Surfers start off summer at 'Bowls'
The premier wave on Oahu's south shore, and the opportunity to enjoy it with only six surfers in the water at a time.
This may sound like the stuff of dreams for some wave riders, but for 267 of the state's best amateurs, this was their reality for all three days of the 22nd annual Local Motion Surf Into Summer contest held at Ala Moana Bowls.
Surf Into Summer is one of the largest and most prestigious amateur events in Hawaii. After spending last year at Sandy Beach due to lingering concerns over the sewage spill in the nearby Ala Wai Canal, competitors returned to the regular "Bowls" location this year. They enjoyed clean 2- to 6-foot-face waves at the famed left-hander for the majority of the contest, including yesterday, when all 13 division finals were held.
"We're happy because, most of all, the surfers are happy to be able to surf this wave," said Tim Mock, retail general manager for Local Motion surf shops. "The quality of the Bowls waves, you can't compare to that."
Divisions included shortboard, longboard and bodyboard disciplines, and various male and female age groups. All finalists received numerous gear and apparel prizes, and a trophy from the various sponsors.
For the first time, Waimanalo's Kekoa Cazimero won the junior men's (ages 15-17) shortboard division, considered the most prestigious at the event because it regularly includes competitors on the verge of moving on to pro surfing.
The 17-year-old Cazimero just graduated from Kaiser High last week and is due to start his pro career later this summer. Cazimero totaled 13.50 points (out of 20) for his top two waves in his 15-minute, six-surfer decider, and was followed in order by Barak Maor (10.90), defending division champ Brennan Boudreau (7.50), Kapu Ping (1.80), Billy Kemper (0.80) and Matt Meola (no waves ridden).
It was a good day for another in the Cazimero family as well, as younger brother Booboo Cazimero won the junior men's (17-under) bodyboard title.
"This contest starts off the summer (season) every year," said Kekoa Cazimero, now with five Surf Into Summer victories overall for his career. To win the junior men's shortboard "means a lot. The guys all surf good, and it's a good title to have under your belt."
With a perfect 10 for a deep backside barrel ride on his last wave during the boys (12-14) shortboard final, Ewa Beach's Keanu Asing was able to notch his third straight Surf Into Summer win in the division.
Sisters Ashley and Lani Hunter of Kahuku won the girls (17-under) and women's (18-over) shortboard titles, respectively.
The other division winners were: Geoff Wong in men's 30-under longboard; Stacia Ahina in open women's longboard; Gavin Hasegawa in men's 31-over longboard; Jason Oh in men's 18-over bodyboard; Noah Budroe in senior men's 35-over shortboard; Keli Everett in masters men's 25-34 shortboard and Gregg Nakamura in the men's 18-24 shortboard.