KALAPAKI — Waiani Dubocage and Damien Chang were strong in the Keiki Division events, each young athlete earning a pair of wins Saturday during the Keiki and Junior Lifeguard island finals that took place at Kalapaki Beach.
Kalani Vierra, Kauai Ocean Safety Bureau chief, said they wanted the keiki to be more involved in the competitive side of the ocean safety program, and this year, was on schedule to participate in three events — the 500-meter run, the Run Swim Run, and the popular Beach Flags competition.
Waiani finished by winning the 500-meter run, and the Run Swim Run events before being edged out of the final flag by Ka‘ui Kanahele in the Beach Flags competition, the event drawing enough interest, it was broken down into two age groups — the 8-9 age, and the 10-11 age.
Similarly, Chang put his mark on the 500-meter run, and the Run Swim Run.
The Junior Lifeguards, ages from 12 through 17 years old, took to six events, including the more fun Paddleboard Relay that pit the three different sites where the summer water safety programs took place — Hanalei, Kalapaki, and Salt Pond.
Kane Casillas, a strong distance runner for the Kauai Interscholastic Federation, set the stage early, taking the 1,000-meter run, but coming up short in the Beach Flags where he relinquished the final flag to Kellen O’Rourke.
“He’s a sprinter,” Casillas said. “That was a clean win. He just beat me. But I took the long run this morning.
On the younger of the two age groups in Juniors, another Dubocage, Tavehi, set the pace early, taking the long run, the Run Swim Run, and the Beach Flags in the 12-14 age group.
Her counterpart on the boys’ side was Keanu Brown who made his mark in the Run Swim Run, the 200-meter swim, and the Iron Guard event where he pulled ahead in the paddleboard segment for a strong finish.
“We come back Tuesday,” said Eugene Ancheta, a Junior Lifeguard instructor. “We need to decide who our Young Guns are going to be, and we start practice Tuesday here at Kalapaki. Saturday morning, we’re on the plane to Makaha for the state finals.”