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[ PADDLING ]
Lanikai pulls away
No one was seriously injured, but neither crew finished the race, which was eventually won by Outrigger. Hui Lanakila competed in nine more events in a canoe borrowed from Lanikai.
"It was ugly," Kailua steersman Kamoa Kalama said of the collision. "The good thing is that everybody is OK. The unfortunate thing is that Hui Lanakila was leading.
"I was coming in wide on our turn and caught a wave. I had hoped they (Hui Lanakila) would come out of their turn tight, get clear and that we'd just miss their tail (on the overlap). He (steersman Adam Treinen-Aea) went wide, too. We were coming in fast and there was nothing that could be done."
Four of the Hui Lanakila crew came back later in the day to take a gold medal in the women's 40 1-mile event.
"We had some backwash (in Lane 4) that helped us on the way out," said Gail Grabowsky, who stroked the winning crew and sat No. 2 in the senior race. "I was thinking, 'Oh, maybe the gods will be with us this time.' We had the perfect wave coming in."
Hui Lanakila won in 7 minutes, 52.95 seconds, easily outdistancing Outrigger by 23 seconds.
One of the more impressive victories came in the men's Novice A 1-mile event where Anuenue won in Lane 6, traditionally a poor lane. (Only three canoes won in Lane 6 yesterday, compared to 11 in Lane 3, 10 in Lane 4 and nine in Lane 5).
David Napoleon caught a wave about 30 feet above the quarter-mile flag and "I guess I got lucky," he said. "It's usually tough to win out there."
Anuenue finished in 6:53.27, some 24 seconds ahead of Lanikai. It was the third consecutive year that Napoleon steered this crew to a win at Waikiki; the crew also won in 2003 as novice Bs and last year in their first novice A season.
"When we turned at the flag, I knew we just needed to catch a wave to do it," said Andy Cochran, the usual steersman who moved up to No. 5 yesterday. "David is a great steersman."
Napoleon's father, Nappy, and his two brothers, twins Aaron and Darren, also steered yesterday. Aaron and Darren had leads in their youth races, but hulied before the finish line.
Nappy Napoleon steered the boys 14 to a win. He had his victory in the mixed 55 thrown out due to a false start in the choppy conditions in Lane 1.
Of all the finishes, Lanikai's men's open 4 was the most entertaining. The crew crossed the line second with the canoe filled with water to the gunwales. The canoe swamped when the wave that steersman John Foti tried to stay on doubled up and broke on the canoe some 20 yards from the finish. The crew continued to paddle and finished 11 seconds behind Keahiakahoe and four seconds ahead of Leeward Kai.
"That was a first for me," Foti said. "I've come to the conclusion that it is probably not the best way to finish a race but we did it with pretty good style.
"You try to stay ahead of the white water but sometimes the waves are hard to predict. Today, you take it seriously but it's all about good fun."
Foti and brother Jim were part of the winning sophomore and senior men's crews. The senior event is considered the blue-ribbon race and the victors are toasted with a champagne poured into the Macfarlane Trophy, a silver loving cup.
"And champagne never tastes as good as when it comes in that silver cup," John Foti said.