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Running with the Big Dog

Nathaniel Long Distance Race Results – Moku O Hawaii

Nathaniel long distance race results

The last Moku O Hawaii sanctioned canoe race for 2012 was held on Saturday, Sept. 16 in Hilo. The Daniel Nathaniel Long Distance Canoe Race was sponsored by Kamehameha Canoe Club. Six person canoes raced a triangle course starting at Hilo bay, down towards Keaukaha, out toward Pepeekeo and back to Hilo bay.

Women’s and Mixed iron crews raced a distance of 12 miles, Men’s race was a distance of 14 miles. Results follow:

Women’s Open

1. Kamehameha 1, 1:51.19   2. Kamehameha 2, 1:55.08     3. Keaukaha, 1:55.29

4. Kilauea, 1:56.17    5. Kai Opua, 2:05.22         1. 40+ Na Wa`a Hanakahi, 2:11.50

Mix Open

1. Waikoloa 1, 1:46.23   2. Waikoloa 2, 1:51.58    3. Tui Tonga, 1:53.27

4. Na Wa`a Hanakahi, 1:54.44    5. Laka, 1:58.38

1. 40+ Hui Wa`a O Waiakea, 1:46.00   1. 55+ Lanakila, 2:03.53\  2. 55+ Keaukaha, 2:06.47

Men’s Open

1. Kai Opua, 1:54.45     2. Kamehameha, 1:57.14    3. Kai Ehitu, 1:59.05

4. Kai Opua, 2:00.11   5. Kai Ehitu, 2:00.36    6. Kilauea, 2:10.08

1. 40+ Keaukaha, 2:06.39      1. 55+ Laka, 2:12.11


October 3, 2012 Posted by | Canoe Racing | , , , , | Leave a comment

Moku O Hawaii Crews claim state titles

Keauhou Novice women do well - photo by Baron Sekiya

Keauhou Novice women do well - photo by Baron Sekiya

Big Island paddling crews were battling for state titles this past Saturday as the Hawaii Canoe Racing Association brought the show to Hilo Bay for the first time since 2002.

    Moku O Hawaii clubs did not disappoint the large home crowd as early on in the 39 race schedule the Puna Boys 16 captured the state championship paddling in lane 10 of the 14 lane competition.

   The six member crew made up of Hapa Aki, Keola Sumera-Lee, Kalae Ke III, Aimoku Johansen and brothers Luke and Lono Leasure-Lucas pulled in the first state title of the day for Puna Canoe Club crews.

    “It feels amazing to have won the state title,” Johansen said.  “You could feel everyone in the canoe pulling together and we all gave just a little extra today.”

Puna boys 14 placed 3rd at state
Puna boys 14 placed 3rd at state

Sumera-Lee was sitting in seat two behind the stroker, Aki, and believed that it was the power seats that helped lead the crew to victory.  “We have to keep up with the stroker and we were switching sides every 15 stokes.  The power boys really came through,” Sumera-Lee said.

   “We worked pretty hard during the season and four of us have been together for four years.  It is a perfect blend for us,” Ke III said.

    The four members of the state champion Puna 16 crew that Ke III was talking about – Aki, Sumera-Lee, Ke III and Lono Leasure-Lucas – were members of the boys 13 crew that won the state championship last year.

   The Puna women, Novice A, also came up big in winning their first state title.  Stroker, Michele Gunderson, set the pace and allowed the power women behind her to make the canoe fly.

Puna women, "backbone of team"
Puna women, “backbone of team”

“The last few races we just kept doing the same thing and we peaked at the right time, just like our coaches said would happen,” Gunderson said.

   “We really jelled as a crew and we talked before the race and got each other pumped up.  From the beginning our coaches told us we could win states.  We felt that we really had a chance and it came through,” she said.

   Gunderson was supported by power paddlers Kanani Yockman, Shannon Johnson, Aimee Kama, Rose Calumag, and steersman Cherie Kauahi.

   “It’s not how you start a season, but how you finish the season that matters,” Gunderson said.

    Defending Moku O Hawaii team champions, Kai Opua, grabbed state titles in the girls 16 and boys’ 15 division.

    Matelita Taumoefolau was ecstatic about her girls’ team title.  “I’ve been paddling every summer for the past four years,” she said.

   “Today we won with a totally different crew.  This was the first time we put this crew together, but we all knew we could bring the power,” Taumoefolau said.

   The Kai Opua girls won in the center of the field, lane 8, and Taumoefolau believes that the brisk wind changed the currents to help the outside lanes.

   Sitting in seat number five, Mia Mardikian, felt confident going into the race.  “We knew we were strong and could bring it on.  Our coaches really know us and they believed in us.  Today was about natural chemistry,” she said.

   Taumoefolau and Mardikian were aided by Zara Nicholson, Kamella Dowells, Kiinahe Amone and Ashley Gross.

   The winning Kai Opua boys 15 crew consisted of Marshall Castillon, Kainoa and Micah Tanoai, Conner Costales, Kaiwi Canda Alvarez and steersman Chase Vonnorheim.

