HANAPEPE — Team Kamanu 1, a team consisting of Jimmy Austin of O‘ahu and Danny Ching of California, topped the Kaua‘i World Challenge to win a chunk of the $10,000 cash prize purse awarded for the OC-1 Elite Division as well as for specific age division.
Team Kamanu 1 made the crossing from Wailua Beach to Salt Pond Beach Park on a 3:28:27 paddle, arriving well before the lunch hour following an 8 a.m. start and punctuated by three relay exchange points.
Team Kai Wa‘a/Lanikai, made up of Robert Creps and Patrick Dolan, both of O‘ahu, followed just 76 seconds behind Team Kamanu 1.
Manny Kulukulu‘alani of O‘ahu teamed with Alfred Van Gleason, also of O‘ahu, to fill in the third spot on a paddle of 3:31:35.
Moke Action, a Kaua‘i team comprised of Aaron Labuguen and Tyrus Siale, finished first representing the host island in 10th place on a paddle of 3:48:18.
Noe Auger of Kaua‘i and Claire Townsend of O‘ahu, making up the Kai Wa‘a Wahine team, captured top honors in the OC1 Women’s Elite Division on a paddle of 4:08:01 followed by Team Kamanu Wahine, Jane McKee and Lindsey Shank, both of O‘ahu, who touched down at 4:09:47.
Kaua‘i paddlers Melissa Burovac and Robin Jumper teamed to capture third place honors with a 4:32:33 run.
“We started the day off with a beautiful prayer from Lei Wann and Co.,” Auger said. “The prayer asked for waves and wind, which are ideal for us paddlers, and that is exactly what we got. We had perfect wind, waves and current, which allowed my partner and I a win in the Open Women’s division. The day provided safe and happy conditions, worthy competitors from all over the world and a great after-party.”
Sanoe Ho‘okano, Tiffany Palama, Chris Acoba and Nikki Taniguchi teamed to form an OC2 Mixed Division crew, that touched down at 3:58:49, about seven minutes back of the OC1 Mixed division leaders Kai Bartlett of Maui and Lori Nakamura of O‘ahu, who touched on a 3:51:27 run.
Surfskiers Edmund Joy and Zsolt Szadovski of O‘ahu finished first in that division on a 3:25:48 paddle, while Kaua‘i Stand Up Paddler Eugene Ancheta captured the Stock division with a time of 1:36:31, Mariko Strickland, another Kauaian, taking the Female Division on a run of 1:42:40.
Kaua‘i World Challenge paddlers were greeted with blue skies, moderate trades blowing out of the east-northeast with open-ocean swells, ideal conditions throughout the 34-mile coastal relay race, with relay exchange points at Hanama‘ulu Beach Park, Kalapaki Bay fronting the Kaua‘i Marriott Resort and Beach Club, and a final exchange point in Po‘ipu fronting the Marriott Waiohai Beach Club.
Ocean Paddler TV, an O‘ahu production company, filmed the event by air, land and sea, accumulating several hours of footage for use when the Kaua‘i World Challenge airs on OC16 and on the Universal Sports Network with NBC in the next few weeks.
Paddlers from Singapore, Canada, Australia and France were just a few of countries represented at the relay paddle race, those athletes being joined by paddlers from California and some of the Outer Islands, including O‘ahu and Maui.
That was the vision of Margie Goodno of the Kaua‘i Hoe Wa‘a board — to create a world-class race that would attract paddlers from around the world.
Race director Tyrus Siale said a big mahalo goes to the escort boat drivers, Buddy Wilson, Cheston Omo, Pita Latu, Dexter Jacinto and Gabe Laraca for keeping an eye on the paddlers’ safety and Marvin Otsuji of the media boat for helping the paddlers throughout the race.
Kaua‘i County Ocean Safety Bureau Water Safety Officers Kainoa Numizawa, Alohi Costa, Gerald Hurd, Tyle Hale, Cris Pico, Randy Ortiz, Pono Pananganang, Kaleo Lopez and Dave Dunken also helped the paddlers in the water.
Sponsors of the Kaua‘i World Challenge include the County of Kaua‘i, the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, the Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i Resort and Spa, Hand Therapy, Da Life, Holo Holo Boat Tours, Captain Andy’s Sailing, Kalapaki Joe’s, Po‘ipu Beach Resort Association, Kamanu Composites, The Parrish Collection Kaua‘i, the KQNG Radio Group, Kona Brewing Co., MoanaKai and the Kaua‘i Marriott.
Visit www.kauaiworldchallenge.org for complete race results and more information.
• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.