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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Bartletts sparkle on Big Island

By Dayton Morinaga
Advertiser Staff Writer

Labor Day weekend worked out quite well for Maui's Kai Bartlett and his wife, Lauren.

Kai Bartlett was a member of the Hawaiian Canoe Club crew that won the men's division of the Queen Lili'uokalani Long Distance Canoe Race.

Lauren Bartlett was a member of the Team Bradley crew that won the women's division.

Kai Bartlett also won the men's solo race, and Lauren Bartlett won the women's solo race.

More than 1,600 paddlers participated in the two-day event at Kailua, Kona.

"It was a pretty cool weekend trip for the family," Kai Bartlett said. "We didn't expect to win all those races, so we were excited to get it."

The Queen Lili'uokalani race featured 127 crews in the men's division, and 138 in the women's division. It is the largest long-distance canoe race in the state in terms of participation numbers.

Hawaiian completed the 18-mile men's course from Kailua Pier to Honaunau in 1 hour, 53 minutes, 37 seconds. Members of the winning crew were Bartlett, Jacob Abeytia, Mael Carey, Tony Calderon, Felipe Gomes and Kekoa Cramer.

Outrigger placed second at 1:53:57, Tui Tonga was third in 1:54:54, and Hui Lanakila was fourth in 1:55:56.

"Outrigger gave us a good scare at the end," Kai Bartlett said. "We had a five-boat lead and they closed it really fast in the last two miles."

Tui Tonga, which won the Queen Lili'uokalani race last year, held the early lead, but Hawaiian took over midway across the course.

"We kept calm and stayed smooth," Kai Bartlett said. "We knew it was a long race, so we stuck with it and never let up."

It is the first time the Maui-based Hawaiian Canoe Club men won the Queen Lili'uokalani race.

Team Bradley won the women's division for the third consecutive year, completing the 18-mile course from Honaunau to Kailua Pier in 2:11:09.

Paddlers in the winning crew were Dane Ward, Lauren Bartlett, Mahealani Lum, Darcie Gray, Cherisse Keli'i and Denise Darval-Chang.

"It was a typical Kona race hot and flat," Lauren Bartlett said. "So we kept a steady pace the whole way. We kind of got into the lead early, and then held off (Waikiki Beach Boys). They were within striking distance the whole way."

Waikiki Beach Boys placed second in 2:11:36, and Hui Lanakila was third in 2:14:45.

A masters crew (ages 40 and older) from Outrigger Canoe Club was an impressive fourth overall in 2:16:07.

Team Bradley is a mix of paddlers from around the state. Ward and Bartlett are from Maui; Darval-Chang and Lum are from O'ahu; Gray is from Kaua'i; Keli'i is from the Big Island.

Kai Bartlett won the 6-mile solo men's race with a time of 47 minutes, 21 seconds. Teammate Abeytia was a close second in 47:28.

Lauren Bartlett dominated the women's solo race, finishing with a time of 1:12:04. Christina Hoggatt was second in 1:18:11.

Lauren Bartlett recently returned to Maui after six weeks of training and competing with the United States flatwater kayak team.

"It felt so good to get back in the (canoe)," she said.

Reach Dayton Morinaga at dmorinaga@honoluluadvertiser.com.