A man paddling a surf ski in the ocean

Hayden Copping competing in the Molokai to Oahu Paddleboard World Championships in Hawaii. He won the open stock 12ft paddleboard category.

Hayden triumphs at paddleboard world championships

Aug 18, 2023

Radiation Therapist Hayden Copping has won first place in the Molokai to Oahu Paddleboard World Championships in Hawaii.

Known as one of the most intense and gruelling paddleboard races in the world, competitors paddle 52km from Kalua Koi Beach on the Island of Molokai to the finish line inside Maunalua Bay on Oahu, navigating through changing tides and currents.

The Championships were held on Sunday, 30 July after a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic.

Hayden, 24, took out first place in the open stock 12ft paddleboard category, finishing with a time of 5:41:16.

“It’s still setting in. It just doesn’t feel real,” he said.

“I love the mental challenge of pushing my body to its absolute limits. It’s very euphoric pushing through those barriers and coming out the other side.”

His training regime consisted of paddling mornings and afternoons six days a week for seven months.

“It was a lot of hard work,” he said.

“I train majority of the time in Port and by myself. I’ll paddle either out to sea, along the coast or upriver. Every fortnight I would also head down to Newcastle to train down there with two others that raced.”

Being involved in an ocean sport is like second nature for Hayden who has been involved with Surf Life Saving clubs his whole life, competing in events or as a lifeguard.

He said the feeling of being out in the ocean is like nothing else. 

“I enjoy the sense of being alone in the arms of the ocean and at its mercy. Not being in control. Every paddle, I have these amazing encounters with marine life, the good and the bad.”

When he’s not paddling, Hayden works as a Radiation Therapist at Port Macquarie Base Hospital in the radiotherapy clinic and works as an associate lecturer at Newcastle University.

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