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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, September 18, 2006

Lanikai Canoe Club steers its way to win

By Dayton Morinaga
Advertiser Staff Writer

From left, Lanikai's Mike Pedersen, Aaron Creps, Ka'ai Bruhn, Dave Daniels, Kekoa Bruhn and Jim Foti cross the finish line in 3:42:59.

JOAQUIN SIOPACK | The Honolulu Advertiser

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A training run turned into a winning run for the Lanikai Canoe Club yesterday.

Even with some of its key paddlers unavailable, Lanikai won the Henry Ayau Memorial Canoe Race yesterday.

Lanikai completed the 33-mile course from Maunalua Bay to Nanakuli Beach in 3 hours, 42 minutes, 59 seconds. Forty-eight men's crews participated in the race.

It was the last "warm-up" event before the Moloka'i Hoe championship race on Oct. 8. Lanikai is the two-time defending champion of the Moloka'i Hoe.

"We had some guys injured, and some others who weren't available for one reason or another," Lanikai coach Tommy Conner said. "We threw whoever we had together and looked at this as a training run. We were still hoping for a good race, and it turned out better than I expected."

Members of the winning crew were Ka'ai Bruhn, Kekoa Bruhn, Zane Chess, Aaron Creps, Dave Daniels, Jim Foti, Mike Judd, Keanu Kuna and Mike Pedersen.

Teams could rotate nine paddlers in the six seats of the canoe throughout the race. Winds were light, but there were some small swells for the canoes to ride.

"We had to work super-hard just to get on a (wave)," Lanikai's Kekoa Bruhn said. "There weren't those long rides that we're used to, but at least there were some small ones."

Outrigger, which won the Henry Ayau race last year, placed second yesterday in 3:44:03. Hui Lanakila was third in 3:50:06, followed by Tui Tonga of the Big Island in 3:52:09, and Lanakila from California in 3:54:38.

For the most part, it was a two-team battle for the lead between Lanikai and Outrigger.

"Outrigger kept the pace," Lanikai's Foti said. "We had to catch them and then work really hard to hold them off."

Canoe-paddling is often compared to a game of chess, and yesterday was no exception.

Lanikai's winning move came when it inserted Zane Chess into the steersman position in place of the veteran Foti.

"I didn't even know I was going to be with the first team until (yesterday) morning," Chess said. "And then they told me I might have to steer a little bit, so I never really had the time to think about any of it."

Foti started the race as the steersman, but said he got exhausted halfway through the course. When Chess was put in as a replacement, Lanikai and Outrigger were in a virtual tie.

"I got out (of the canoe) and went to lie down for a little bit," Foti said. "When I got up, we were like 100 yards ahead."

Chess said: "I don't know what happened. We just found some (wave) bumps and had a good run. Everyone was blending together."

Kekoa Bruhn said Chess steered for about an hour, and the rest of the Lanikai crew used him as motivation.

"We're so used to Jim being back there, but Zane came in fresh and so we all got fired up for him," Bruhn said. "But Zane was the hero for that stretch."

After his break, Foti returned and steered the canoe to the finish line.

Outrigger stayed on Lanikai's tail the rest of the way, although it could never close the gap.

It was a role reversal from last year's Henry Ayau race, when Outrigger made a late move to edge Lanikai.

Members of the Outrigger crew yesterday were Kapono Brown, Mark Cluney, Will Estes, Ikaika Harbottle, Rob Harrison, Byron Ho, Mike Kane, Bill Pratt and Karel Tresnak Jr.

"I think we're pretty happy with where we finished," Harbottle said. "We battled with Lanikai the whole way. We're just glad they didn't pull away more, they're such a strong crew."

Harbottle was a Lanikai paddler for several years before transferring to Outrigger this year.

"You still have to look at Lanikai as the best team out there," Harbottle said. "They have to be No. 1 until somebody knocks them off."

But despite winning yesterday's race while not at full strength, Lanikai was not quite ready to embrace the favorite's role for the Moloka'i Hoe.

"When it comes to Moloka'i, all the top teams are good, all the paddlers are in shape, everybody is fast," Kekoa Bruhn said. "It comes down to who can work together the best on that day."

Yesterday was Lanikai's second long-distance victory of the season (it also won the Duke Kahanamoku Race). Maui's Hawaiian Canoe Club, which won the Queen Lili'uokalani Race two weeks ago, did not enter yesterday.

An Outrigger masters crew placed an impressive seventh overall yesterday with a time of 4:00:48 to win the masters 40-and-older division.

Keahiakahoe won the masters 50-older division in 4:42:48, and New Hope won the masters 55-older division in 4:47:17.



1, Lanikai-I, 3:42:59. 2, Outrigger-I, 3:44:03. 3, Hui Lanakila-I, 3:50:06. 4, Tui Tonga, 3:52:09. 5, Lanakila-I (Calif.), 3:54:38. 6, Outrigger-II, 3:57:11. 7, Hui Nalu-I, 4:00:51. 8, Lanikai-II, 4:04:47. 9, Na Molokama, 4:05:23. 10, Waikiki Beach Boys-I, 4:09:03. 11, Hui Lanakila-II, 4:10:04. 12, Waimanalo, 4:10:40. 13, Team West Hawai'i, 4:12:05. 14, Leeward Kai, 4:12:11. 15, Keahiakahoe-I, 4:13:25. 16, Healani-I, 4:19:33. 17, Lanakila-II (Calif.), 4:20:57. 18, Healani-II, 4:21:55. 19, 'Anuenue, 4:23:24. 20, Hui Nalu-II, 4:25:15. 21, New Hope-I, 4:26:43. 22, Honolulu Fire, 4:29:45. 23, Waikiki Beach Boys-II, 4:29:54. 24, Waikiki Beach Boys-III, 4:32:44. 25, Lokahi-I, 4:34:18. 26, Kailua, 4:37:56. 27, Lanikai-III, 4:39:48. 28, Waikiki Yacht Club, 4:41:59. 29, Healani-III, 4:48:40. 30, Ka Mamalahoe, 4:53:30. 31, New Hope-II, 4:54:18. 32, Puakea Civic, 4:54:47. 33, Keahiakahoe-II, 4:55:15. 34, Honolulu Pearl, 4:56:22. 35, Koa Kai-III, no time available.


40-older: 1, Outrigger-IV, 4:00:48. 2, Hui Nalu-III, 4:13:54. 3, Koa Kai-I, 4:21:35. 4, Hui Lanakila, 4:22:19. 5, Kailua-I, 4:26:15. 6, Lokahi-II, 4:44:36. 7, New Hope-III, 4:52:57. 8, Honolulu Pearl, no time available. 50-older: 1, Keahiakahoe-III, 4:42:48. 55-older: 1, New Hope-IV, 4:47:17. 2, Lanikai, 4:58:32.

Reach Dayton Morinaga at dmorinaga@honoluluadvertiser.com.