Not Losing It

Gary Kewley
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Friday - August 06, 2005
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Four-time world champ paddleboard
racer Jamie Mitchell proving that
he hates to lose

Aloha wave riders and paddlers,

Here we are now in August — can you feel the fall surf coming? We have seen tiny pulses of “rideable” surf on the North Shore this past weekend. Southern shores have been mediocre with no serious swells in sight.

“Those last two hours were just horrendous. It was really unorganized, backwashy. Mentally it feels like you’re going nowhere. What kept me going was not wanting to lose. I hate losing.”

Surfing breeds patience. Paddling breeds muscles. For long-range forecasts, check

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to save someone’s life? What kind of person you’d have to be?

Now imagine doing it — guarding and saving lives — for a living at the beach! If you surf and paddle, you’re one step ahead of the life guarding-life styling career. Your chance to see if you have what it takes is coming up fast.

Here’s what you need to know: This coming Aug. 10 will be the first of three dates for registration and tryouts. You’ll do it at Ala Moana Beach Park at Lifeguard Tower 1B, starting at 8 a.m. You also have Aug. 12 and Aug.19 to get in on the action. Oh yeah, be ready for some action all right — specifically, a 1,000-yard run and 1,000-yard swim … and it’s gotta be done in under 25 minutes. Then you do a 400-yard rescue board paddle under four minutes. Then you runswim- run 100 yards each length under three minutes. Are you tired yet? Don’t be, ’cause you have one more 1,000-yard swim under 20 minutes.

Only those who meet these physical requirements will go on to take the written performance exam. From there you’re on your way to a possible career as a much-needed and highly valued Hawaii beach lifeguard. For more info, call the Lifeguard Training Center at 589-2251 or log onto WWW.CO.HONOLULU.GOV/ESD/OCEANSAFETY

“I hate losing!” We can all relate to this feeling, but when Australian lifeguard Jamie Mitchell says it he backs it up. How? By being the world’s best and “gnarliest” long-distance paddleboard racer, that’s how. He just won, for the fourth year in a row, both the Hennessey’s Paddleboard Championship and the grueling granddaddy of ’em all — “Quiksilveredition Molokai to Oahu Paddle Board race.” Jamie felt it, all right. “Those last two hours were just horrendous,” said Mitchell. “It was really unorganized, backwashy. It felt like the current was raging against us. Mentally it feels like you’re going nowhere. What kept me going was not wanting to lose! I hate losing … The current just felt like it was pushing against us the whole way. It was hell. Halfway through I was thinking this was going to be the best run ever, but the last two hours were really painful. It seemed that trying to get to land took forever …”

You see? That’s a critical difference between winning and losing — being able to “paddle through the pain.” A great lesson for living from a great champion, Jamie Mitchell. Of course, all who compete in this world-class athletic event are winners in the game of life. Our 2005 champ better be ready in 2006, ’cause Hawaii’s own lifeguard, Brian Rocheleau, was only two minutes behind first place: No. 1 Jamie Mitchell (Aus) 5:05:09 and No. 2 Brian Rocheleau (Hon) 5:07:34! Congrats also to Hawaii’s Kanesa Duncan for posting a solid women’s victory.

Thanks to Carol Cunningham for the great shot of Mr. Mitchell.

Next weekend there’ll be more on Kanesa’s incredible performance with a stock board of 12 feet vs. the 12- to 17-foot paddleboards. She placed fourth overall — men included! Also next week I’ll cover Andy Irons’ victory at the U.S. Open in Huntington Beach.

Stay stoked and in shape … and be back here next weekend.

I’m GQ dropping in 4 U!

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