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Saturday, June 3, 2000

C A N O E _ P A D D L I N G

OHCRA paddlers
to hit water

The Outrigger Canoe club
to begin defense of its title
tomorrow at Keehi Lagoon

By Brandon Lee
Special to the Star-Bulletin


It appeared that a changing of the guard had occurred when then-defending champion Lanikai Canoe Club raced to victory in the first five regattas during the short course season of the Oahu Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association last year.

After snatching the OHCRA championship from three-time defending champion Outrigger Canoe Club two seasons ago, Lanikai seemed destined to win back-to-back championships itself as its paddlers picked up their winning ways last season right where they left off the year before.

In stunning fashion, however, Outrigger prevented the "regular" season sweep by Lanikai by taking the final regatta of the season and then going on to win the OHCRA championship for the fourth time in five years.

Tomorrow, Outrigger, Lanikai and the 13 other OHCRA clubs begin this year's short course season with the Clement D. Paiaina Regatta at Keehi Lagoon.

While the end results from last season were good for Outrigger, head coach Kehau Kali acknowledged that her club does not want to get off to a sluggish start this year.

"We're really looking forward to this season knowing that each regatta is important and taking them one at a time," Kali said.

"It's always nice to win, and doing well early on establishes a track record that can continue to motivate our paddlers throughout the season," added Kali. "We'll be relying on the experience of our older paddlers and the enthusiasm of our newer paddlers."

As for Lanikai and the rest, they again face the formidable task of trying to take the championship from perennial powerhouse Outrigger.

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