Beach Boys make history


POSTED: Monday, June 22, 2009

Winning 11 of the 16 races they entered, and placing lower than third on only one occasion, the Waikiki Beach Boys won their first regatta since the club's inception in 1973, and ended Kaneohe Canoe Club's several-year-long winning streak in the process.

Waikiki racked up 65 points to place first overall, and topped the AA Division (13-24 crews entered) in the Na 'Ohana O Na Hui Wa'a organization's Kalihi Kai Canoe Club Regatta yesterday at Keehi Lagoon.

Manu O Ke Kai finished second overall with 60 points, and won the AAA Division (25-39 crews entered) ahead of Koa Kai (43 points) and Na Keiki O Ka Mo'i (38 points). Kaneohe finished with 59 points, good for third place overall and second in the AA Division.

“;It's very exciting to not even be paying attention to the points (standings) and to then be in contention, and to win the regatta overall,”; said Beach Boys president and paddler Dana Gorecki, who was unaware of her club's finish until reporters approached her with the news.

The six-person outrigger canoe event featured more than 1,500 paddlers representing 18 canoe clubs in age divisions ranging from 12-and-under to 60-and-above. The paddlers traversed courses ranging from a quarter-mile to 1.5 miles in Hui Wa'a's fourth regular-season regatta. Points were awarded to the top four finishers in each race, with five points going to the winner, three to runners-up, two for third-place and one for fourth place.

Waikiki's female program continued its dominance, as the club claimed victories in the women's novice A, freshman, sophomore, senior, masters-40 and open-4 races.

“;We have a really strong women's program, and everybody works really hard,”; said Leah Miller, the steersman for Waikiki's masters-40 and open-4 crews. “;We're one of the few clubs that gets really good coaching and stresses technique.”;

Waikiki also won last year's Father's Day regatta at Kailua Beach, but the win was essentially deemed unofficial, as the clubs were allowed to have open steersmen. The rule allows a steersman to race in more than the normally allotted two races to keep the paddlers and canoes safe in rough ocean conditions.

Kaneohe won six races yesterday, but fell short after watching a 20-point lead through the day's first 25 races slowly slip away. Entering the regatta's final race, Manu O Ke Kai and Waikiki were tied at 60 points, with Kaneohe within striking distance with 57 points. But Waikiki won the mixed-gender open-6 race to ice the victory.

“;We just enjoyed the day; every day is Father's Day here,”; said Kaneohe head coach Clint Anderson, who used the regatta to allow some of the club's younger, inexperienced paddlers the opportunity to race. “;We're letting everybody race today. It's not about winning the regatta, it's about everybody having a chance to race, and enjoying the day for the fathers.”;

The majority of paddlers welcomed the return of strong tradewinds, which aided crews as they headed downwind toward the turn, and provided a reprieve from the humid conditions that lingered during the season's first two regattas.

“;This is kind of like Kaneohe weather, when the trades come,”; Anderson said. “;There have been some extra gusts in certain races, and some crews had some trouble coming upwind. The main thing is we don't have hulis (overturned canoes) so we don't delay the (race).”;

North Shore claimed the A Division (6-12 Crews entered) with 23 points, and finished ahead of Ka Mamalahoe (14 points) and Kalihi Kai (13 points).

Hui Wa'a will hold its next regatta on Sunday at Maili Beach Park.

The race offers paddlers a departure from the traditional race courses - including those at Keehi Lagoon - which are situated parallel to the shore. At Ma'ili, crews start in the open ocean and race straight toward the shore while navigating varying swells and winds.


Lanikai wins out west

Lanikai rebounded from a loss to Windward rival Kailua last week for a runaway win at the Leeward Kai Regatta at Nanakuli Beach.

Lanikai scored 91 points to Kailua's 66.

In the AA division, Hui Lanakila won with 45 points. Waimanalo took the A division with 10 points.