Day one of the Sponsor Me Hawaii Ala Moana Bowls 1* WQS, saw a mixture of ages and conditions terrorize the sunny 1 to 3 foot waves today. Tropical depression Felicia, moving north of the islands, created some blustery offshore conditions that groomed the long grinding lefts but also added a tricky wind condition that would sometimes blow competitors out the back of waves. The 2-foot afternoon high tide created a nail-biting long lull, which forced a heat restart for heat 9 in the round of 64. Aside from those nature-factors, Honolulu’s premier surf spot was relatively clean and contestable, enabling high performances from Hawaii’s best professional surfers.
Bowls is very sensitive to the tides. The morning started off with an extremely low tide that made the wave hollow but often sectioning with quick zips down the reef and many of the early morning competitors playing the "deepest guy role" were caught behind sections. As the tide filled in, so did the swell, bringing flurry’s of sets at times. As the day progressed, the tide flooded the reef and made the smaller waves full, mostly only good for cutbacks and hopping, but the sets remained the same—long and peeling with thin, hollow lips begging for punishment.
TransWorld SURF’s newest scribe Flynn Novak with his Ala Mo’ game face on. Photo: Noyle/SPL
Anytime there is a professional surf contest in Hawaii—especially at a world-class wave—spectators are in for a treat, and Hawaiian surfers arrive ready to perform. Leading the charge were the guys who still have it in them, 40 something year-old ripping machines like Town local Larry Rios, Kauai’s Kaipo Jaquias, and the North Shore’s Uncle Derek Ho; all of which are retired World Tour surfers, not forgetting Derek Ho being Hawaii’s first ASP World Champion. The three veterans set an example for the rest with superior wave selection, contest techniques, and high-risk rides. Notable mentions go out to guys like Solomon Ortiz and Charlie Carroll who braved the afternoon high-tide, picking off set waves and belting them backside, making the tough conditions look great. Then there were luckier guys who got the prime mid-day waves and went to town—literally and figuratively speaking. Guys like Rocky Point regular Daniel Jones and former Tow In World Champion Makuakai Rothman dominated their 20-minute chance with empty Ala Moana Bowls, catching wave after high-scoring wave. The younger ‘"heel-biter’s" of my generation were in full force as well. Leading their charge was the contest machine Keanu Asing, and Sandy Beach hero Kekoa Cazimero who blitzed their heats with trickery and talent alike. Both of these young guns are NSSA National Champions, and Keanu just won the ISA World Championships a few months ago.
Overall, Ala Moana delivered and the Hawaiians were there to receive. Tack sharp ripping with a few barrels sprinkled in made for a spicy mix of high-performance surfing at the South Shore of Oahu’s premier surf spot for day 1 of the Sponsor Me Hawaii. Check in tomorrow for the final day wrap up…—Flynn Novak
Ola Eleogram. Photo: Noyle/SPL
ASP Hawaii Press Release
Sponsor Me Hawaii: Competition Gets Underway Today, Thursday
$10,000 1-star WQS, August 15-22, Ala Moana Bowls
Sponsor Me Hawaii, Honolulu – Thursday, August 20, 2009 – Sponsor Me Hawaii accomplished its goal at Ala Moana Bowls today, showcasing Hawaii’s top surfing talent while shining the spotlight on future stars via a platform of critical competitive experience. Both ends of the pro surfing spectrum excelled in the barreling head-high waves on offer today, with the winner to be decided in the final day of competition tomorrow. The Sponsor Me Hawaii is a $10,000 ASP sanctioned 1-star World Qualifying Series (WQS) event.
Familiar faces of the last decade, like former world champion Derek Ho (Oahu, 44), and largely retired professionals the likes of Larry Rios (Kauai, 41), and Kaipo Jaquias (Kauai, 39), shared heat time and high scores with teenage “killers” Keanu Asing (Oahu, 16) Kaimana Jaquias (Kauai, 16), and Ha’a Aikau (Oahu, 15), all progressing with high scores through to tomorrow’s final day of competition.
Asing was a force to be reckoned with today, stealing the show in his maiden ASP-rated World Qualifying Series (WQS) event with wins in both of his heats. By the end of the day he lay claim to the highest two-wave heat score of the day (16.5 points out of 20), and the top individual wave score of 9.25 points out of a possible 10. Asing recently claimed the Quiksilver ISA World Junior Champion title and proved today that he is destined to be a feature on the world stage for decades to come.
