COURTESY DUKE'S OCEANFEST
Kauai's Kalani Vierra and Blanche Yoshida won the International Tandem Surfing Association's world title yesterday at Waikiki.
Duke’s OceanFest a rousing success
More than just the father of modern surfing, Duke Kahanamoku was an all-around waterman who shared his knowledge and passion for the ocean with all who were interested.
Friday marked the 117th birthday for the departed Hawaiian icon, and as part of the celebration, current watermen participated in the sixth annual Duke's OceanFest in Waikiki.
Four different surfing competitions were staged at Kuhio Beach for the four-day OceanFest, with the division finals running yesterday.
Julie Whitegon of Encinitas, Calif., won the Roxy Jam Honolulu women's longboard event and the $2,000 top prize.
Though it was the inaugural Roxy longboard event in Hawaii and she had just resumed competing after arthroscopic knee surgery last November, the victory actually marked Whitegon's third career pro longboard win at the OceanFest.
In 2- to 5-foot-face waves and bumpy conditions at the Queen's break, Whitegon tallied 13.63 (out of 20 maximum) points for her top two waves to win the Roxy final over Kelia Moniz (12.28), Lindsay Steinriede (10.98) and Crystal Dzigas (9.86).
"It was a bit messy out there, but there were still some great waves coming in," Whitegon, 42, said. "I love surfing out at Queen's. Hawaii's a good place for me."
Despite her recent surgery, the veteran Whitegon was still able to execute her signature deep turns to edge the 14-year-old Moniz of Hawaii.
"I guess (the judges) were looking for hard turns, and that's all I could pretty much do out there," Whitegon said. "The judging was in my favor, even though I wasn't on top of my game."
In a somewhat puzzling subplot of the Roxy, Kauai's Maikalani Martinez picked up $3,000 -- a grand more than Whitegon's check -- as the Schick Quattro for Women "style" award winner. Though she was eliminated in the Roxy quarterfinals, Martinez was selected as the competitor with the best style of surfing.
Prize money was not awarded in the three other surfing competitions at the OceanFest, though plenty of prestige was still on the line.
In the International Tandem Surfing Association's World Title of Tandem Surfing, Kauai duo Kalani Vierra and Blanche Yoshida had an aggregate score of 16.70 points to win the championship.
Chuck Inman and Tiffany Rabacal (15.17) placed second, 2006 world champions Brian Keaulana and Kathy Terada (14.41) third and Caleb Wilborn and Wendy Lynn (12.98) fourth.
Vierra is relatively new to the sport that is similar to pairs figure skating, winning the world tandem championship for the first time. The Koloa surfer also participated in the stand-up paddle surfing final at the OceanFest, placing fifth.
Haleiwa's Bonga Perkins won the C4 Waterman/Honolua Stand-Up Paddle surfing event with 117.6 (out of 160 maximum) cumulative points for his top four waves.
Stand-up paddle surfing started in the 1960s, yet it's experiencing a major resurgence as the latest rage in wave riding. The discipline involves surfers paddling into waves while standing on a thick, wide board and using an oar both to get into the ride and then to maneuver once surfing.
Rounding out the six-man final were: Noah Shimabukuro (112.1), Dave Parmenter (103.9), Alika Willis (102.5), Vierra (93.3) and Titus Kinimaka (75.1).
In the fourth OceanFest surfing competition, the Quiksilver team led by Kinimaka won the Hawaiian Airlines/Duke's Legends Surf Classic.