Kainoa Higgins of Hui Nalu's men's freshmen crew hugged coach Reney Ching, left. Behind was crew member Brett Fee.

Hui Nalu golden in
Kaupiko regatta

The club tops Kailua and Hui Lanakila
in OHCRA’s return to Keehi Lagoon

The Hui Nalu Canoe Club accomplished its season-long goal by winning its own John D. Kaupiko Memorial Regatta yesterday at Keehi Lagoon.

The club scored 78 points in the AA Division, followed by Kailua (68), Hui Lanakila (60) and Lanikai (59).

"It was hard work, but we did it as a club," said head coach Reney Ching, who set the goal of winning the Kaupiko Regatta in a coaches meeting at the beginning of the season. "Our club has been on a training program, and together, our goal was to emphasize good technique and good paddling."

This Oahu Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association regatta marked the organization's first race at Keehi Lagoon since paddling was suspended after a June 5 regatta due to the presence of tiny, stinging jellyfish in the water.

Yesterday, there were only a few reported jellyfish stings throughout the day -- by boatholders who were treading water in the lanes furthest from shore and in line with the mouth of the river feeding the lagoon, where scientists reported the highest concentration of jellyfish.

To be safe, the boatholders lathered on a lotion that protected against both jellyfish stings and sunburn.

"The lotion is really just a precaution, but everybody has told me things are good, and that's great news" said Hui Nalu boatholder Art Garcia.

Hui Nalu's junior men came out on top of their race, finishing in 7 minutes, 28.02 seconds. According to crew member Jay Rea, they were "due for a first-place finish" after battling with Outrigger and Lanikai throughout the season.

"It's a bit of a chess match," fellow crew member Greg Edwards said. "You don't know what to expect until you get out there and see the other crews lining up. We're just stoked to win at our club's regatta, and it gives (the win) extra emphasis."

Kailua's women's senior crew made the 1-mile turn during yesterday's regatta at Keehi Lagoon.

Lanikai claimed the sophomore men's race in 6:59.82, thanks in part to Andrew Penny, who paddled in the race after competing in the Tinman Triathlon earlier in the day. The event included a 750-meter swim, 40-kilometer bike ride and 10-kilometer run.

"It was a good warm-up for me," Penny said. "It was nice to start the day with something different, because I was done with the triathlon by the time I usually wake up on Sunday mornings. Training for the Tinman helped with my conditioning, and the cross-training was advantageous for paddling."

"The course itself is probably one of the best on Oahu in regards to the start, judging and the conditions," added Penny. "It's nice and calm and isn't subjected to the big ocean swells at the other venues."

Hui Lanakila's junior women won their event in 8:31.89, going 5-0 for the season.

"We always go out to win," Jennifer Pollard said. "You have to go out each week prepared and ready to work hard, and approach every race with 110 percent effort."

Waimanalo claimed the A Division with 11 points. Makaha finished second with eight points and Anuenue came in third with five.

Waimanalo was aided by its men's 55 crew, which remained unbeaten this season. The crew's winning time was 3:53.60.

"The people I paddle with are so giving, and we all share a positive attitude," said Waimanalo stroker, Miner Li'i. "We have a great team effort, and I can rely on the guys behind me providing the power. Praise the Lord!"

In addition to winning the race, Waimanalo received the Myron "Pinky" Thompson trophy, which is given by Hui Nalu to the winner of the men's 55 race in honor of their late founder.

"(The regatta) is part of our club's responsibility, and it's a special race because Hui Nalu is the oldest canoe club, so we have a legacy of great leaders, the greatest being my father," said Myron's son Nainoa Thompson, master navigator of the voyaging canoe Hokule'a, and a Hui Nalu paddler. "It's not about winning, but rather fulfilling my father's goal of raising better communities through culture and social services. My father is my hero."

Next up for OHCRA is the Oahu Championships on Sunday at Keehi Lagoon. Racing starts at 8:30 a.m.

Hui Wa'a at Waikiki: Results from the Hui Wa'a regatta at Waikiki Beach yesterday were not received.

The Hui Wa'a championships are Saturday, also at Keehi Lagoon.

| | |
E-mail to Sports Desk


© Honolulu Star-Bulletin -- https://archives.starbulletin.com