DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Megan Godinez surfed yesterday in the 10th annual Rip Curl/China Uemura Wahine Surfing Classic.
Heavenly lineup for Wahine surfers
Close to 200 females show up for Uemura's 10th annual event
Just like heaven.
That is how 17-year-old Geodee Clark described the opportunity to surf solid 4- to 6-foot-face waves at Queen's in Waikiki with only other female surfers in the lineup that is normally dominated by dudes.
And, that is exactly what she and almost 200 others got yesterday, as the 10th annual Rip Curl/China Uemura Wahine Surfing Classic began its first of two competition days.
The Wahine Classic has 16 divisions for female longboarders, shortboarders and bodyboarders of all ages, and is a benefit for The Sex Abuse Treatment Center of Kapiolani Medical Center.
Clark was one of 16 surfers participating in the Pro-Am longboard division of the contest, and she surfed in a very competitive, 20-minute, four-woman final yesterday. Results, however, won't be announced until all 15 other divisions are completed today.
"The competition was really tough, but I had so much fun. That was a tough heat to judge," said Clark, who recently graduated from Kamehameha and has surfed every Wahine Classic from the first.
"Competing with girls, girls that just want to surf," she added. "It's not just about the competition, it's about the camaraderie and surfing with only (a few other) girls in the water (at a time) on a perfect day like this."
Fourteen-year-old Megan Godinez also participated in the Pro-Am longboard final (the other two disciplines did not have Pro-Am divisions), along with Kelia Moniz, 13, and, Kelli Frye, 26.
Godinez was a standout, performing some of the strongest maneuvers -- including hard snaps and even a quick, little barrel ride -- on the predominantly right-breaking peaks, and tying with Moniz with a heat-high seven total waves during the decider.
Clark finished with five rides, and Frye four.
DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Tiare Friedman surfed yesterday in the 10th Annual Rip Curl/China Uemura Wahine Surfing Classic, losing in the semifinals.
Only the top two rides from each surfer counted toward her final score, but Godinez gave herself plenty of good chances at the $1,000 top prize.
"Just the experience, alone, is awesome," said Godinez, who grew up surfing at Queen's and is a student at Moanalua High. "Getting to surf with older girls, learning along the way, it felt so great. And we were so blessed to have waves."
Of potentially winning a grand, she said: "It would feel so awesome to help my parents with the bills. Yeah, the money's good, but just surfing, and having fun out there, was the best thing I could wish for."
Kauai's Bethany Hamilton, who received worldwide attention after losing her left arm in a shark attack three years ago at only 13, also surfed in the Pro-Am competition.
She advanced through the first round in the morning before placing fourth and being eliminated in the first semifinal around midday.
Some of the divisions to conclude today include Pee Wee competitions in each of the three disciplines for those 10 and younger. And there's also the "Battle of Da Kupuna," a division for women 50 and older in which they can use any board of their choice.
Numbers may be down from previous years due to other events that some of the surfers are training for, and lingering fears about the water pollution from the heavy rains in the spring.
But that didn't remove the permanent bounce to host Uemura's step, as he rocked to the live music that he also assembled for this important event.
"My women's event, they always get (good) waves," said the Hawaii surfing legend. "The women are special. This is what they needed in Hawaii -- a women's surf meet with different categories. Everybody can get the feeling of winning."