How to Train for Molokai to Oahu with Jenny Kalmbach

How to Train for Molokai to Oahu with Jenny Kalmbach

Less than 1 week to go to one of the world’s biggest and most prestigious SUP races, the 32-mile Molokai to Oahu race. It all started back in 1997 with a few prone paddlers who wanted to test their skills across the Ka’iwi channel. 2014 will mark the event’s 18th year!

Every athlete has to have an escort boat for safety.  To decide the best course across the channel, I talk to my captain about the forecasted conditions, like wind, current and tide to determine what course I want to take. This is as important as the preparation and nutrition as it can make or break your race!

As for my preparation, I have spent the last 10 weeks building up my paddling endurance and spending as much time paddling downwind and in rough conditions to mimic what it’s like in the channel. Along with paddling 4 times a week, I spend time in the gym doing specific strength training routines and training on my bike. While the Molokai 2 Oahu race, or M2O as it is also known, is a test of endurance it’s just as much about sprinting as you have to do short fast bursts of speed to catch the glide. So while much of my training was focused on building endurance, I also spent time doing short, fast paced intervals.

Race Day Essentials

Aside from my board & paddle, there are a few key pieces I rely on keeping me comfortable across the channel.

Music – I like using the Sony Walkman MP3 with a playlist of my favorite music. I love that it doesn’t have any cables that can get twisted and tangled. One less thing to worry about!

Hat, Sunglasses & Sunscreen - It is a long, hot day on the water so staying protected from the elements is really important. I use a white hat to keep the sun off my face hat and polarized glasses (Oakley Radarlock Edge) to protect my eyes and slather on as much sunscreen (Coola Sport 45) as I can!

Compression – With the added benefit of protecting my skin from the sun, I use 2XU elite compression tights for their many benefits such as reduced muscle fatigue, reduced muscle soreness, greater oxygenation of the blood and heightened proprioception.

Nutrition – I use Tailwind Nutrition to keep me hydrated and properly fueled for the 5-6 hours I’m racing. I keep a few snickers bars in my pack as well because, well, they are amazing midway through the crossing.

When race day comes, I know I will have done my best to prepare, all that is left is to paddle my hardest and hope we have more favorable conditions than we did last year!


Jenny Kalmbach

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