Honolulu, Hawai`i (September 28, 1997) -- The women of Australia's Panamuna
Rigaroo's crew took an early lead in the Bankoh Na Wahine O Ke Kai outrigger
canoe championship this morning and held on to that lead across the Moloka`i
channel until they crossed the finish line at Duke Kahanamoku Beach on O`ahu
5 hours, 35 minutes and 17 seconds later.
The battle for second place was between California's OffShore Canoe Club and Hawaii's Outrigger Canoe Club #1. Mid-way through the race, OffShore relinquished an early advantage when their canoe overturned allowing Outrigger to pull ahead of them. However, OffShore soon gained their position back from rival Outrigger and held on to finish in second place in 5:40.34. Outrigger's time was 5:42.11.
The race follows a 41-mile course from Molokai's Hale O Lono Harbor to the beach in Waikiki. Conditions were moderate for the 63 teams when they left Moloka`i at 7:30 this morning, but four miles later when they reached the entrance to the Kaiwi (Moloka`i) Channel, they encountered 10- to 15-knot winds and three- to six-foot seas as they paddled toward the finish.
Panamuna team captain Lisa Curry-Kenney credited their win to positioning tactics early in the race. "We lined up in a good position at the start and just bolted out of the start," said Curry-Kenny. "We just decided that we had to race to La'au Point; we had to go as hard as we could because we knew we had the endurance to carry on the rest of the race.
"To go out hard wasn't a difficult thing. We just had to hold our speed," said Curry-Kenny. "If you relax, you fall, so we had to remind everyone to really concentrate." According to Curry-Kenny, their open-ocean changes were " spot-on," and everything went "just really well." Other members of the Panamuna crew were: Jasmin Kelly, Amanda Rankin, Robyn Singh, Brooke Harris, Cassandra Sedgeman, Katrin Borchert, Kirsty Holmes, Jane Hall, Yanda Nossiter and Sue Neil.
"It's the first time Australia's women have ever won the Bankoh Na Wahine O Ke Kai, and I think this will be great for Australia's outrigging," Curry-Kinny noted. "There are two other Australian teams here, and we had a lot of support." (The other Australian teams were Sunset Bay Outrigger and Raging Thunder.)
Off Shore's ten-year winning streak came to an end today. "I don't know what happened; we just flipped over in the middle of the race," said OffShore steerswoman, Mindy Clark. "Every time we got a little complacent something would happen and get us back on our feet again. Actually all the little tiny mishaps we had put us back in the swing of things
We had a great time and a really good race," she added. "Australia was just phenomenal today. You know you win some, you lose some, and this was their day. They just outpaddled us today," said Clark, who has paddled in the Bankoh Na Wahine O Ke Kai 17 times." Besides Clark, other members of the OffShore Club were: JoJo Toeppner, Sheila Conover, Dru Van Hengel, Sharon Attlesley, Cheryl Villegas, Vicki Mills, Julie Wolfe, Cathy Sassyn and Gina Aubrey.
Members of the Outrigger Canoe Club were: Nicole Wilcox, Diana Allen, Traci Phillips, Donna Kahakui, Pam Clifford, Kisi Haine, Starr Dawson, Kaili Chun, Mary Smolenski and Sara Ackerman.
This year's Bankoh Na Wahine O Ke Kai was comprised of an international field of teams from Australia, Canada, Guam, the Mainland US (as far away as Washington, D.C.) and Hawai`i.
The men's Moloka`i-to O`ahu outrigger canoe championship, the Bankoh Molokai Hoe, will be held in two weeks and results of that event will be available on October 12, 1997.
Both the Bankoh Na Wahine O Ke Kai