DUKE KAHANAMOKU LONG DISTANCE RACE
MIKE BURLEY / MBURLEY@STARBULLETIN.COM
Mano Oke Kai Aanahulu finished 12th at Duke Kahanamoku beach during the men's Duke Race yesterday.
Lanikai goes the distance
STORY SUMMARY » | READ THE FULL STORY
Taking back the Molokai Hoe is its ultimate goal, but at this point, the Lanikai Canoe Club will settle for going 1-for-1 in Oahu Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association distance races.
Lanikai won the 24-mile Duke Kahanamoku Long Distance Race from Kailua to Waikiki with a time of 2 hours, 48 minutes, 42 seconds over runner-up and defending champion Outrigger (2:54:29). Hui Lanakila placed third at 2:56:18.
FULL STORY »
MIKE BURLEY / MBURLEY@STARBULLETIN.COM
Waikiki Beach Boys Makana O Laulima pulled into the finish line at Duke Kahanamoku beach yesterday.
It was only the first test, but Lanikai Canoe Club passed with flying colors.
The Windward Oahu-based club's quest to dethrone Tahitian crew Shell Vaa as the two-time Molokai Hoe world champions got off to an encouraging start as Lanikai's top crew rolled to victory in the 41st Duke Kahanamoku Long Distance Race to start the long-distance season.
The winning nine-man team of Kai Bartlett, Dave Daniels, Ka'ai Bruhn, Kekoa Bruhn, Jim Foti, Mike Judd, Aaron Creps, Karel Tresnak Jr. and Patrick Dolan posted a winning time of 2 hours, 48 minutes, 42 seconds over the 24-mile distance from Kailua to Duke's Beach at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.
The top time was a healthy 5 minutes, 47 seconds ahead of runner-up Outrigger, the defending champion of the event. Hui Lanakila placed third at 2:56:18 in mostly clear conditions.
Lanikai received a big boost from the veteran presence of Bartlett and Tresnak, who were with Hawaiian Canoe Club on Maui and Outrigger last year, respectively.
"For Lanikai, it's really coming together for us this year," said Dolan, 20, who rotated among the first four positions of the boat. "We got Kai back, we got Karel back, guys who have paddled for our club before are coming back with the goal of Molokai.
"It started for us today."
Lanikai, which was the last local team to win the Molokai Hoe in 2005, crossed the 41-mile Kaiwi Channel in seventh place last year.
Outrigger veteran Jimmy Austin filled in Tresnak's steersman berth and was largely pleased with the showing from their youthful crew - he termed this season a "rebuilding year" and plans to pull for Lanikai in the Molokai race on Oct. 12.
"We've got a lot of younger kids in the boat, a couple novice A's, boys 18's," said Austin, 28. "I'm very impressed with how we're doing. To come out ... and get second, we know Lanikai's the people to beat. We're hoping they can go and take the Tahitians down this year, and just going to try to give everybody else a run for their money."
Lanikai didn't pull away rapidly, instead gaining ground seat by seat through the chop on the Windward side before they were able to catch surf at Sandy Beach. By then, the team swapped out three men at a time in the six-man canoe every 15 minutes from their escort boat to stay fresh. Foti and Tresnak alternated steering duties, and the canoe never flipped.
"It's good, it kind of gives you a little idea of where you're at," said Bartlett, 33, who was primarily the stroker. "If we want to do what we plan on doing, we got a lot more work to do. You get Hawaii Kai (in the Duke race), which is the last leg of Molokai. And it's good to get out there with the guys and work out some kinks, or at least find out the kinks you gotta work out."
The 8-mile women's version of the race touched off from Kailua, wound around Mokulea Rock and behind Flat Island and back to shore. The Waikiki Beach Boys were dominant, finishing 1-2 with the Makana O Laulima and Alapai crews in 52:48 and 53:07.
"I think stamina-wise we still have more to go, to get ready for the Kaiwi Channel," said Kaui Pelekane, who steered the Makana team (Dana Gorecki, Andrea Messer, Kim Ivey, Susannah Johnson, Jennifer Polcer) to victory. "It's good for our morale (to go 1-2). It was more training for us on the Windward side. We still have a lot of work cut out for us."
Sue Brown returned to long-distance steering after giving birth to her son, Jackson, three months ago, and piloted the Alapai crew right behind Pelekane's to the finish.
"I was wondering how rusty I was going to be, but they say it's like riding a bike," Brown said. "Everybody had a good race, and that's important - that was valuable water to paddle in."