WAILUA — Kapa‘a finished with the most points, but the day belonged to Kula Saturday.
Kula varsity squads swept all three of the finals events to walk off with top honors after holding off strong challenges by the Kapa‘a teams in all three main events.
Kula girls, falling to the Warrior wahine in the qualifying heats, eked out top honors in the finals with a 4:11.05 finish over Kapa‘a’s 4:12.39 crossing.
In the preliminaries, the Warrior wahine had a 4:09.11 paddle over the yellowshirts’ 4:10.93 journey through the 1/2-mile course.
Similarly, in the boys varsity competition, Kula, finishing 3:38.78 in the qualifying heats, slashed their time by almost two seconds with a 3:36.88 paddle in the finals. Kapa‘a boys, 3:38.05 in the qualifying heats, finished second in the finals at 3:45.41.
Kula cruised to a top finish in the varsity mixed race with a 3:53.90 finish, handily getting past the Warriors crossing of 3:59.98. Kaua‘i, getting second in the qualifiers at 3:52.13, slowed to 4:04.27 and third place in the finals.
Kaua‘i’s varsity girls also settled at third place in the finals of that event with a 4:20.99 paddle.
The Raiders dominated the JV races with top finishes in the JV Girls and JV Mixed, but could only muster a second finish in the Varsity Mixed points to settle for 21 points overall and second place in the points standing.
Kapa‘a, with their strong varsity showing, added their second finishes in the JV Girls and Mixed squads to take the points standings with 23 points.
Kula, with no JV teams, settled at third with 14 points followed by Island School (11 points) and Waimea (9 points).
“This is a unique sport,” said one of the Waimea High School paddling coaches. “When we compete, we compete hard, but when everything is done, we all come together as one family. There’s hugs and congratulations all around. But today, it’s a Kula day. They got everything.”
This Saturday’s regatta starts at 1:30 p.m. at the Wailua River due to ACT testing.
The KIF Paddling Championships will be held on Feb. 17.