Originally owned by American-Canadian financier Edgar Kaiser, Hawaii Kai III was named for the Waikiki Beach hotel owned by his brother, industrialist Henry J. Kaiser. The bright pink 30-foot hydro was designed by Ted Jones and was originally powered by a V12 Allison engine. With Regas, a former welder for Kaiser Industries, at the wheel the boat raced mid-pack in the 1956 season until misfortune struck the Seattle-based team behind Slo-Mo-Shun IV, which was destroyed in an accident during the Gold Cup race on the Detroit River. Team owner Stan Sayres offered Kaiser the use of his spare Rolls-Royce Merlin engine and his championship-winning crew. Regas continued as driver and Hawaii Kai won a heat and finished third in the 1956 President's Cup, but after a prop change on the same weekend won a second Unlimited contest for the Rogers Memorial Trophy. Kaiser retired from boat ownership and turned Hawaii Kai over to the Slo-Mo-Shun team for the 1957 season, which saw the boat win the President's Cup, the Rogers Trophy and three more races to claim the 1957 high point title.