Kapaa paddles to strong start in KIF opener

WAILUA — Kapaa High School paddling teams took five of six events Saturday at the opening race of the Kauai Interscholastic Federation outrigger canoe paddling season.

The wins gave Kapaa a day’s high 22 points followed by Kauai High School with 11 points.

Waimea, with just one JV team, a mixed crew, rounded out the scoring at seven points despite showing a consistent No. 2 in the varsity races.

“The first three races are distance races,” said Joe Curammeng, the Kauai boys coach. “When I went to the Big Island recently, they do a lot of distance races. It’s supposed to help the paddlers when they compete at states.”

But the downside of distance racing is a lack of viewing for spectators.

The junior varsity paddlers race for two miles and the varsity teams run for four miles.

“We just send them up to the line,” Curammeng said. “Once the race starts, we can’t do anything except wait for about 40 minutes and watch them come home.”

Kapaa’s varsity set the pace for the races, its girls crossing on a run of 31:38.02, more than 20 seconds ahead of Waimea (31:53.35) and Kauai A (32:26.98). Kauai B (33:11.75) and Kauai C (34:33.32) rounded out the field.

The Warrior varsity A boys team was anxious for its four-mile race, setting the pace on the fastest run of the day at 26:44.53, more than a minute ahead of Waimea (27:51.87), Kauai A (28:45.75), Kapaa B (28:48.08) and Kauai B (33:26.06).

The strong Kapaa performance carried over to the varsity mixed races where the Kapaa A set the pace at 27:18.09, more than a minute ahead of Waimea (28:52.48). Kauai A (30:04.38), Kauai B (30:35.29) and Kapaa B (32:59.81) rounded out the field.

The races continue Saturday at the Wailua River with the JV girls taking the water for a 9 a.m. start.

Junior varsity results

Kauai’s bright spot came in the JV girls race when the Red Raiders came from a No. 2 spot at the start to cross the line on a paddle of 16 minutes, 51.80 seconds. The win earned the Raiders its only gold in the day by a mere second over Kapaa’s A (16:52.51) team. Kapaa B (18:35.77) filled in the third spot.

Kapaa’s JV boys A team set the pace on a 14:00.50 run over two miles, nearly a minute ahead of Kauai A (14:47.46), Kauai B (15:51.20) and Kapaa B (16:84.47).

Kapaa JV mixed also set the pace for that division, crossing on a 17:29.56 run over Kauai A (17:45.90), Waimea A (18:08.58), Kapaa B (19:01.96) and Kauai B (19:42.88).

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