Lanikai paddles to 'Duke' title
By Dayton Morinaga
Advertiser Staff Writer
A three-hour "tuneup" yesterday indicated that the Lanikai Canoe Club is running smoothly right now.
Hui Lanakila was second at 3:01:11, followed by Waikiki Surf Club (3:03:13), Kawaihae from the Big Island (3:05:04) and Kailua (3:05:35).
Since the course was changed to its current format in 1995, Lanikai has won four of the six official "Duke" races. Last year's race was canceled because of adverse conditions, but several teams raced anyway, and Lanikai was the unofficial winner of that race as well.
"All in all, it was a good run," said Lanikai steersman Jim Foti. "It was challenging surf and challenging water. We really had to work the whole way. It was a good tuneup."
Yesterday's race is one of several long-distance warm ups leading to the Oct. 7 Moloka'i Hoe. The 41-mile Moloka'i-to-O'ahu race is considered the world championship of outrigger canoe paddling, and Lanikai is the defending champion.
"The pressure on us is to do what we're capable of doing in all these long-distance races," Foti said. "Because if we do the best we can, we know that puts us in a position to win."
That was made clear from the start yesterday. Despite sloppy conditions off Windward O'ahu that included strong winds and choppy surf, Lanikai raced to an early lead and never relented.
The only scare came midway through the course, when Lanikai opted to paddle in the deeper ocean off Makapu'u and Maunalua Bay.
"The inside was sloppy so I thought it might be better to go wide," Foti said. "But it was hard out there. There were some good (waves), but we had to work really hard to get on some of 'em."
Meanwhile, Hui Lanakila and Waikiki Surf Club took the shallow route and nearly sneaked past Lanikai.
"At Maunalua Bay, I looked over and they were on the inside of us, dead even," Foti said. "We knew we had a race on our hands."
That's when Lanikai turned to its history for motivation. Lucien Ouellette, a first-year paddler on Lanikai's "A" crew, learned about it real quick.
"Hui Lanakila was pushing us, and the guys were saying 'If we're going to be world champions again, we have to push harder than this,' " Ouellette said. "It was a good pressure. It kept everybody going hard and trying to keep the honor."
The Lanikai paddlers responded with a strong push to Diamond Head that put them ahead by an insurmountable gap.
Members of the winning crew were: Jim Foti, John Foti, Ouellette, Kai Bartlett, Kekoa Bruhn, Ikaika Harbottle, Mike Judd, Rich Lambert and Mike Pedersen. Six paddlers were allowed to race in the canoe at any given time, while three followed along in an escort boat and provided relief changes throughout the course.
Another Hui Lanakila crew won the 35-older master's division, and was an impressive 11th overall with a time of 3:10:43. Outrigger won the 45-older master's division in 3:26:50, while Anuenue (3:50:41) was the only entry in the 55-older masters division. Forty crews completed the race.
Prior to the men's race, a 7-mile women's race was held in Kailua Bay. Outrigger dominated the race, finishing in 53 minutes, 6.51 seconds. Kailua placed second, over five minutes later at 58:16.19.
Members of Outrigger's winning crew were: Mary Smolenski, Paula Crabb, Sara Ackerman, Lisa Livingston, Malia Kamisugi and Kisi Haine.
Men (24 miles)
Open: 1, Lanikai-1, 2:59:28. 2, Hui Lanakila-2, 3:01:11. 3, Waikiki Surf, 3:03:13. 4, Kawaihae, 3:05:04. 5, Kailua-1, 3:05:35. 6, Outrigger-1, 3:06:19. 7, Lanikai-2, 3:08:21. 8, Puna, 3:08:49. 9, Anuenue-1, 3:08:59. 10, Hui Nalu-1, 3:09:30. 11, Hui Lanakila-3, 3:14:07. 12, Kailua-2, 3:14:12. 13, Manu O Ke Kai-2, 3:14:22. 14, Hui Lanakila-4, 3:19:02. 15, Outrigger-2, 3:19:51. 16, Waikiki Beach Boys, 3:21:55. 17, Lanikai-3, 3:22:58. 18, Healani-1, 3:23:03. 19, Outrigger-5, 3:25:17. 20, Koa Kai-2, 3:26:22. Masters 35-older: 1, Hui Lanakila-1, 3:10:43. 2, Waikiki Yacht, 3:32:44. Masters 45-older: 1, Outrigger-3, 3:26:50. 2, Lokahi-3, 3:41:00. 3, Kai Oni-2, 3:42:29. Masters 55-older: 1, Anuenue-3, 3:50:41.
Women (7 miles)
Open: 1, Outrigger-1, 53:06.51. 2, Kailua-3, 56:45.22. 3, Kailua-2, 58:59.66. 4, Kailua-4, 59:23.03. 5, Outrigger-3, 59:41.70. 6, Outrigger-2, 1:00:01. 7, Lanikai-2, 1:01:07. 8, Lanikai-4, 1:01:44. 9, Hui Nalu-1, 1:03:19. 10, Anuenue-1, 1:03:39. 11, Puuloa, 1:04:51. 12, Koa Kai-1, 1:05:24. 13, Manu O Ke Kai-2, 1:06:05. 14, Koa Kai-2, 1:05:24. 15, Hui Lanakila-2, 1:07:20. 16, Outrigger-4, 1:07:55. 17, Hui Lanakila-4, 1:08:08. 18, Hui Nalu-3, 1:09:03. 19, Na Keiki O Ka Mo'i, 1:13:36. 20, Lanikai-6, 1:13:43. Masters 35-older: 1, Hui Lanakila-1, 57:53.31. 2, Lanikai-1, 59:58.89. 3, Kailua-1, 1:00:20.43. 4, Lanikai-3, 1:01:06. 5, Hui Nalu-7, 1:06:20. Masters 45-older: 1, Hui Nalu-6, 1:08:24. 2, Kai Oni-1, 1:16:09.