Kailua prevails in distance canoe race
By Dayton Morinaga
Advertiser Staff Writer
The Kailua Canoe Club proved to be the top underdog in the E Lau Hoe Long Distance Race for Women yesterday.
Because the state's top female teams did not enter yesterday's race, an underdog was bound to prevail.
Kailua took full advantage, completing the 31-mile course from Magic Island to Poka'i Bay in 4 hours, 24 minutes, 28 seconds.
"Everybody was gone and so it turned out to be our day," said Carleen Ornellas, who helped steer the Kailua canoe. "There's nothing wrong with that. We still worked hard for this win."
Lokahi stayed on Kailua's tail the entire way and finished a close second at 4:24:57. Hui Lanakila held an early lead, but wound up in third place at 4:29:32.
Yesterday's race was the last "warm up" before the Sept. 29 Hawaii Modular Space Na Wahine O Ke Kai. The Moloka'i-to-O'ahu race is considered the world championship of long-distance outrigger canoe racing.
The state's top four female teams Kai 'Opua, Outrigger, Hui Nalu and Team Eyecatcher did not enter yesterday. Outrigger and Hui Nalu were competing in a race in California; Kai 'Opua from the Big Island and Team Eyecatcher (which is comprised of paddlers from Kaua'i, Maui and O'ahu) did not make the trip to O'ahu.
"We were preparing for all of them to be here, and we would have wanted all of them to be here," Ornellas said. "But no matter who was here, we just wanted to hang tough with what we have."
The winning Kailua crew consisted of Ornellas, Kathy Erwin, Ann Farrell, Amy Hebenstreit, Lisa Martin, Sonja McCullen, Donna Meyer, Kathy Novack, Corrie Rimell and Suzanne Schaeffer.
Only six paddlers were allowed in the canoe at any given time, but four followed in an escort boat and came in for relief changes throughout the race.
Ornellas described the course as "hard because everything was against us."
"You had the wind blowing one way and the current going the other," she added.
Kailua passed Hui Lanakila for the lead around one hour into the race, then held off a late charge by Lokahi down the stretch.
"The first half was fun; there were (wave) bumps all the way to Barbers Point," said Rimmel, who steered the Kailua canoe for the first half of the race. "After that, it flattened out and it turned into a hard paddling race."
Lokahi maneuvered closer to shore near Barbers Point in an effort to sneak past Kailua. The move worked, but only to a certain extent.
"It was a gamble, and we made up a lot of ground," said Theresa Gerry, who steered for Lokahi. "But we were like the little engine that could, but just not quite. We'd get close to (Kailua) then they'd pull away again. It was like that the whole way."
The Lokahi crew consisted of Gerry, Christina Clinton, Kanesa Duncan, Nalyne Harada, Carol Jaxon, Hoku Lindsey, Darlene Morikawa, Allison Neal, Jennifer Thompson and Dy Valdez.
"It was kind of nice to have just the smaller teams here; it kind of made it more exciting," Gerry said. "But we just tried to concentrate on our own race. We wanted to clean up our mistakes and get ready for Moloka'i."
Waikiki Surf Club placed 11th overall and won the masters 35-and-older division; North Shore was 13th overall and won the masters 45-and-older division. Masters division teams were allowed to use 12 paddlers.
Open: 1, Kailua (Carleen Ornellas, Kathy Erwin, Ann Farrell, Amy Hebenstreit, Lisa Martin, Sonja McCullen, Donna Meyer, Kathy Novack, Corrie Rimell, Suzanne Schaeffer) 4:24:28. 2, Lokahi-I 4:24:57. 3, Hui Lanakila-I 4:29:32. 4, Healani-Blue 4:32:47. 5, Hui Nalu 4:35:33. 6, Waikiki Beach Boys-I 4:36:22. 7, Lanikai-I 4:43:26. 8, Outrigger-I 4:46:36. 9, Waikiki Beach Boys-II 4:52:51. 10, Healani-Red 4:57:36. 11, Lanikai-II 5:05:01. 12, Waikiki Yacht Club-II 5:07:26. 13, Hui Lanakila-II 5:07:55. 14, 14, Keahiakahoe 5:08:07. 15, Koa Kai-White 5:09:11. 16, Lokahi-II 5:09:26. 17, Manu O Ke Kai 5:11:05. 18, North Shore/Kalihi Kai 5:12:42. 19, Healani-White 5:13:39. 20, Lanikai-III 5:13:41. 21, 'Anuenue-I 5:15:17. 22, Na Keiki O Ka Mo'i 5:17:18. 23, 'Anuenue-II 5:18:48. 24, Koa Kai-Red 5:21:50. 25, Waikiki Yacht Club-I 5:27:09. 26, New Hope-I 5:32:26. 27, Waikiki Beach Boys-III 5:33:59. 28, Waikiki Surf-I 5:37:43.
Masters 35-older: 1, Waikiki Surf (Lei Marks, Kalei Javellana, Sue Garner, Niulii Heine, Cathy Kam-Ho, Lenora Alama, Konia Freitas, Lani Mann, Giovanna Aguilera, Arlene Reventas, Kathryn Mitchell, Kuumea Gora) 4:59:42. 2, New Hope-II 5:32:07.
Masters 45-older: 1, North Shore (Mary Jo Buell, Mary Dubiel, Diane Hien, Linda Tseu, Jennifer Smith, Debi Kelly, Rebecca Gonzales, Melodie Lane-Reeves, Dara Fairchild, Linda Cox, Peggy Spencer, Sarah Jane Watson) 5:06:26. 2, Waikiki Yacht Club-III 5:48:26.