RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Hui Nalu approached the finish line ahead of Outrigger in the 55 Women's race yesterday.
Lanikai captures OHCRA opener
The club begins the summer paddling season by winning the Clement D. Paiaina Regatta
After a rules violation involving the composition of its koa canoe helped keep Lanikai Canoe Club out of the state championships last year, it is back competing in regattas again -- and winning.
The tradition- and victory-rich club won the AA division (18-plus crews entered) with 87 total points at the 16th annual Clement D. Paiaina Regatta yesterday at Keehi Lagoon.
The regatta was the opener for this year's Oahu Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association summer season.
"We're happy, but the key will be to repeat it week after week," Lanikai head coach Kalani Irvine said. "We enjoy racing, our boat's now fixed, it can race in the states. We're looking forward to racing this year. We just want to compete against the best, and see where we stand."
The Windward Oahu club stood tallest with a regatta-high 10 wins out of the 39 individual races, and managed a 15-point victory over second-place Hui Nalu (72).
Kailua (59), the defending OHCRA champion, finished well back in third, while Outrigger (55) placed fourth.
Kailua started off well, with four wins in the first 10 races, but Lanikai racked up points with wins and high finishes from start to finish. Lanikai built what would turn out to be an insurmountable lead with eight victories in the first 19 races.
Lanikai's winning crews were: 14 girls, novice B women, novice B mixed, 16 girls, 16 boys, 18 boys, novice A men, freshmen women, senior men and 40 mixed.
"It's just consistency, overall the club's in good shape," Irvine said. "There's things we need to work on. But it's the first race, a feel-out race. It's good to see how other clubs stack up against us, but I'm sure they will be coming after us."
Hui Lanakila convincingly won the A division (17 crews and less entered) for smaller clubs with 42 points and seven race victories. Anuenue was the runner-up with 13 points.
Hui Lanakila actually would have had eight race wins had it not been for a disqualification of its senior men's crew -- which crossed the finish line first in the prestigious race -- for a false start.
Instead, Lanikai, which lost only once during OHCRA senior men's competition last year, took first-place honors. Lanikai finished the 1 1/2-mile course in 11 minutes and 9.49 seconds, about 12 seconds behind Hui Lanakila.
"Maybe on paper we won, but the truth is (Hui Lanakila) won," Lanikai's Kaai Bruhn said. "They beat us by more than any DQ could have brought us back. I'd rather not win it this way. They killed us right from the start."
Other members of Lanikai's senior men's crew included: James Bustamante, Aaron Creps, John Foti, George Leslie and Patrick Dolan.
In the 1 1/2-mile senior women's race, Outrigger won in 13:05.76, while Hui Lanakila (13:10.86) finished second. Hui Lanakila is the defending OHCRA champ in the race, and the two clubs split the regular-season competitions last year with three wins apiece.
Outrigger's winning crewmembers were: Mary Smolenski, Traci Philips, Paula Crabb, Megan Clark, Kanesa Duncan and Kisi Haine.