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Under 17 NSW Female Board Race champion Kalani Ives is focussed on winning the national event at the upcoming Australian Surf Life Saving Championships. Image: Geoff Helisma

Iron woman sets her course

Geoff Helisma

Yamba Surf Life Saving Club member Kalani Ives says her “main goal is to paddle across the Molokai Channel and win that”.

The 32-miles-long course at Hawaii’s Molokai 2 Oahu Paddleboard World Championships is widely regarded as the world’s most challenging paddle race.

“Paddling has been a part of Hawaiian heritage since early Polynesians navigated thousands of miles of open ocean guided by nothing more than currents, wind and stars,” the event’s website states.

Kalani has already racked up a numerous outstanding results competing in the Nippers – and at the 2021 NSW Surf Life Saving Championships, held at Swansea on March 6 and 7, she won the U17 Iron Woman, came third in the U17 Female Board Race and fourth in the U17 Female Single Ski.

“Ever since I was pretty young, I’ve always wanted to be an iron woman,” says Kalani, who started competing in the U9s.

“We used to live in WA and then we moved over here and I joined the Nippers.

“At first I didn’t really like it, but then I started to enjoy it.

“I train four mornings in the pool, two on the board and I love my ski paddling now; it’s a new craft for me, so I do a bit of that, too.”

She says her love of the ocean “brings me home”.

“I like it when it is pretty big, when it’s flat; flat’s just not… ah, I don’t really like it.”

Kalani says the support of her parents has played a big part in achieving her competitive goals. 

“And I’ve had help from some high profile surf lifesaving coaching staff,” she says. “Deacon Spicer, Naomi Flood and Gavin Hill are all current or former Nutri Grain coaches; and a massive thanks to Ohana Ocean Athletics, my main sponsor, and Kraka for the fastest boards on the ocean – and thanks to Yamba SLSC for entering me in some carnivals, as well as allowing me to keep my racing craft in their sheds.”

With the 2021 Australian Surf Life Saving Championships not too far away (April 16-24 at the Sunshine Coast), Kalani has set her sights on “taking out the U17 iron woman – that’s my main goal”.

Kalani Ives winning the NSW U17 Iron Woman title. Image: courtesy Surf Life Saving NSW