CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COM
The Waikiki Beach Boys won the Senior Women's race, helping the club capture the AA title division at the Hui Wa'a Lokahi Regatta held at Keehi Lagoon yesterday.
Kaneohe continues to cruise in Hui Wa‘a
Outrigger canoe regattas are full of uncertainty. Wind, currents, lane, crew combination ... all are factors when it comes to racing.
The only known is the unknown ... except, apparently, when it comes to the AAA division of Na Ohana O Na Hui Wa'a.
For the third straight week, Kaneohe cruised to the big-club championship with 79 points at yesterday's Lokahi Regatta at Keehi Lagoon.
The four-time defending association champion won nine races, easily outscoring runner-up Manu O Ke Kai (47 points).
In the AA division, Waikiki Beach Boys made the most of their 14 crews, winning eight races for a 47-41 win over Koa Kai.
Kalihi Kai's victory in the senior men's race helped the club become the third different winner of the A division in as many weeks.
Kalihi Kai scored 21 points to Ka Mamalahoe's 19.
Over the Pali, Lanikaii Canoe Club scored 100 points to win the battle of Kailua Bay.
Host Kailua scored 96 points to finish second in its annual King Kamehameha Regatta, the Oahu Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association's second event of the season.
As has been the case for the last several years, there was no surprise yesterday in the heavyweight division for the third regatta of the Na Ohana O Na Hui Wa'a season. But there was big drama among the smaller divisions.
While four-time defending association champion Kaneohe Canoe Club cruised to its third straight victory in the AAA division (25-plus crews entered) this summer with 79 total points and nine race wins in the 39-race Lokahi Regatta, there were first-time winners in both the AA (13-24) and A (12-fewer) divisions.
Though they only moved up to AA at the start of this season and had the fewest number of crews (14) among clubs in the division yesterday, the Waikiki Beach Boys still managed to win the AA title with 47 points and eight race victories.
Hui Wa'a's A division champions the last four years, the Beach Boys got their typically strong performance from their women paddlers -- sweeping the freshman, sophomore and senior races for a third straight regatta. But the club also got key race victories and points from its men that pushed the Beach Boys to a 6-point victory over second-place Koa Kai, which tallied 41 points among the 24 crews it entered.
Winning more than half the races they entered yesterday, the Beach Boys have averaged better than a second-place result, with nearly 4 points earned, each time one of their crews has hit the water this year.
"We're really excited about this season because we're finally getting some consistent coaching for the guys," said Beach Boys head coach Sean Monahan. "It's good to see the guys start to get up there and win and place. We've been blessed with a lot of good people who want to work hard, and, as many paddlers as we have we'll race."
Thanks in large part to an unexpected victory in the prestigious senior men's race, Kalihi Kai became the third different winner of the A division this year with 21 total points. Ka Mamalahoe -- winner of the season opener -- finished in second place with 19.
CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COM
Kalihi Kai won the Senior Mens race, helping the canoe club win the A title division at the Lokahi Regatta yesterday.
Kalihi Kai finished the 1 1/2-mile senior men's course in 11 minutes and 45.31 seconds, about 4 seconds better than the runner-up Beach Boys (11:49.26). Koa Kai (12:34.92), the previous week's winner, finished way back in fifth after suffering two broken paddles and going with just five paddlers instead of six for most of the race.
Kalihi Kai's winning crewmembers included Jarrett Makaimoku, Andrew Bugreyev, Sean Kaawa, Kenpo Kanahele, Alex Aurio and Gaven Hanoa.
"Right now we're going through a lot of adversity with injuries," said Kalihi Kai men's coach James Kaalekahi. "Right now we're just trying to survive by dividing all our talent in the different races. So (the senior men's victory) was definitely a surprise."
After winning the AA division at the first two regattas, Manu O Ke Kai moved up to AAA and finished as the runner-up to Kaneohe with 47 points. Despite getting docked 10 points for boat-holder errors, that was still enough to beat third-place Na Keiki O Ka Moi (46).
While Kaneohe keeps winning, head coach Clint Anderson said that the club is less concerned with the victories than with qualifying 17 solid crews to participate as a AA club at the state championship regatta in August. He mixed paddlers into different crews yesterday for this reason.
"We moved kids around, trying to see if we can get more (crews) into states, the adults, too," Anderson said. "If it comes out that we win, we're proud of it and happy for it."
Hui Wa'a continues its season with the Windward Kai Regatta at Kailua Beach next Sunday.
Lanikai wins OHCRA regatta: Lanikai Canoe Club was anything but neighborly yesterday when crashing Kailua's King Kamehameha Regatta. Lanikai edged the hosts 100-96 on Kailua Bay for its second straight Oahu Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association AAA title of the season.
Next Sunday, the OHCRA regatta is at Nanakuli Beach.