Mixed paddlers in running for state seed, 2 meets to go


Photo by Daisy Draper

The varsity team works together to carry up the canoe at MIL Paddling Meet #3 at Kahului Harbor on Saturday, January 11, 2014.

The Kamehameha Maui varsity paddling mixed 1 team is in hot pursuit of a seed for the state competition, adding a second-place finish to their season yesterday, January 11, at MIL Meet 3 at their home field, Kahului Harbor .

Currently, they are the only KS Maui paddling team in contention for a state seed.

“Right now, how it is structured for MIL, they’re only allowing two seeds for girls, two seeds for boys, and two seeds for mixed. So right now, you know, coming into this race, our mixed crew was in the seed of seed two, the girls were in seed four, and the boys were in seed three,” Head Coach Robert Brede said.

After yesterday’s results, the girls remained in the same place, and the boys slipped back to fourth seed. The varsity girls and varsity boys teams have two more meets to improve their placement.

Last season, the KSM Warriors sent all three teams to the state championships, where all three advanced to the finals, placing as high as fourth and no lower than sixth.

“We try to keep the kids focused and finish out the season strong, stronger than we started. Because that’s going to help the crew in the future, help the team in the future, especially the underclassmen, you know the JV level. They are pushing to make themselves better, to build up to varsity,” Coach Brede said.

Seniors Elijah Won, Kauanoeaehii Vanderpoel, Hiilei Casco, Mehana Fisher, and Tianna Yonemura and Junior Iotana Tua make up the mixed 1 team. All, except Tua, have been paddling together with Hawaiian Canoe Club for years.

Although the sky was blue, and there was little to no wind, there were swells of 1-3 feet.

“This morning it was really bad,” said Yonemura, team captain.

The rough water affected the day’s races. During the boys race, King Kekaulike’s canoe flipped over as they were making their turn. No one was hurt.

Fisher, who steers in seat 6, said that the ocean conditions contributed to their close finish with Seabury Hall, but she also said that she uses the familiar wave patterns to her advantage.

“There is like a swell by the flags where we finished, and as steersman, I have to…stay high on my flag, and right when I get, like, fifty feet before the finish, I kind of angle in, so I can catch the wave in to the finish line,” she said.

But Fisher is confident that their team will do well under any conditions.

“We practice here too, so I kind of know how the waves work here. States is at Keʻehi Lagoon….There’s no waves, it’s all equal, and usually there is no wind, so it’s really flat. It’s like a lake,” she said.

As long as they continue to place in first or second, the team will be able to back up what Fisher says when they compete on Oʻahu, February 1.

In the meantime, see them in action at the next paddling meet, Saturday, Jan. 18, at Ka Lae Pohaku. Junior varsity races begin at 10:30, but it is a good idea to go earlier to find parking.