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Malibuites’ team places seventh in paddleboard world championships

Lockwood Holmes (left) and Ryan Addison pose at the Molokai 2 Oahu Paddleboard World Championships, held Sunday, July 30. Photo Submitted
Barbara Burke, Freelance Reporter
2:38 pm PDT August 1, 2017

“If you can dream it, you can do it,” said Ryan Addison, of Malibu.

Addison and Lockwood Holmes placed seventh in the team division of the Molokai 2 Oahu Paddleboard World Championships on Sunday, July 30. 

The paddleboard race is an arduous, open-ocean endurance trek of 32 miles across the Ka’iwi Channel, also known as the Moloka’i Channel. This year, 300 racers braved the journey and both prone and stand up paddleboarders from around the world competed in solo and team divisions. 

Malibu’s Tuffer Marsolek did the race solo. 

Each contestant had to navigate through the fastest downward route as they crossed over one of the world’s deepest channels, measuring up to 2,300 feet deep. Mid-channel waves can crest up to 12 feet in height. 

Addison and Holmes paddled to support Callie’s Cause, a nonprofit charity that the Addison family formed to support 4-year-old Callie Addison, who has Dravet syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy.

When the pair reached the mid-channel range, Addison posted on Facebook: “Mid Channel Molokai. Wind 15-20 mph. Good bump. Not sure our place. We’re up there!”

The pair assiduously carried on, paddling, paddling, paddling, the wind bouncing them around, sea salt lapping everywhere, and the waves cresting unpredictably.

The challenge is great and the experience wears one out, but Addison and Holmes remained undaunted.

“Once I saw our rival, I saw red. I told myself it was time to gap these guys,” Addison said. “For my next leg, I paddled off of pure emotion. My arms were hurting but my brain took over. Pain is temporary. That fired Lockwood up and he crushed his paddle when it was his turn.” 

When someone participates in such a marathon, onlookers wonder what is going through the contestant’s mind.

“I was thinking about a bunch of things out there,” Addison said. “Competition, staying consistent while paddling. When things got close with the other Californians, I thought about my wife, [my son] Bodie and Callie. I thought how painful epilepsy is and that my pain of paddling was nowhere near the pain of epilepsy.”

Ultimately, Addison and Holmes finished seventh in their team division, posting a time of 5:56:07. Amazingly, they had been paddling in tumultuous waves for almost six hours.

Recapping the event, Addison reflected, feeling exhausted but exhilarated.

“The weather was great and sunny; we had winds of 15 to 20 knots in our favor,” Addison said. “Because of the tide, we ran a little higher line on GPS and once the tide switched, we dropped down to 10-minute sprints.

“That opened the gap more in our favor. The difficulties we faced were the heat and the hard 10-to-20 sprint intervals.”

Overall, the pair had an excellent race.

Addison posted about the team’s finish, saying he was pleased to do so well against teams with former record-breaking winners.

“This was very deep and emotional for me,” Addison posted. “I paddled for special needs kids and their families. Epilepsy families have a huge burden on them. It’s a whole family burden. 

“I’m grateful to my wife Darlene for giving me the green light. Thank you @lockwoodholmesjr for asking me to paddle and forcing me off the couch. I want to thank everyone for well wishes and love for my family.”