the streets of Lanakai scaring the locals in my full length unitard, long sleeve safety orange top, hat and thongs with paddle in hand… at least I could be seen and heard! Russ had similar issues but somewhat worse because when he got to his car he’d been parked in! However with some assistance from some nice locals he was able to get his car in a position where he could drive away, only problem was the police officer that witnessed what was going on a didn’t like what he was seeing….For some reason Russ’s new friends fled when they heard the woot woot of the police, maybe they’d been previous clients….Anyways after much discussion Russ eventually headed in Ken’s direction, only problem was Ken had been waited and gone from the 2nd change point so Russ then headed to the 3rd where he eventually met Ken and they completed their change over with the new plan of Russ finishing the race. So there was no time in spent in the HPD patrol car and we didn’t need to bail him out etc…

This weekend sees most of us heading to Molokai for the Pa’a Channel Relay on Sunday, Robyn/Jane, Ken/Russ and Steve/John will be contesting this event with Hope, Gavin and I supporting Robyn and Jane. Benny and Maria are heading back to Maui on Sunday for the Olukai race. Conditions are looking good with 15 knots from the NE predicted currently.