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Small club Kamehameha gets it done

By Kyle Sakamoto

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

Kamehameha is a small canoe club putting up rather big point totals during Na Ohana O Na Hui Wa‘a's regatta season.

Kamehameha scored 25 points to win the A division of the Koa Kai Canoe Club Regatta on Sunday at Keehi Lagoon. It was Kamehameha's fifth consecutive victory.

"Today wasn't one of our best days, but we still got it done," said Kamehameha head coach Sam Ahai. "All the other clubs are getting better, so we have to step it up ourselves. I'm pleased with what they did today."

Kamehameha isn't associated with the school atop Kapalama Heights. In fact, most of the club's youth paddlers are from Pac-Five, a conglomerate of other Oahu private schools who compete together in athletics.

Ahai and two family members coach Pac-Five during the school year and the Kamehameha Canoe Club during the summer. His son Adam Ahai is the Wolfpack boys coach and nephew David Ahia is the Wolfpack girls coach.

"It's really great because you know your coach already, so you're comfortable, you're in your zone," said Amayehi Dearmore, who paddled on Kamehameha's winning girls 18 crew on Sunday.

Kamehameha has averaged 29.8 points during the last five regattas. Only five clubs — three in AAA and two in AA — have had a higher average point total during that span.

There are three clubs in the AAA division (25-39 crews); seven in the AA division (13-24); and nine in the A division (6-12 crews).

"It's a lot of dedication from the people we have this year," said Sam Ahai, the head coach. "That makes a difference. A lot of our crews they paddle with us in high school, so they have a lot of experience."

According to Sam Ahia, there are 27 Kamehameha girls paddlers, with the majority from Hawaii Baptist and La Pietra. He added that there are nine boys paddlers who come primarily from Assets, Hawaii Baptist and Lutheran.

Kamehameha won the women novice B, girls 16 and girls 18 races Sunday. Finishing in a tie for second in the A division were Kalihi Kai and Olelo O Keola with 18 points.

Na Keiki O Ka Moi, which won six races, took the AAA division with 59 points. Kaneohe, which also won six events, was second with 53 and Manu O Ke Kai third with 39.

Waikiki Beach Boys, which won seven races, claimed the AA division with 49 points, Lokahi was second with 38 and Ka Mamalahoe placed third with 32.

There were 39 events Sunday, with points awarded on a 5-3-2-1 basis.

Manu O Ke Kai won the 1½-mile men's senior race for the third consecutive time, finishing in 11:20.67. Kaneohe finished second in 11:46.14 and Waikiki Beach Boys placed third in12:01.29.

Members of Manu O Ke Kai's winning crew were Ben Wilkinson, Joseph O'Malley, Robert Pactol, Glenn Williams, Moku Sanborn and Paki Lagunte.

"The start wasn't as great as it could've been for us, but we just knuckled down and got into our groove," Wilkinson said. "We knew we would get them upwind."

Waikiki Beach Boys dominated the 1½-mile women's senior race for the fifth consecutive time, finishing in 12:33.90. Lokahi came in second in 14:19.74 and Waikiki Yacht Club was third in 14:21.32.

Members of Waikiki Beach Boys' winning crew were Jen Polcer, Andrea Messer, Dana Gorecki, Frances Lichowski, Lindsey Shank and Kaui Pelekane.

The Waikiki Beach Boys are rotating 11 or 12 paddlers into the women's senior crew this season, according to Pelekane, using the entire season as a tuneup for the 41-mile Na Wahine O Ke Kai (Molokai to Oahu race) in late September.

"The senior race is kind of the race of the day, the prestigious race of the day, so it's always nice to win it," said Pelekane, the steersman. "We come out here, we want to win, but our long-term goal is the Molokai Channel."

Na Ohana O Na Hui Wa‘a's next event is the Na Keiki O Ka Moi Regatta on Sunday at Maili Beach Park.

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