LAHAINA — All sports teams enjoy the familiarity of playing on home turf, and for paddling it’s no different. For West Maui’s three canoe clubs, the Kamehameha Regatta was this season’s first opportunity to compete in the waters we all know best.
The conditions were good at Hanakao‘o (Canoe) Beach. It was a beautiful day, peppered only with occasional trade winds and the odd strong gusts. The shorebreak made itself known from time to time but with no incidents and far less noticeable than earlier in the week, which was huge with our last south swell. We were also lucky with the disappearance of rocks, which tend to come and go in large quantities and can make launching and landing wa‘a a little tricky.
The second event of the Maui County Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association (MCHCA) season, hosted by Wailea Canoe Club, held bright starts for keiki crews from both Lahaina and Napili. Napili’s Girls 12B won third place in their sprint, and Lahaina’s Boys 12B (Ren Kitaichi, Jacob “Jake” Kuiper, Chris Salunga-Kahaialii, Anis Bel, Agustin Lara and Kainoa Reponte) registered their second consecutive first-place finish in a time of 2:12:51. Napili’s crew finished third in the same race.
Napili’s 12A girls (Tavi Viela, Andilyn Alavazo, Kealahooipoleimaile Cabanilla, Lina Nolan-Criste, Noe Keahi, Devina Vasquez) continued to rack up points for their club, winning in a time of 2:18:55. NCC’s Boys 12A also won a point with a fourth-place finish, and the Mixed 12 crew took second in their race.
NCC’s Girls 13 dominated in their division again; Diamond Freitas, Hailani Keahi-Ng, Kehau Lani Brown, Courtney Ruidas, Christy Mae Ruidas and Carly Jaramillo finished in 2:08:06, a full 11 seconds ahead of Lae ‘Ula O Kai in second.
The club in black and yellow went on to take 15 points from their remaining quarter-mile sprints, with placings in the Boys 13, Girls and Boys 14, Women’s Novice B and Mixed Novice B races.
Lahaina’s Girls 13 won a point for their club, as did the Mixed Novice Bs. Kahana Canoe Club’s Novice B Women was the first crew to win points for their club again on Saturday with a third-place finish and a time of 2:21:89.
The points continued to roll in for Napili. Their Girls 15 (Jordan Ruidas, Chelsey Erickson-Vierra, Kanoe Delatori, Aloha Kaaihue-Ah Puck, Tricia Kama and Kaliko Pasco-Dusenberry) team took first in a time of 4:40:89. The Boys 15 notched third, with Lahaina’s Boys behind them in fourth. Napili’s Girls 16 and Kahana’s Girls 18 both took fourth in their races. Napili and Kahana’s Mixed 18 took third and fourth place, respectively, and Napili’s Boys 18 took third in their mile-long race.
Lahaina’s Novice A Women came in third in their half-mile course, and Napili’s Novice B Men registered second for their club as Lahaina came in fourth.
Kahana started to gather momentum in the half-mile races; their Men’s 60 took second place in event 23 with a time of 4:24:00. The team in green also took fourth place in the Mens 55, second place in the Mens 50, third in the Mixed 55-plus, third in the Mixed 60-plus, fourth in the Women’s Open Four and a fourth in the Mixed 40.
Kahana also took third in the Freshmen Men, fourth in Sophomore Women, and third in Sophomore Men — all one-mile races. Kahana’s Junior Women (Kristina Dougherty, Dawnalyn Fujiwara, Danielle Kuck, Emily Janchevis, Lani Kane and Chistina Yorkey) came out on top in their sprint with a time of 8:28.30, a massive 29 seconds ahead of second-placed Hawaiian Canoe Club. The same crew also won first place and five points for their club in the one-and-a-half-mile Open Women race with a time of 13:49.99. Their Men’s Open also did well with a third place finish.
In their mile-long sprint, Napili’s Women’s 40 came in fourth, as did their Men’s Novice A crew. Napili’s Junior Men won silver and three points for their hale with a second-place finish in their race.
Lahaina’s Men’s Novice A (Mone Mamao, Eric Bruner, Michael Rains, Seth MacCarter, Chris Gamache and Jordan Johnson) returned to last season’s form in first place, registering a time of 7:41:54 in their closely fought one-mile sprint. LCC’s Men’s 40 (Geoff Bogar, Spud Lenhardt, Patrick Grady, Adam Quinn, Mark Shimer and Alan Kuiper) also took first place with a time of 7:44:08.
The season’s second regatta ended with Hawaiian Canoe Club leading the pack with 135 points (season standings of 274), with Lae ‘Ula O Kai in second with 75 (146), Kihei third with 57 (112), Napili leading the West Side charge with 54 (111), Wailea with 41 (77), Kahana with 36 (75), Na Kai Ewalu at 35 (66), Lahaina with 21 (40) and Hana winning nine (19).
Eyes are now on the season’s third regatta, the Dougie Tihada Memorial, which will be hosted by Napili on June 18. I’ll be back with more news from Canoe Beach next week. Until then, Imua Kahana, Imua Lahaina, Imua Napili!