   Tui Tonga pulled in a big win during the men’s Novice A, 1-mile race, when their crew of Jerome Slade, Joe Meheula, Earl Cox III, Daniel Chun, Daniel Demello and Andreas Gaeta took home the gold medal.

    “We got more heart than anyone else here,” said steersman, Gaeta, after the race.  “It comes down to heart and who wants it the most.  Today we raced against the best and we are the best.”

    Tui Tonga’s crew raced in lane 6 and Gaeta believes that the middle lanes were running perfectly.

   “We got lucky as we pulled it together at the half mile portion of the race.  The inside lanes were sticky at the turn, but we kicked it in really hard with a quarter mile to go,” Gaeta said.

   Keauhou also scored big wins in both the mixed and men’s Novice B (first year paddlers) Divisions.

   For the mixed winning crew the combination of Aaron Brown, Annet Rodriguez, Bobby Friedman, Paul Masci, Wrayra Fairchild and Kolina Chao finished the season on a high note.

     “The best part of paddling is being part of a team,” steersman, Rodriguez said.  “It’s stressful being the steersman because I don’t want to let anyone down.  I didn’t expect to win today, but we did it for one of our team members who is stricken with cancer, Delta Thompson.”

   “The entire team is behind him and his fight with cancer and we are all motivated to do well for him,” she said.

    Keauhou’s Novice B men also pulled out a state medal using Bart Blosser, Dan Chilton, Jeff Silva, Josh Holt, Justing Warren and Hana Cook.

   Silva, who steered the canoe, believed in the old adage of hard work.  “The harder your work the more it pays off in the end,” he said.

“I feel very comfortable in the water and used my knowledge of surfing to help steer the canoe in the changing currents.  Our crew was confident going into the race and they trusted me,” Silva said.

   “Today all our training and hard work paid off.  We were undefeated during the entire season if you don’t count the first race when we were disqualified,” Silva said with a grin.

   Keaukaha was not to be denied a state medal as they used their Girls 18 under crew to claim top honors.

    Three of their girls were part of the Pahoa High girls winning crew that made big news earlier in the year when they won a Big Island Interscholastic Federation title.

   Dagger girls Loke Picanco, Shayna Lynn Bertilacci and Beautiful Wilson combined with Kamehameha School paddlers Kiani Matsumoto, Kao Sutton and Shelby Picanco to capture a HCRA state title with Keaukaha Canoe Club.

   “There are so many good teams out here that we didn’t know how we were going to do coming into today. We were in lane 11 during the race and it felt smooth,” stroker Loke Picanco said.

    “We finished second to Kai Opua during the Moku championships and during the two weeks since we have been working very hard.  All the hard work paid off,” she said.

August 2, 2009 Posted by | Canoe Racing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Big Island Crews Looking to Win State Titles

Puna Canoe Club is hoping to pocket some age group titles.  Coach Afa Tuaolo, far left

Puna Canoe Club is hoping to pocket some age group titles. Coach Afa Tuaolo, far left

Several Big Island canoe paddling crews are hoping to come away with state titles on Saturday when the Hawaii Canoe Racing Association host the State Championships at Hilo Bay.

    The competition will draw some 3,000 paddlers representing 60 clubs from around the state.

The highly competitive event will mark the close of the regatta season for the various clubs before the long distance season opens in two weeks.

   Several Big Island crews will be looking to come away with state titles which include the Kawaihae girls 12, Puna boys 14, Kai Opua’s boys 18 and women’s open 4, and Keauhou’s mixed masters 40, 55 and 60 as well as senior men’s masters.

   Kai Opua dominated the Moku O Hawaii season, racking up 234 points to claim the team title over Puna (195) and Keauhou (166). 

    Kai Opua has moved up to the AAAA Division this year and will compete against the state’s top canoe paddling teams.

Puna boys 14 are undefeated
Puna boys 14 are undefeated

The teams to beat are perennial powerhouse, Hawaiian Canoe Club of Maui, defending state champion Lanikai and current Oahu Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association champion, Kaneohe.

   Puna’s head coach, Afa Tuaolo, is cautiously optimistic about his club doing well at states.  “We had a pretty good day at the island championships because we didn’t let mistakes hurt us,” he said.

   About 8,000 spectators and participants are expected to be at Hilo Bay on Saturday.  Opening ceremonies began at 8 a.m. with the first of 39 races to start at 9 a.m.


July 31, 2009 Posted by | Canoe Racing | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Puna Canoe Club captures 2nd in Island Championships

The women of Puna, consider the "backbone" of the club

The women of Puna, considered the "backbone" of the club

     Puna Canoe Club made some waves at the Moku O Hawaii Outrigger Canoe Racing Association’s Aunty Maile Big Island Championships held Saturday, at Hilo Bay finishing second overall in team standings.

     Puna head coach, Afa Tuaolo, used strategy in moving paddlers into various divisions to find the right combination to challenge for the team title.

    “We’re having a pretty good day as we haven’t let mistakes hurt us,” Tuaolo said. 

    Early in the day the Puna boys 14 got things rolling by capturing first place in what was a perfect season for the youngsters.

