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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, July 23, 2006

Kane'ohe paddles off with Hui Wa'a

Na 'Ohana O Na Hui Wa'a Championship photo gallery
 •  Hui Wa'a results

By Dayton Morinaga
Advertiser Staff Writer

Robert Cunningham emerges from the victory tunnel after Kane'ohe Canoe Club won the boys 15 race.

JOAQUIN SIOPACK | The Honolulu Advertiser

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It was close all the way to the finish line in the girls 18 race at the Hui Wa'a Regatta Championship.

JOAQUIN SIOPACK | The Honolulu Advertiser

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The Kane'ohe Canoe Club saved its best for last yesterday in winning the Na 'Ohana O Na Hui Wa'a championship regatta at Ke'ehi Lagoon.

Kane'ohe scored a season-high 83 points to win its fourth consecutive Hui Wa'a championship. It is the second-longest streak in Hui Wa'a history, behind Lokahi's 12 consecutive titles from 1987-98.

"As a club, our main goal was to win the (Hui Wa'a) championship," Kane'ohe head coach Clint Anderson said. "We got that. We'll worry about the states (championship regatta) later."

Lokahi placed second with 56 points. The 27-point gap was the largest margin of the season for Kane'ohe.

Just two weeks ago, Na Keiki O Ka Mo'i tied Kane'ohe during a regular-season regatta. It was the only time this season that Kane'ohe did not win a regatta outright. Na Keiki O Ka Mo'i placed third yesterday with 51 points.

"We trained a little extra for this one, and our kids, especially, worked hard," Anderson said. "This is the time of year that you have to turn up the notch of training."

Kane'ohe got another solid performance from its youth paddlers to win a regatta-high 11 races.

Kane'ohe scored an impressive 48 points in the 13 youth races, including seven victories.

The girls 14-younger crew for Kane'ohe capped an undefeated season by winning its 1/4-mile race yesterday. The crew of Aulani Saizon, Kapua Neumann, Kree Espinda, Brandie Kaluhiwa, Kelly Gonsalves and Kahea Anderson went 8-0 against Hui Wa'a competition this year.

"We were pretty nervous today because we knew we were undefeated and we know states is coming up," Kahea Anderson said.

Kahea Anderson also paddled on the victorious mixed 12-younger crew yesterday. The other Kane'ohe youth crews to win races were the boys 12s, girls 13s, boys 15s, girls 15s, and boys 16s.

But Kane'ohe also got key contributions from its adult paddlers.

The women 50-older crew also capped an undefeated season by winning its race.

The crew of Lois Lake, Tweetie Anderson, Jackie Graessle, Naomi Higuchi, Cheryl Farias and Renee Smith edged North Shore by one second yesterday.

"It's an honor, really, to go undefeated because the other crews are all very good," Graessle said. "But as hard as it is to go undefeated, I think it would be even harder on us to finish second or third."

Kane'ohe also won the prestigious men's senior race. The crew of Louis Figeuroa, Aaron Abbey, Jesse Makainai, Ikaika Schilling, Seth Ramolete and Moki Anderson completed the 1 1/2-mile course in 11 minutes, 54.34 seconds to beat Manu O Ke Kai by six seconds.

"It's a surprise to us because we just kind of fill in for this race to help the club score some points," Moki Anderson said. "We wanted to score points, but we didn't know we would win."

Moki Anderson, Abbey, Makainai and Eric Moncriffe later won the men's open-4 race.

Despite dominating the Hui Wa'a season, Kane'ohe will not challenge the state's other big clubs at the Aug. 5 state championship regatta at Ke'ehi Lagoon.

Clint Anderson said Kane'ohe will enter the AA division for medium-sized clubs at the state regatta.

"We don't have the numbers to compete with those big boys," he said. "So we'll try and put together some good crews and just have fun at states."

Manu O Ke Kai won four races and scored 45 points to win the AA division yesterday. Koa Kai was second with 31, and 'Alapa Hoe third with 24.

Waikiki Beach Boys won six races and scored 40 points to win the A division for small clubs.

The women led the way for Waikiki Beach Boys, winning the novice B, novice A, freshman, sophomore and senior races.

The women's senior crew of Kelsa Teeters, Erin Offenhauser, Dana Gorecki, Andrea Messer, Cherie Lee and Sue Brown capped an undefeated season with another impressive victory.

They completed the 1 1/2-mile course in 12:49.75. Second-place Lokahi came in 38 seconds later which equates to about eight canoe-lengths. Waikiki Beach Boys won every Hui Wa'a women's senior race this season by a significant margin.

"Our goal all year has been the states," Brown said. "We got second in the senior race at states last year, so we'd like to do one better."

Because of its strong women's program, Waikiki Beach Boys is expected to be a strong contender in the A division for small clubs at the state regatta.

"We have to figure out where to place all our women to try and score as many points as we can for the club," Brown said. "But that's a hard (division) to win because there are so many good clubs in it."

Eight crews went undefeated against Hui Wa'a competition this year: Na Keiki O Ka Mo'i girls 12s, Kane'ohe girls 14s, Manu O Ke Kai women 55s, Kane'ohe women 50s, 'Alapa Hoe girls 16s, 'Alapa Hoe girls 18s, Waikiki Beach Boys women senior, and North Shore women 40s.

The top three Hui Wa'a crews in each age division will get to participate in the state championship regatta. Those qualifying spots were based on overall performance throughout the entire season.

The O'ahu Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association Championship Regatta is scheduled to run today at Ke'ehi Lagoon.

Reach Dayton Morinaga at dmorinaga@honoluluadvertiser.com.