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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, May 18, 2001

Paddling frenzy

• O'ahu Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association's clubs

By Dayton Morinaga
Advertiser Staff Writer

Club participation is up as more paddlers – from youngsters to the masters division – are flocking to the sport.

Advertiser library photo • 2000

Just like the ocean swells they ride on, canoe paddlers just keep on churning. Once again this year, paddlers are expected to turn out in record numbers for the upcoming regatta season. More than 7,000 are registered statewide, including close to 4,000 on O'ahu.

The Na 'Ohana O Na Hui Wa'a canoe paddling organization on O'ahu will open the regatta season at Ke'ehi Lagoon on May 27. The O'ahu Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association, the state's largest canoe paddling organization with more than 2,000 registered participants, will begin June 3.

"We're building in leaps and bounds," said OHCRA president Hannie Anderson. "It's amazing. Every year, we think we get a great turnout, and then we top it the next year."

The largest increase will again come in the youth divisions, which have been growing exponentially the past five years.

"The number of new adults who come in every year is also growing," said June Leialoha, president of Na 'Ohana O Na Hui Wa'a. "But it's really the kids who are responsible for these big increases."

Lanikai Canoe Club, the defending state champion, has enough youth paddlers that it has separated several age divisions into "varsity" and "junior varsity" crews.

"We are busting at the seams with kids," Lanikai head coach John Foti said. "We've had to bring in extra coaches this year just to handle all the numbers."

Other divisions are expanding as well. Hui Wa'a races will add a division for novice paddlers this year. OHCRA will add an entirely new club — Pu'uloa.

"A lot of people are finding out it's a fun thing to do," said Wayne Babineau, head coach of Hui Wa'a champion Lokahi Canoe Club. "Your first time out in a canoe feels great and it gets you hooked."

There has even been an increase in the masters divisions, which are for paddlers age 35 and older.

Because of that, Anderson said Sunday regattas have become "like family day."

"My grandchildren are starting to paddle now," said Anderson, who has been involved in the sport for more than 50 years. "It's one of the few sports where you can see kids, parents and grandparents all participating."

Although many paddlers strive to participate in the annual Moloka'i-to-O'ahu races, regattas have endured as the heart of the sport.

"Regatta season is where it all starts," Anderson said. "That's where the kids first learn about racing, and that's where the entire club can get together to support each other."

2001 canoe paddling schedules
O'ahu Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association

  • June 3: Clement D. Paiaina Regatta (Ke'ehi Lagoon)
  • June 10: King Kamehameha Regatta (Kailua Beach Park)
  • June 17: Windward Kai Regatta (Nanakuli Beach)
  • June 24: Waimanalo Regatta (Waimanalo Beach Park)
  • July 4: Walter J. Macfarlane Regatta (Waikiki Beach)
  • July 15: John D. Kaupiko Regatta (Ke'ehi Lagoon)
  • July 22: O'ahu Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association Championship Regatta (Ke'ehi Lagoon)
  • Aug. 4: HCRA State Championship Regatta (Hanalei Bay, Kaua'i)

Na 'Ohana O Na Hui Wa'a

  • May 27: Hui O Ikaika Regatta (Ke'ehi Lagoon)
  • June 3: Kane'ohe Regatta (Waimanalo Beach Park)
  • June 10: Lokahi Regatta (Ke'ehi Lagoon)
  • June 17: Manu O Ke Kai Regatta (Hale'iwa Beach Park)
  • June 24: Windward Kai Regatta (Ke'ehi Lagoon)
  • July 1: Na Keiki O Ka Mo'i Regatta (Ma'ili Beach)
  • July 8: Koa Kai Regatta (Ke'ehi Lagoon)
  • July 15: Waikiki Beach Boys Regatta (Waikiki Beach)
  • July 21: Na 'Ohana O Na Hui Wa'a Championship Regatta (Ke'ehi Lagoon)
  • Aug. 4: HCRA State Championship Regatta (Hanalei Bay, Kaua'i)

Long-distance races

  • Aug. 12: Kaena Challenge (Hale'iwa Beach Park)
  • Aug. 19: Duke Kahanamoku Race (Kailua Beach Park to Waikiki Beach)
  • Aug. 25: Kailua Bay Iron Challenge (Kailua Beach Park)
  • Aug. 26: Dad Center Race (Kailua Beach Park to Outrigger Canoe Club)
  • Sept. 1-3: Queen Liliu'okalani Races (Kailua-Kona, Hawai'i)
  • Sept. 9: E Lau Hoe (Magic Island to Poka'i Bay)
  • Sept. 16: Skippy Kamakawiwo'ole Race (Maunalua Bay to Ko Olina Resort)
  • Sept. 23: Na Wahine O Ke Kai (Hale O Lono, Moloka'i to Waikiki Beach)
  • Oct. 7: Moloka'i Hoe (Hale O Lono, Moloka'i to Waikiki Beach)