RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Hui Lanakila led Hui Nalu to win the women's junior race in the John D. Kaupiko regatta at Keehi Lagoon.
Youngsters carry Kailua to Kaupiko regatta title
The Kailua Canoe Club's formula this summer has been to show up strong early, and then continue strong late.
Regardless of what happens during the middle, it's been a successful one.
The Windward-side club picked up its third straight outright win of the season at the John D. Kaupiko Memorial Canoe Regatta yesterday at Keehi Lagoon. Kailua amassed eight race victories and 77 total points to take the AA division (18-plus crews entered) of the 39-race event.
The Kaupiko Regatta was the fifth and final regular-season regatta for the Oahu Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association. Host Hui Nalu finished second with 70 points, followed by Lanikai (65) and Outrigger (64).
Defending OHCRA champion Kailua also tied rival Lanikai for the win in the season's second regatta and has an association-leading four victories. The club now heads into Sunday's OHCRA Championships as the favorite.
"It's amazing. Because our kids are so strong, they put us out to about a 15- to 20-point lead today," Kailua head coach Kawai Mahoe said. "Then we fell back to only an eight-point lead after, but we (maintained) after that.
"We've been getting better and better and, hopefully, we'll do well in the (OHCRA Championships) and states -- that's our goal. I knew we were defending OHCRA champs, but I never knew we would be going in (this year) as the favorite. Everything we did today will carry over to next week as far as momentum, so I hope to come out as the champs again."
The club managed three kids wins and six overall in the first 19 races (some adults race during first half). Kailua's youths also added three runner-up finishes for additional points.
Among the club's victories, Kailua's girls 18 crew won for the fourth straight time. The crew of Makana Bruhn, Chelsea Meyer, Pualani Reis-Moniz, Kati Erwin, Shawlea Aona and Cady Uyeoka finished the 1/2-mile course in 4 minutes, 32.54 seconds, about five ticks ahead of second-place Hui Nalu (4:37.70).
"It's so much fun to paddle with our crew, and we want to do as well as we can," Erwin said. "We want to win for the crew and for the club."
With the association and state championships still to come, "there's a little bit of pressure," Bruhn added, "but we just have to train even harder."
With Kailua's dearth of open paddlers this year, the field caught up during the middle portion of the regatta. Kailua had an eight-point lead (56-48) over Hui Nalu after the 26th race.
But Kailua again received a strong performance from its masters paddlers -- namely, the masters women -- during the home stretch.
Kailua won the women's 55 and 50 races and placed second in the women 60, helping the club maintain its advantage over the last third of the regatta and take the overall first-place trophy.
Hui Nalu's win in the final race of the day -- men 40 -- earned the club five points and helped it produce its best result of the season.
"It was awesome to do well in our regatta," Hui Nalu head coach Reney Ching said. "We just rallied, and got ourselves together and lifted each other up."
Hui Lanakila convincingly won the A division for smaller clubs, with 59 points, followed by second-place Keahiakahoe's 20.
Though it entered just 15 races, Hui Lanakila amazingly won a regatta-high 10 of them.
This included another dominant performance in the open division races, where Hui Lanakila won five out of the eight events and both of the 1 1/2-mile senior competitions.
The crew of Raven Aipa, Mike Silva, Kelly Foster, Scot Miranda, Manny Kulukulualani and Scott Hendricks won the senior men's race in 10:59.13. Outrigger (11:04.95) finished second.
The defending association and state champions, Hui Lanakila won yet another senior women's race in 12:45.74 (Outrigger, second, at 13:00.21). The crew yesterday included Allison Sokei, Michelle Arnold, Arlene Holzman, Jessie Eames, Seraphina Eames and Vi Coito.
Na Keiki O Ka Moi wins again
A week after tying for first, Na Keiki O Ka Moi again topped the team standings at yesterday's Na Ohana O Na Hui Waa regatta at Waikiki Beach.
Na Keiki O Ka Moi won eight races and scored 72 points to win the AAA Division (25 or more crews entered). Lokahi placed second with six race wins and 66 points.
Koa Kai cruised to victory in the AA Division (13-plus crews) with 55 points. Host Waikiki Beach Boys captured the A Division (one-12 crews) with 44 points.