Kāne'ohe gets off to fast start Kamanu goes channel surfing
• Photo gallery: Hui Waa opening regatta
By Dayton Morinaga
Advertiser Staff Writer
The stroke for eight straight started yesterday for the Kāne'ohe Canoe Club.
Kāne'ohe won the Adam Ahai Memorial Regatta yesterday at Ke'ehi Lagoon. It was the opening event of the 2010 Na 'Ohana O Na Hui Wa'a regatta season.
Kāne'ohe is the seven-time defending Hui Wa'a champion.
"Well, just another year going by, I guess," Kāne'ohe head coach Clint Anderson said. "We just have to work hard again."
Last year, Kāne'ohe won the Hui Wa'a title despite being a "middle" club in terms of numbers of paddlers. Yesterday was no different.
Kāne'ohe won the regatta as a AA club, which is for medium-sized clubs. The bigger clubs are in the AAA division.
Just like last year, Kāne'ohe out-scored all the bigger clubs yesterday. Kāne'ohe won six races yesterday and finished with 55 points.
Manu O Ke Kai scored 52 points to top the AAA division and finish second overall.
Manu O Ke Kai had the overall lead late in the day, but Kāne'ohe won the final race of the regatta — mixed open-6 — to earn five points and secure the win.
Members of Kāne'ohe's mixed open-6 crew were Kehau Ching, Brittney Kusaka, Nainoa Kahale, Dawn Lau, Philip Kaniho and Damion Sailors.
In sticking with its annual formula, Kāne'ohe scored most of its points in the youth races. The Kāne'ohe kids won three races — girls 12, boys 12 and mixed 12.
"The boys 12 is all brand new, so they did a good job," Anderson said. "We're really short (on numbers) with kids this year ... they did real well considering we have plenty of new kids this year."
Anderson said it was also the first step toward qualifying as many paddlers as possible for the state championship regatta in August. He noted that the state regatta would be held at Ke'ehi Lagoon this year.
"States is down here this year, so we have to get as many (paddlers) as we can," Anderson said.
If yesterday was any indication, Kāne'ohe will face lots of competition at Hui Wa'a regattas this year.
In the AAA division, Manu O Ke Kai scored 52 points, followed by Na Keiki O Ka Mo'i with 46, and then Koa Kai with 42.
In the AA division, Waikīkī Beachboys scored 42 points and Lōkahi scored 34.
Even the A division for small clubs featured impressive performances. Ka Māmalahoe scored 30 points and North Shore scored 24.
Waikīkī Beachboys won a regatta-high seven races, despite a depleted roster. Many of the club's top female paddlers skipped yesterday's regatta to participate in the PA'A 'Eono Hoe long-distance race.
"We had about half of our women here, so we did what we could," Waikīkī Beachboys assistant coach Patrick Switzer said.
Waikīkī Beachboys — a club without any youth paddlers — won four novice races (mixed novice B, men novice B, women novice A, men novice A), two open men's races (sophomore and senior) and one open women's race (sophomore).
The men's senior crew of Switzer, Patrick Nguyen, Johnny Verive, Dane Keohohou, Victor Bovino-Agostini and Franco Arango completed the 1 1/2-mile course in 12 minutes, 4.44 seconds to beat Manu O Ke Kai by 20 seconds.
"Our numbers are up on the men's side, so we're excited about this year," Switzer said. "Everybody knows what our women can do, but we've got some depth with our men this year, too."
In the absence of the top women for Waikīkī Beachboys, Lōkahi won the prestigious women's senior race. The crew of Darlene Morikawa, Valerie Franck, Nalani Dahl, Leilani Loredo, Melissa Bitanga and Carol Jaxon completed the 1 1/2-mile course in 14:41.95 to edge Ka Māmalahoe by six seconds.
Yesterday was the first of nine regattas in the Hui Wa'a organization this year.
The next regatta is scheduled for Sunday at Hale'iwa Beach Park.
The O'ahu Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association is scheduled to start its regatta season June 6.