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Keeping Score

By Cindy Luis

Monday, August 9, 1999


Technology should make
canoe disputes obsolete

THERE has to be a better way.

It's the state sport.

Outrigger paddling and outrigger paddlers deserve more than having the outcome of races decided by officials eyeballing the finish line or looking at videotapes.

Crew and yacht races have used electronic timing devices for decades. Why not paddling?

It's time for the sport to go forward and pursue a fairer way of determining race winners. With a laser beam crossing the flags at both the start and finish lines, it will stop the disputes over false starts and photo finishes.

The system works much like a grocery store scanner does with bar codes. A canoe would need a transponder on its front manu (bow) that would register when breaking the laser beam.

It may not be possible at all venues. The system requires two stationary ground points to ensure an uninterrupted laser beam.

Realistically, only Ke'ehi Lagoon on Oahu could be used. But it's something that the Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association might consider, especially if state regattas are going to award points for first through 14th place.

The system is not cheap. But can you really put a price tag on fairness?

SOMETHING that is being considered for the sport is having Global Positioning Devices for every canoe during major distance races such as Na Wahine O Ke Kai and the Molokai Hoe. One big supporter is Kaila Malama, whose computer program enables results from the Oahu Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association's regattas to be e-mailed into our system.

A major reason for having a GPD onboard is safety. But consider the commercial value of such usage.

A large tote board could be set up at the finish line of the channel races, giving spectators a chance to track every canoe.

Kalani Irvine, Lanikai's head coach, suggested marketing the tracking maps to the television stations. Advertisers would sponsor half-hour updates, allowing the system to pay for itself.

It's something to consider.

Tapa

HERE is the time going?

Wasn't Tony Gwynn just playing for San Diego State?

Woodstock and the moonwalk ... can it really be 30 years?

Time flies even more quickly when it comes to watching children grow up.

Saturday, I saw my friend's baby girl turn into a confident young woman in front of my eyes. Maria Leon is all of 11 and very much a steersman.

It was impressive the way she handled her club's prized canoe, the Kakololio, the only racing canoe to be built predominantly of Maui koa.

I'm sorry the toering I bought her didn't bring her better luck. She and her Hawaiian Canoe Club girls 12 crew didn't win their race Saturday; they finished eighth out of 14.

But they were welcomed back to shore as warmly as if they had won the gold medal. Just by competing, they had.

Tapa

CONDOLENCES to former University of Hawaii volleyball player Lee Ann Pestana Satele on the passing of her father, Mel, last month.

He was a good man who loved life, Wahine volleyball, potlucks and racing. Not necessarily in that order.

Years would pass between our meetings, but the warmth and aloha was always there. As was the standing invitation to go jet skiing with him.

I regret I never took Mel up on his offer.



Cindy Luis is a Star-Bulletin sportswriter.
Her column appears weekly.



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