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Kailua takes OHCRA title

Club holds off Hui Nalu in the AAA division thanks to few mistakes in the water

By Kyle Sakamoto

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

The Kailua Canoe Club appears to be over the doldrums and back to full speed ahead.

Kailua scored 106 points to easily win the AAA division of the Oahu Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association Championships on Sunday at Keehi Lagoon.

Kailua won the first three regattas of the season with an average of 98 points. Neighboring canoe club Lanikai claimed the next three regattas, with Kailua averaging just 79.3 points.

"This is our goal race for the year and I'm just really grateful for the coaches and the paddlers that have worked so hard all season to make it happen," said Kailua coach Kathy Erwin.

Hui Nalu, which won a regatta-high 12 events, finished second in the AAA division (27-39 crews) with 87 points and Lanikai, the winner of nine events, was a close third with 85.

"It seemed like it's whoever makes the fewest mistakes," Erwin said. "We were so lucky today to have a pretty much DQ-free race. When everyone is that close, it's the details that make the difference."

Hui Lanakila won the AA division (14-26) with 32 points, followed by Keahiakahoe with 30 and Leeward Kai with 23.

Waikiki Surf Club won the A division (13 fewer) with seven points, followed by Waimanalo with four, and Kai Oni and Anuenue, who both had two.

There were 42 events, with points awarded on a 5-3-2-1 basis.

Kailua won the girls, women novice B, mixed novice B, men novice B, boys 16, men novice A, women masters 65, men masters 65, women golden masters 55, men golden masters 55 and women masters 40 races.

The Kailua men golden masters 55 crew finished the season 7-0. Kailua won the half-mile race in 3:51.71. Hui Nalu finished second in 4:00.46 and Keahiakahoe placed third in 4:04.47.

Members of Kailua's winning crew were Walter Hamasaki, Kamoa Kalama, Nyle Warinner, Clifford Tillotson, Pat Erwin and Mike McCue.

Four of the six paddlers won a state championship in the men senior masters 50 division last year.

"We were paddling the 50 division the last four years and most of us moved up to 55 this year," Warinner said.

A majority of the crew also paddles in distance races, and has made trips to Australia and Catalina Island to compete, he added.

The Lanikai men senior crew also completed a perfect season.

Lanikai won its 1½-mile race in 10:44.88. Hui Lanakila crossed second in 11:01.74 and Outrigger came in third in 11:08.86.

Members of Lanikai's winning crew were Jack Roney, Jesse Hampton, John Foti, Michael Beyer, Aaron Creps and Jim Foti.

"Everyone's there for practice and everyone comes to expect something from each other, and each person comes through," Beyer said.

Lanikai has rotated 12 paddlers into the men senior canoe this season, according to Beyer.

"It's a great accomplishment, and what's even more satisfying is each time we race we've had different people in there and still coming out on top," he said.

The Hui Lanakila women sophomore crew fell short in its bid for an undefeated season, finishing second behind Hui Nalu in the 1-mile race. Hui Nalu, which finished second or third in the six previous regattas, finished Sunday's race in 8:04.95. Hui Lanakila crossed in 8:10.34 and Outrigger was third in 8:16.06.

Hui Nalu won the 1½-mile women senior race for the second consecutive time, finishing in 12:57.63. Outrigger placed second in 13:00.96 and Hui Lanakila finished third in 13:16.75.

Members of Hui Nalu's winning crew were Claire Townsend, Leslie Fabish, Madi Minkel, Kelly Fey, Jaimie Kinard and Denise Darval-Chang.

"We've been working hard all season, so it's good to finally blend together, come together and get a good combination," Minkel said. "It's good to win this last race before we go to states. We want to go to states on a good foot with a strong crew."

The top four OHCRA crews in each of the 42 events qualify for the Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association State Championship on Aug. 6 on Maui. The placings were based on finishes from six of the seven regattas this season. will provide real time results on-line from Maui for the HCRA State Championship.

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