Four Races, 129 Miles, Four Wins

Ron Mizutani
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Wednesday - May 28, 2008
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Lauren Bartlett's win streak may never be duplicated
Lauren Bartlett’s win streak may never be duplicated

Canoe paddler Lauren Bartlett has logged more miles in the last month than most frequent fliers.

It started April 26 when she and partner Cherisse Agorastos paddled 25 miles from Maui to Molokai. The following day she went solo 32 miles across the Kaiwi Channel from Molokai to Oahu. A week later on May 5, she teamed up with Agorastos again for 40 more miles from Molokai to Magic Island. Then, to top it off, she went solo again on May 18, 32 miles from Molokai to Oahu on a surfski.

If you’re adding at home, that’s 129 miles in less than a month. It’s exhausting just visualizing the endurance needed to pull this off, but what’s truly amazing is these long runs were done in world championship races that Bartlett won.

“It’s been a busy month,” she says humbly from her Maui home. “I feel good, but I’m pretty tired.”

You certainly can’t blame Hawaii’s most-dominant female paddler, and here’s something else to consider: Bartlett is also the mother of two energetic children.

“My 9-year-old Haena and my 2-year-old Lea keep my husband, Kai, and I very busy,” says Bartlett. “It’s a challenge, but we make a great team.”

Husband Kai is no stranger to the winner’s circle as well, with multiple victories over the years. But this latest run by Lauren is something that may never be duplicated. Her victory in the Steinlager Kaiwi Channel Solo OC1 World Championships April 27 was her fifth in the last seven years. She missed the 2005 race to have a baby and the 2006 event because she was training with the USA national kayak team.

Bartlett’s win with Agorastos in the Rhino Kaiwi Channel Relay World Championship May 5 was her fifth victory with her fifth different partner. “She’s a hammer and I know she’s always on her game,” says Bartlett of Agorastos. “I took a whole week off to rest my body and I didn’t get much training in before the event, but it all paid off.”

On May 18, she capped it all off with a victory in the Molokai to Oahu World Surfski Championships. A huge win considering Bartlett spent the last few months training on a different craft and had less than a week on a new surfski.

“I wasn’t expecting to do as well as I did because I didn’t have too much time on the ski,” says Bartlett. “I really paced myself, and I guess my ocean knowledge and hard work paid off.”

Hard work has always paid off for 28-year-old Bartlett. In 2004, she represented the United States in flat-water kayaking in the Olympic Games in Athens.

“It was great going to the Olympics and I was super honored to represent Hawaii,” says Bartlett. “It wasn’t my defining moment in life - just one chapter,” says Bartlett. “I would say my defining moment is just being born and raised in Hawaii and having good times with friends and family in the ocean.”

Besides being a mother of two and a world-champion paddler, Bartlett also works as a Realtor associate for Prudential Locations, so finding time to train is no easy task.

“I don’t train as much as I like to, a couple hours here and there, but on weekends I try to go on long runs, 30 to 35 miles,” says Bartlett. “Between going to work, picking up the kids and doing four loads of laundry, it can be very challenging. Luckily I have a supportive husband, a great family and wonderful friends. If not, it doesn’t happen.”

Unfortunately, there’s no time to rest - the summer regatta season is just around the corner.


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