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Father-daughter win world tandem title


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POSTED: Friday, August 28, 2009

Kalani and Ala Vierra were crowned ISA World Tandem Surfing Champions yesterday. The father-daughter duo from Kauai caught the longest rides at Queen's during the 30-minute, four-team final. Wave-face heights ranged from 2 to 4 feet, making long rides a rare commodity in Waikiki. The Vierra family displayed excellent wave selection and positioning in the lineup, allowing Kalani, 48, and Ala, 12, to catch the best waves in the set.

“;We were fortunate and held our position in the middle of the pack,”; said Kalani Vierra, who was also 2005 Waterman of the Year. “;A couple of the other teams paddled for the first wave and we got the next one that connected all the way across and let us do one or two more moves.”;

The only way to score points in tandem surfing is for the male to lift the female while riding a wave. While being lifted the female strikes various poses, and the “;move”; isn't scored until her feet touch the board again during the ride. According to Kalani, their “;go-to lift”; is called “;The Attitude”; and their most difficult trick is “;The Cobra.”;

Kalani and Ala have been tandem surfing for the past two years. This was an enjoyable bonding experience and excellent education in ocean awareness.

“;It's good for me, as a father, to enjoy the ocean and share the stoke with my daughter,”; said Kalani, who is a lifeguard on Kauai. “;It doesn't matter if we win or lose, we're just out there having fun and that gives me the opportunity to teach her ocean safety, not to be afraid of the ocean and make the ocean like a playground.”;

As Ala becomes a teenager, Kalani is unsure of how long they'll be able continue tandem surfing. Luckily, the Vierras won a world title before retiring the team and dad plans to appreciate competing with his daughter for as long as possible.

“;She's getting taller, she's getting heavier so probably in the next year or two I'm not sure if I'll be able to lift her because she's growing right now,”; Kalani admits about Ala's physical development. “;She's becoming a teenager, so I need to enjoy all the years I can with her in the water. We might have to change the sport and start beach volleyball later.”;

As a native Hawaiian, Kalani feels that tandem surfing is a fitting homage to Duke Kahanamoku, whose memory the Ocean Fest is dedicated to.

“;We want to keep the tradition of tandem surfing alive and show the world fathers and daughters, brothers and sisters or whoever get out there and enjoy the sport of tandem (surfing),”; Kalani said. “;It all started here in Waikiki. ... I think we should follow in the footsteps of Duke by sharing Aloha and being ambassadors of our islands.”;

Kalani Vierra also surfed in the C4 Waterman Standup Paddle Beach Boy division yesterday, finishing in fourth place behind Kai Sallas. Kekoa Auwae claimed runner-up while his older brother, Kamu, claimed victory in the highly competitive stand-up paddle final.

“;It was a tough final because we had a set in the beginning, a couple of waves and then the ocean went flat for 20 minutes,”; Kamu said. “;I got my last wave with 5 seconds left soon as I got on the wave the horn went off and I got lucky.”;

Kamu Auwae will resume competition at the Duke's Ocean Fest today, competing in the $12,000 Toes On the Nose Pro Longboard. The women will also take to the water with the $8,000 Gidget Pro Longboard. Both finals are tentatively set to start after 11:30 a.m. and promise to be world-class displays of modern longboarding.