“This is the first WQS event I’ve surfed,” said Asing. “I’ve been focusing mainly on the junior events, the ISA, and stuff, so I don’t really have any expectations. I’m just taking it one wave at a time.”
It is precisely the fact that these youngsters have nothing riding on their results in the Sponsor Me Hawaii that they are able to set the pace of competition. With years remaining in the junior ranks before officially taking on the world professional tour, their carefree drive to perform at any available opportunity is guaranteed to raise the bar to unprecedented heights. And their spirited performance on the waves is matched by a mature approach to their careers on land. None of them are in any rush to turn pro but speak of multiple-year plans centered around gaining experience, finishing school and building on their results.
Other standouts today included Flynn Novak (Oahu), who is the defending champion here at Bowls; Randall Paulson (Oahu), who is the “poster child” of the event given that he is an unsponsored surfer; Daniel Jones (Oahu), Kamalei Alexander (Kauai); Makuakai Rothman (Oahu); and the event’s top seed, Roy Powers (Kauai).
While conditions were a little inconsistent and offshore winds gusty at times, the better waves offered high scores and open barrel rides that defined clear winners in the majority of heats.
Organizers expect the final day of competition to get underway at 7:30am tomorrow, with the Sponsor Me Hawaii champion to be crowned at around 2:30pm.
The event is broadcast live over the internet at surf.transworld.net
Sponsor Me is creating contest opportunities for rising action sports athletes. Their contests are supported by live webcasts via the Sponsor Me site and delivery to mobile devices. Sponsor Me competitions will be held regionally, judged by the pros, and the winners will go on to compete on a national level where fans will have the opportunity to vote online and via SMS. For more information visit www.sponsorme.tv .
The public hotline number is 596-SURF, presented by SurfNewsNetwork.com, the official local forecaster for the event.
Sponsor Me Hawaii is also made possible with the support of Quiksilver.
DAY 1 COMPLETE RESULTS:
Round of 96: 1st & 2nd advance. 3rd =657h; 47th=81st
H1: E Lau; M. Bruneau; D. Torres-Jaime; R. Clark
H2: B. Maor; K. Everett; S. Saito; K. Rothman
H3: J. shibata; L. Rios; N. Wallace; T. Spear
H4: T. Hendrickson; Z. Arreola; B. Choi; M. Moniz
H5: K. Asing; K. Alexander; K. Ping; N. Wallace
H6: H. Aikau; I. Moniz; M. Ciotti; R. Hennessy
H7: G. Gillette; H. Lin Kee; A. Godoy; D. Chamberlin
H8: R. Paulson; B. Martin; K. Lindo; A. Fujimura
H9: I. Stant; T. Newton; M. Alapa; R. Azevedo
H10: N. Rex; I. Kalama; M. Wardle; J. Silva
H11: J. Doudt; N. Surratt; K. Espiritu; J. Wardle
H12: K. Jaquias; K. Chapman; K. David; M. Bender
H13: K. Jaquias; G. Sutherland; E. Baldwin; P. Moniz
H14: K. Nozaki; W. Redongo; R. Flores; JM Turner
H15: D. Ho; E. Hauck; K. Kantner; R. Jimenez
H16: E. Tyndzik; D. Silva; D. Oliveira; B. Kemper
Round of 64: 1st & 2nd advance. 3rd=33rd; 4th=49th
H1: E. Lau; F. Novak; K. Everett; M. Padaca
H2: D. Jones; M. Bruneau; M. Brark; F. Chenault
H3: A. Smith; K. Cazimero; J. shibata; Z. Arreola
H4: M. Rothman; L. Rios; T. Hendrickson; M. Hickman
H5: K. Asing; S. Moody; I. Moniz; W. Larson
H6: K. Alexander; H. Aikau; L. Hodel; L. Gonzales
H7: D. Gonsalves; A. Layer; G. Gillette; B. Martin
H8: R. Powers; R. Paulson; H. Kin Lee; C. Carmichael
H9: S. Ortiz; O. Eleogram; I. Stant; I. Kalama