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Keahiakahoe joins list of winners

By Kyle Sakamoto / Special to the Star-Advertiser

LAST UPDATED: 10:29 p.m. HST, Aug 5, 2011

Keahiakahoe experienced the thrill of victory for the first time this season with Kailua and Anuenue also claiming a division title Sunday during the Oahu Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association's Leeward Kai Father's Day Regatta.

But amid their triumphs, there also was an unfortunate incident at Nanakuli Beach Park.

Honolulu Pearl had its koa canoe destroyed after it got caught in a wave and slammed into the sand during the women's novice A race (event No. 18). The canoe was paddling across the finish line in lane 11, turned sideways and flipped while crashing to the sand. The canoe was split in half near the front.

"When I saw them carry the canoe out, my heart just dropped," said Keahiakahoe president Stan Dickson. "It's really unfortunate because everybody treasures their koa canoe. That's part of your family, part of your club. Koa canoes mean everything to us in paddling."

The paddler in seat 1 had an injury to her right shoulder/back area and was taken away by ambulance, and the paddler in seat 2 was treated on shore for cuts to her legs.

Sunday's regatta was one of two OHCRA events this season where canoes start just offshore and travel straight out to sea and back. In the other regattas, the canoes travel parallel to the shoreline.

Shortly after Sunday's accident, lanes 10-12 — the ones farthest right — were closed because of rough conditions.

Keahiakahoe won the girls 12, boys 13, women junior and mixed masters 55 races Sunday in claiming the AA division (14-26 crews) with 36 points. Hui Lanakila finished second with 34 and Leeward Kai placed third with 29.

"I'm happily surprised because Hui Lanakila had won the AA division (the first two weeks), so that's a big plus for us," said Dickson, the Keahiakahoe president. "We got contributions from different levels in our club — kids, masters and open divisions."

The mixed masters 55 race was the 40th of 42 events. Keahiakahoe finished the half-mile race in 4:31.77 — 10 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher.

Members of Keahiakahoe's winning crew were Audrey Lee, Linda Kaiser, Monica Decosta, Loka Lii, Raymond Lii and Keith Kaleo.

"The 55 mixed came in first and they took us over the top," Dickson said. "So far, I don't want to bachi it, they've won all their races. They have a strong crew."

Kailua, which won a regatta-high 10 races, finished with 95 points to win the AAA Division (27-39 crews) for the third consecutive week. Lanikai, which won nine, was second with 89 and Hui Nalu third with 68. Anuenue claimed the A division (13 or fewer crews) with nine points. Waimanalo was second with seven and Keola O Ke Kai came in third with three.

Sixteen clubs competed with points awarded on a 5-3-2-1 basis.

Lanikai won the 1½-mile men's senior race for the third consecutive week, crossing the finish line in 10:59.68. Hui Lanakila was second in 11:09.33 and Kailua third in 11:25.26.

Members of Lanikai's winning crew were: Kekoa Bruhn, John Foti, Ryan Dolan, Aaron Creps, Justin Akana and Jim Foti.

"As usual they put out a tremendous race," said Lanikai men's assistant coach Ray Lum. "We try to change the crews around every once in a while, and regardless of who we use they perform well together."

Lum added there are currently eight paddlers in the rotation for Lanikai's men's senior crew, and he'd like it to eventually reach 10-12.

Hui Lanakila won the 1½-mile women's senior race for the second consecutive week, finishing in 12:47.69. Outrigger placed second in 13:01.67 and Lanikai came in third in 13:08.23.

Members of Hui Lanakila's winning crew were Arlene Holzman, Ally Sokei, Judy Decorte, Lori Nakamura, Pauahi Ioane and Clementine Benemerito.

"It's actually surprising week after week we keep winning," Holzman said. "We kind of go into the senior race with no expectations and just paddle our best and whatever happens, happens. So it's a pleasant surprise we do well."

OHCRA's next event is the Waimanalo Beach Regatta on Sunday at Waimanalo Beach Park.

Kaneohe a winner

Kaneohe (66 points) won the AAA division of Na Ohana O Na Hui Wa‘a's Lokahi Regatta on Sunday at Keehi Lagoon. The Waikiki Beach Boys (49) won the AA division, while Kamehameha (26) took the A division.

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