[ PADDLING ]
FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
The Hui Nalu Masters 50 team won its event yesterday at Keehi Lagoon in the 35th Annual Father's Day Regatta.
Kailua wins third
The club comes out on top for
the third straight week, beating
Hui Lanakila by eight points
Jimmy Bruhn may have a penchant for smiling, but he isn't big on kidding around.
The head coach for Kailua Canoe Club had plenty to smile about yesterday after learning that his club had won its third regatta in as many weeks. Kailua, with a 77-point showing, outlasted Hui Lanakila by eight points in the 35th Annual Father's Day Regatta at Keehi Lagoon.
"I'm always surprised when we win everything," Bruhn said. "It's so competitive every time. You can't take anything for granted. With four races to go, anyone could still take it."
More than a dozen of Kailua's paddlers stuck around as officials compiled the points. They waited through a delay before learning that they had secured the win.
Lanikai, the early leader, finished with 65 points, and Hui Nalu placed fourth with 55 in the AA Division.
Keahiakahoe led the A Division with 22 points. Regatta host Leeward Kai was runner-up with 14 points, and Anuenue placed third with 10.
Kailua's triumph wasn't one of domination. The paddlers in blue and yellow won just six of the 37 races compared to runner-up Hui Lanakila, which won 10 races.
"Overall, we did well," Bruhn said. "We placed (points for finishing second through fourth) in most of our races.
"The fact that we placed that much is great."
Kailua's depth and breadth of success is no fluke.
"Our coaches have been teaching a lot more on technique," Bruhn said. "The coaches deserve a lot of credit."
For Lanikai, it was another close-but-no-cigar chase. Lanikai led after 16 races with 34 points. Kailua was five points behind.
"Our kids didn't do as well, but a lot of them are on vacations," Lanikai coach Bobby Puakea said. "Kailua has been tough."
It was a day of big and small victories for many clubs. Even New Hope Christian Fellowship Canoe Club, which placed eighth out of eight teams in the AA Division, continued to show signs of improvement.
New Hope's men's 50 crew won for the second time in three weeks. In the season opener, its crew won the race by a dozen lengths. Last week, a lane infraction cost them a chance for the win.
This time around, New Hope won the event by six seconds in 3 minutes, 54.9 seconds. It remains to be seen if they'll be challenged even when more paddlers turn out for clubs as long-distance season nears.
"It's rewarding and fun," New Hope steersman Cam Cavasso said. "This win more so because I blew it so badly in the last one."
Gary Samura, the stroker, cut Cavasso some slack, noting the unusual width of New Hope's borrowed canoe, Ka'iholokai. Like all OHCRA canoes, Ka'iholokai is pure koa.
"The okole is wider (than most canoes), so we have to be more conservative (than other crews) on our turn," said Samura.
Cavasso is a veteran who has paddled for Lanikai, Kailua and Kai One. Samura is a veteran one-man paddler who was invited to paddle for a number of clubs, but always declined.
"I'm a member at New Hope, so when they started a club, I went," he said.
The top dog, so to speak, remains Kailua. The going gets tougher for opponents next week.
Kailua returns home for the next OHCRA event.
The regatta was originally scheduled for Waimanalo Beach Park, home of host Waimanalo Canoe Club. However, as with yesterday's regatta -- first slated for Nanakuli -- the facility is under repair.
The regatta will be held at Kailua, which suits Bruhn just fine. The club won its own regatta on June 12.
"That's our home ground. We gotta make use of it," said Bruhn, noting gusts that get up to 25 mph. "We're used to the wind in our face."
That doesn't mean Kailua is about to let up, even after three wins.
"I try to tell them, next week is always another race," Bruhn said. "We have to humble ourselves as much as we can."