Star-Bulletin Sports


Hui Nalu's senior women's crew (front to back, Kelly Allen, CatherineFuller, Gail Kaaialii, Tammy Kaneaiakala, Julie Aio and Kaui Pelekani) won the 1 1/2-mile race yesterday.

Goodbye parity,
hello Outrigger

The club wins 7 events to outscore Hui
Nalu and Lanakila for the OHCRA title

By Grace Wen

Parity may have started a game of peek-a-boo early in the 2002 Oahu Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association regatta season, but it disappeared in July.

The Outrigger Canoe Club won its fourth consecutive regatta of the season and added another Oahu championship to its collection yesterday.

Outrigger won seven events, placed second in seven others and finished with 75 points to win the season championship for the sixth time in eight years.

The club could complete the paddling trifecta -- winning its own regatta, OHCRA and the state title -- next month at Hilo.

"It seems to be a typical Outrigger season where we keep on building momentum," Outrigger coach Mike Mason said. "Our younger kids did much better. Our middle age group -- the 14, 15, 16, 18 -- came out really strong.

"We've been working hard for this and we have a much more solid crew of dedicated coaches than before. The core of coaches and paddlers has been much more dedicated."

Hui Nalu, winner of two regattas this season, gave the perennial powerhouse a battle with seven event wins, but succumbed in the end with 66 points. Hui Lanakila also won seven races and finished third with 57 points.

Keahiakahoe cruised in the A division for smaller clubs with 31 points, easily outdistancing itself from second-place Waikiki Surf (13).

Dark clouds hovered over one side of the course at Keehi Lagoon. The overcast skies provided a bit of welcome relief from the heat for paddlers scrambling to qualify for the state races Aug. 3.

Clubs throughout the association beefed up crews in almost every race. The strategy worked with varying success.

"We just fell a little short," Hui Nalu coach Darryl Hara said. "Outrigger has too much depth. We didn't have enough people to make those crews strong all the way through.

"We kind of had to pick our spots where we wanted to get points today. And even in doing that, what looks good on paper doesn't translate to getting across the finish line first."

Hui Nalu's women brought the club back into contention after it trailed by as many as 10 points early on. Hui Nalu swept the women's freshman, sophomore, junior and senior races.

After 30 events, Hui Nalu closed to three points after scoring in five straight events, a span that also included two victories. But that was the closest the club got to catching Outrigger.

"We did OK for a while and then Outrigger came on again," Hara said. "They had a great day, a pretty even attack all day long. They could pick and choose where they wanted to do well, and for the most part, where they wanted to do well, they did."

Except at the task of qualifying more crews.

"Of course we wanted to win, but we also wanted to qualify more crews," Mason said. "We had marginal success. We had a lot of crews in fifth place. We qualified a couple of them, but (not as many) as before. But we're still in pretty good shape."

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