Lanikai keeps OHCRA streak alive
Through the first five races of the Oahu Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association season, Lanikai had shown that it was unbeatable when everything clicks.
Yesterday, it showed that it doesn't even need its best game to beat the other clubs in OHCRA.
Lanikai scored 83 points to win the John D. Kaupiko Regatta at Ke'ehi Lagoon yesterday, beating runner-up Kailua by six points and third-place Outrigger by seven. It was Lanikai's sixth win in six regattas this year with the association championship coming up next week and the state regatta following that.
"We weren't trying to peak for this race," Lanikai coach David Smith said. "Sometimes it is good to have a little wakeup call."
Smith said he mixed up a lot of his crews to get some other paddlers in the game, but that it had mixed results. The boats he loaded up with his best paddlers struggled, while the ones he threw in the race for experience carried the day.
Although Lanikai's paddlers didn't know the score as the day wore on, they did know that it was close and that there was no margin for error. That's when winning time arrived.
"We knew we were behind for a significant part of the regatta," Smith said. "I was going to be surprised if we won, actually."
JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Kailua, top, and Lanikai fought for points all day during the OHCRA John D. Kaupiko Regatta sponsored by Hui Nalu at Keehi Lagoon yesterday.
Lanikai trailed going into the final seven races but won five of them to keep its winning streak alive. It clinched the championship with a race to spare, beating Healani by a second in the mixed 40. Lanikai's crew of Cindi Chess, Jamie Grimm, Celeste Smith, David Lipp, Bill Cooper and Ricky Bermudez had never paddled together before.
"We just threw it together for today, shifted a lot of people around," Smith said. "We have a big club and have a lot of depth and we wanted to give other people a chance."
Lanikai's mixed 40 wouldn't have had a chance to bask in the glory were it not for the clutch performance of the men's and women's 40 crews. Those crews won their races easily (the women by 12 seconds and the men by 8) while burying Kailua back in the pack to signal Lanikai's charge. Kailua fought back with a second place in the women's open four, while Lanikai finished fifth, but gave the points back in the next race by finishing sixth as Lanikai took the points with another first-place finish.
Leeward Kai won the AA title by five points over Keahiakahoe, while Kaioni took the A division by five points over Anuenue. Kailua didn't go home empty-handed, as its youth paddlers earned the James "Chris" Olds Memorial trophy for most points in the 12-18 age groups.
Lokahi wins Hui Wa'a
Lokahi edged Waikiki BeachBoys by six points in the AA division, while Kalihi Kai beat Kai Poha by eight points to win the A division in the Na Ohana O Na Hui Waa Waikiki BeachBoys Invitational Regatta yesterday at Waikiki Beach.
Na Keiki O Ka Moi led all clubs with 76 points and was the only team in the AAA division.
Lokahi won six events, including a thrilling race in the platinum masters event in which they beat Kai Poha by less than 2 seconds.