Am I There Yet?

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Outside magazine, August 1996

Am I There Yet?

Over the previous five years, Australian Dean Gardiner had won surf kayaking’s unofficial world championship-the 32-mile Molokai to Oahu Bankoh Kayak Challenge-three times, in conditions ranging from tempestuous to preternaturally calm. In this year’s contest, held last May, the waters thankfully stuck to the latter end of the spectrum, but the 31-year-old Gardiner still had to
overcome a major hurdle: his really poor sense of direction. In the first hour of the race, Gardiner strayed a whopping two miles off course. “I might’ve had a shot at the record,” he says wistfully, “but Oahu was clouded over and I went too far north.” Even so, he recovered to post a winning time of 3:38:27, three minutes ahead of countryman Brad Kane.

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