JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Kaneohe Canoe Club's men's novice A crew finished strong but fell short, finishing second to Lokahi.
3-peat for Kaneohe
as Hui Wa’a champ
The Windward club again
dominates at Keehi Lagoon
By Kyle Galdeira
Special to the Star-Bulletin
The sandbars in Kaneohe Bay will be overrun with barbecues and joyful paddlers gathered in celebration of Kaneohe Canoe Club's third straight Na 'Ohana O Na Hui Wa'a title.
The club blew away the competition yesterday at blustery Keehi Lagoon, finishing with 96 points in the AAA Division (25-plus crews). Lokahi finished second with 63 points, followed by Manu O Ke Kai (39) and Na Keiki O Ka Mo'i (36).
"We're blessed to pull through," said Kaneohe head coach Clint Anderson, who took home Coach of the Year honors. "Lokahi started off good and clean, but we came back ... plugging in points after points."
Kaneohe won 13 races, with nine coming in the first 13 events. After 23 events, the club had already earned 83 points.
"Everybody got psyched out, and we wanted to keep our title," said Bobby Pratt, a member of Kaneohe's boys 16 crew, which won its race in 4 minutes, 4.74 seconds, completing an undefeated season in the process.
"We got to know each other's strengths and weaknesses, and we built on that," he said. "Everybody did their share."
The other crew members were: Kainoa Ibarra, Safea Kahiapo, Kelsin Alimoot, Keoni Anderson and Dane Kimokeo.
The men's senior crew from Manu O Ke Kai also wrapped up an undefeated season, finishing their 1 1/2-mile race in 11:37.92.
"(The club) had hard luck in the first few races today, so we had to make it up by winning this one," said crew member Bobo Tantog. "It's a good accomplishment. That was the race of all races against the best from every club."
The crew also included: Bonga Perkins, Charlie Tantog, Tomas Schlotman, Greg White and Moku Sanborn.
Koa Kai claimed the AA Division (13-24 crews) with 29 points, followed by Alapa Hoe with 24 points and Ka Mamalahoe and Kamehameha, which tied for third place with 12 points apiece.
JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
The Waikiki Beach Boys senior women celebrated their perfect season yesterday at the Hui Wa'a Championships.
The Waikiki Beach Boys won the A Division (6-12 crews) easily, compiling 40 points and winning seven races. The club, which was named Club of the Year, would have finished in third place in the AAA Division if they had entered enough crews to qualify for that classification.
The Beach Boys freshmen and senior women were victorious yet again, and both completed perfect seasons.
"Within the last month, a handful of girls have trained seven days a week, and most of us have been doing cross-training all season long," said Dana Gorecki, who participated in both Beach Boys victories. "Hopefully it's paying off to have worked so hard. If we do a race, we push ourselves to be amongst the top finishers."
The freshmen men's crew from the Beach Boys started the day trailing Manu O Ke Kai by one point in the cumulative standings. The Beach Boys won the race and vaulted into first place for the season.
"This is a relatively young program, so it feels good to be up there," said Beach Boys men's coach Owen Cenal. "I can definitely say that the men's program is on the rise."
The crew members were: Victor Agostini, Scott Hall, Patrick Nguyen, Franco Arango, Brian Barlag and Cenal.
"Having a small club gives us more cohesiveness and pushes us," said Barlag. "A lot of us get together outside of practice and train together."
There were two other victorious crews that completed the season undefeated: Kaneohe women's senior masters; and Lokahi men's novice B.
According to Tambry Young, vice president of Hui Wa'a, there were no reports of any jellyfish stings, which were a problem earlier in the season. Young said that the small, stinging creatures might appear seasonally, so the organization will monitor the lagoon before next season's first regatta.
Up next for those crews that qualified is the Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association State Championships on Aug. 6 at Hanaka'o'o Beach, Maui.
"States is going to be tough," said Anderson. "The only thing you can do is try your best."