    The boys crew of Hapa Aki, Keola Sumera-Lee, Colby Nicolas, Kalae Ke III, Chance Agpoon and Lono Leasure-Lucas  capped off their unblemished season by capturing the Island championships.

   Aki, who sat in seat one and did the pacing setting for the canoe, was confident in pulling out the victory.  “We got out to a fast start by using long, hard strokes and I knew we were going to win,” he said.

   Keaau Middle School student, Leasure-Lucas, steered the canoe during the quarter mile race.  “I like being the steersman as I get to boss the crew around.  I tell them when to paddle hard, if their timing is off or if they’re looking around,” he said.

   But life as a young steersman isn’t always so easy.  “I accidently flipped the canoe right after we won our first race of the season and I got into trouble for doing that,” Lucas-Leasure said.

    Four members on the island championship crew, Aki, Sumera-Lee, Ke III and Leasure-Lucas helped capture the boys 13 state championship last year and are experienced under pressure.  The same four entered the boys 16 and were joined by Leasure-Lucas brother, Luke, along with Aimoku Johansen and another gold medal.

      “In the 16 race we do a half-mile and there is only one turn,” steersman Lono Leasure-Lucas said.  “We have raced with this crew four other times and never lost.”

    Boys coach, Joe Kalima, had high praise for his youngsters.  “They have a good chance of repeating for the state title if they stay together and paddle as one,” he said.

    “These boys work hard and they will get together on their days off to work on other things in order to perfect their unity,” Kalima said.

    Puna had a big win from their novice and sophomore women’s crews led by stroker, Michele Gunderson and steersman, Cherie Kauahi.

   “The women’s program is really strong,” Gunderson said.  “We break down our strokes and get out fast in the beginning.  We make the strokes longer and deeper as we reach out.  Our coaches work on us blending together.”

   Kauahi, who is in her third year of paddling felt stressed steering the canoe.  “It’s a very stressful seat, but when it works out its rewarding,” she said.

    “I think the turns were good today, but the coaches will tell us later what they thought,” Kauahi said.

    Puna won the Novice A women event using Gunderson, Kauahi, Shannon Johnson, Rose Calumag, Kanani Yockman and Aimee Kama, then returned later to win the women’s sophomore race by switching out Kama and using Raina Santos.

   “The Novice race was a half-mile and the sophomore race 1-mile,” Gunderson said.  “The stroke count changes slightly in the two races, but basically we try to get out fast and continue to use a deep stroke, not top water.”

   “Statistically, the women are the backbone of Puna,” said paddler, Leilani Norman.

    Norman may have been correct as later in the day the Senior Women were notching another victory for Puna.

    “This is the longest race for the women in the regatta,” paddler and women’s coach, Cherisse Agorastos said. 

    “We only do this race during the island and state championships and it’s one and half-mile long,” she said.  “Lane one is running pretty nice and we like being in that position as it allows us to take the turn wide, which makes a big difference.”

    Head coach, Afa Tuaolo echoed the same idea about lane choice.  “Lanes often depends on the tide, if it’s dropping then (lanes) three and up gets kind of sticky.” “Inside lanes always going to do well at Hilo Bay,” he said.

    Tuaolo’s master’s men went on to win the one-mile race with Tuaolo sitting in the number two seat.  “We just kind of got this group together and when we first got this crew in the canoe it just felt good,” Tuaolo said of his master’s crew victory.

   “Our steersman, Bryan Peterson, did a good job and deserves a lot of credit along with the other guys in the canoe,” Tuaolo said.  “We hit between 75 to 80 strokes at the start and during the race stayed between 60 to 65.  We use a semi traditional Hawaiian stroke with everything up front.”

   The women are doing good today,” Tuaolo said.  “We were hoping to finish in the top three for team standings and it looks like we’re going to do that today.”

   Tuaolo’s wife, Beverly, also sat in the number two seat in helping her Senior Master’s Women to victory.  “Everything came together today.  It was our last chance to make it happen,” she said.

   Puna went on to win the final two events of the day, the open 4 men and the mixed open, to finish second overall in team standings.

July 20, 2009 Posted by | Canoe Racing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Canoe Paddling Championships Today

Puna Canoe Club will challenge for title today

Puna Canoe Club will challenge for title today

Big Island Canoe Paddling Championships Today

     The Moku O Hawaii Outrigger Canoe Racing Association’s Aunty Maile Big Island Championships are being held today, Saturday, at Hilo Bay.

     This morning kicks off with an 8 a.m. blessing followed by a special race for the youth alternate paddlers.

     The daylong event will feature 15 canoe clubs featured in 40 races which officially start with the girls 12 event.

The state championships will be held at Hilo Bay on August 1st.

    Defending team champion, Kai Opua, under head coach Eddie Hayward is the heavy favorite going into today’s championship.

    Kai Opua is expected to fight off strong challenges from Keauhou and Puna in what should be an exciting 15-club title race.

    Puna Canoe Club’s head coach, Afa Tuaolo, showcases a boys 14 crew which is undefeated on the regular season.

July 18, 2009 Posted by | Canoe Racing | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment