JAMM AQUINO JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Manu O Ke Kai won its sixth straight 1 1/2-mile men's senior event yesterday with a time of 11:55.68.
Kaneohe kids continue
club’s winning ways
Kaneohe Canoe Club claimed yet another Na Ohana O Na Hui Wa'a victory by winning the Na Keiki O Ka Moi Regatta held at Maili Beach yesterday. The overall title was Kaneohe's fifth in six regattas so far this season.
Kaneohe earned 67 points in the AAA Division (25-plus crews) followed by Lokahi (58) and Manu O Ke Kai (56).
"Every week the young kids build up a lot of points," said Kaneohe assistant coach Roy Anderson. "Lots of the adults either came late or were sick today, so we had to rely on our kids to bring in a lot of points."
Kaneohe earned 65 of its points in the first 24 events, which include the children and novice races, and picked up just two points in the final 12 races.
"It was more mellow out there than the last race (at Waimanalo)," said Kaipueo Gerona of Kaneohe's men's novice A crew, which won in 7 minutes, 55.82 seconds. Kaneohe finished less than a second ahead of the crew from Koa Kai, the winner of last week's race.
"It's a competition between us (and Koa Kai) every week," said Gerona. "We go back and forth, and swap first-place finishes."
The other crew members were Jr. Pecpec, Mel Diaz, Eric Moncrifee, Jr. Cayaban and Brisan Kalahiki.
The senior men's from Manu O Ke Kai won its sixth straight race, finishing the 1.5-mile course in 11:55.68.
"We just blend together really well, and we know how each other paddles," said steersman Moku Sanborn. "We had some bumps coming in (toward shore) which helped us move a little faster, but the hardest thing was the turns. I went a little wider and called the uni (to pull the canoe around the flag) earlier."
The crew also included Bobo and Charlie Tantog, Greg Wright, Bonga Perkins and Brian Amantiad.
Koa Kai won the AA Division (13-plus crews) easily with 40 points. Waikiki Yacht Club came in second with 17 points, followed by Alapa Hoe with 13.
The Waikiki Beach Boys continued their dominance in both the freshmen and senior women's races as both crews won for the sixth time this season.
"It was much easier from a steering perspective, and it was a challenge for the crew to use the bumps to our advantage," said steersman Sue Brown, who guided both crews."
The freshmen crew finished the mile-long race in 8:46.67 and was composed of Stacy Shepard, Erin Offenhauser, Pamela Kane, Christina Hogatt and Johanna Pfannenstiel.
In the senior race, the crew had to keep the canoe stable after a wave bumped the ama and almost caused the boat to huli.
"A wave came and popped our ama, so that made us focus on trying to stay in the boat," Brown said. "I dropped the steering blade, but luckily I had an extra one. Fortunately, on the way back into shore, we found the blade."
Kelsa Teeters, Valerie Hershey, Dana Gorecki, Andrea Messer and Kane, who competed in both races, rounded out the senior crew, which finished in 13:12.32.
Beach Boys head coach Sean Monahan was impressed by the performances of his crews and is pleased with their continued success.
"I've been really stoked," he said. "They're all working really hard, and it's paying off. Our main goal is to do well in the distance season, but it's good to have this group of girls that is motivated. Every single girl who paddles with us, except for the steersmen, has learned to paddle within this club."
As host club for the regatta, Na Keiki O Ka Moi Canoe Club used the event to help raise money for the victims of the tsunami that struck Southeast Asia last December. The club sold T-shirts with a design created by paddler and artist Joe Momoa and will donate a portion of the money to the Southeast Asia Tsunami Relief Fund.
The design incorporates six flags, which represent the six nations devastated by the tsunami, as well as canoe paddlers who are shown assisting in pulling the nations out of the wave.
"We have an outstanding club, and everybody is participating," said club vice president Julia Marte. "We want the kids to learn their kuleana (responsibilities) including taking care of one another and keeping the aina clean."
The next regatta is held Sunday at Waikiki Beach. The points earned from the invitational event will not count toward qualifying for the state championships.
Hui Wa'a vice president Tambry Young said the organization is optimistic that races will return to Keehi Lagoon in time for the Hui Wa'a Championships scheduled for July 23.