West Maui paddlers compete at state regatta
LAHAINA – The effects of Tropical Storm Darby lingered through last week, as the heavy rains and winds of the severe weather system wreaked havoc on the final events of the 2016 inshore regatta season for canoe paddlers across the state.
Here on the Valley Isle, the Maui County Hawaiian Canoe Association’s championship regatta, scheduled for the weekend that Darby lashed the islands on July 23, was cancelled due to the storm, and the state championship event at Keehi Lagoon on Oahu last Saturday was on hold as a result of brown water runoff dangers at the venue.
A sketchy “okay” for the site on the south shore of the island was issued midweek that advised participants in the regatta to wear booties, use feet washing stations at the site and to seek first aid attention if needed at the venue’s stations.
Despite this cautionary, tentative demeanor of state Department of Health officials, the go-ahead signal sent Kahana Canoe Club and Napili Canoe Club into an all systems go mode to get qualifying crews to the Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association (HCRA) State Championships last Saturday.
After finishing the season in sixth place in the MCHCA team standings, the Green and Purple from KCC sent four crews to the state event, including county champion Novice A Women, second seeds Novice B Women and Novice A Men, and Senior Women.
Kahana’s undefeated Novice A Women crew is made up of Jenna Hunter, Analise Farmer, Desiree Deter, Genivieve Ruvald, Jessica Lancar and Stephanie Brunelle.
For Napili, which took fourth place here on Maui in the regular season, it was a keiki charge to Keehi Lagoon, as seven of the nine crews for the Black and Gold came from the youth lineups coached by Joey Tihada.
They were led by the MCHCA champion 12 A Boys, 14 Girls, and the Mixed Boys and Girls. Second seeds included the 12 Girls, 13 Girls, 13 Boys, 14 Girls, 18 Girls, as well as the Novice A Women and 40 Men crews.
The 12 A Boys champion lineup included Treven Tihada, Matthew Rubio, Austin Panlasigui, Joshua Tihada and Kawaiola Kauhane.
The NCC 14 Girls crew consisted of Makena Ferdolage, Dakota Delos Reyes, Lexe Orcia, Iwa Louise Bryan, Linalyn Criste, Ana Kobatake, Leticia Ii, Kamauliola Medeiros, Noe Keahi and Kaohu Palakiko.
Napili’s Mixed Boys and Girls team was made up of Kayley Baricuatro, Victoria Decoite Wilsey, Anninias Spradlin, Nalu Sampson, Ana Lukela Kobatake and Justice Tihada.
“Hopefully, we can do alright in the championships. A couple of those kids’ crews would have been the favorites going to states, but due to prior commitments, they were not at full strength over there,” said Coach Joey leading into last week’s event. “I’m sure they will all do well.”
Next door down at Canoe Beach, Kahana spokesperson Diane Delos Reyes added that the club’s adult crews were ready to go.
At the HCRA State Championship Regatta, Kahana’s Novice B Women and Novice A Women won gold medals, along with Napili Canoe Club’s Half-Mile Open crew of Kapena Bugarin, Bubba Kukahiko, Kona Maielua, Jolene Giles, Theresa Marzan and Danae Marin.