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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, June 15, 2003

Girls-only surf contest proves to be big hit

By Baxter Cepeda
Advertiser Staff Writer

Brooke Holt-Froiseth surfs in the long board competition at China Uemura's Seventh Annual Wahine Surf Classic at Queens Beach in Waikiki.

Rebecca Breyer • The Honolulu Advertiser

Kaua'i shortboarder Bethany Hamilton, 13, received perfect 10s from all three judges on one wave in her junior girls round-two heat yesterday to highlight the first day of China Uemura's Seventh Annual Wahine Surf Classic in 1- to 2-foot waves at Queens Beach.

"I hit the lip a couple of times, did a round-house and switched stance at the end," Hamilton said. "It might have been the biggest wave of the day."

In the afternoon, high tide created flat conditions, leading organizers to postpone the final three heats of the day. Still, the two-day event is expected be completed today around 2 p.m.

Uemura, 48, a former professional surfer, holds the event in support of sexually abused women and children with all proceeds going to Kapi'olani Medical Center For Women and Children.

"This is my way of giving back to the community," Uemura said. "The whole family runs the contest."

Of all of the reasons for enjoying the event, one resonated above all others — no boys.

"I think the boys are too competitive, they always just want to be No. 1 — a shining star," Leilani Doherty, 10, of Ka'ahumanu Hou Elementary School said. "The girls just want to go out and have fun."

Doherty, who competes in longboard and shortboard, does not like some of the tactics that competitive boys use to win.

"They (boys) always look like they are going to take off in front of me to mess me up so I won't get a good wave," Doherty said. "They throw me off. I just get all confused."

The event has over 250 competitors. It includes shortboarding, longboarding, bodyboarding and a special costume contest in 14 divisions. The age groups range from pee-wee at 10-and-under, junior girls (11-16), girls (17-29), women 30-and-older, and the "Battle of the Kupunas" for surfers 50-and-over.

Susie Kekai does a balancing act in the long board competition.

Rebecca Breyer • The Honolulu Advertiser

Uemura also said that the Wahine Classic is unique for two reasons. "It's the biggest wahine surfing classic in the U.S.," he said. "And it's the only charity classic in the U.S."

Hamilton, who is also penciled in for the longboard and costume contests, enjoys this contest for a few reasons.

"I like that it is all girls, that all the money goes to Kapi'olani Hospital's treatment center, that it is at Queens and I also like that this contest has lots of prizes," she said.

Carissa Moore, 10, is entered in all four categories.

"I like it because it is just a good chance for the girls to surf just against each other," said Moore, who attends Punahou School.

Despite no cash prizes, Marie-Pierre Abregall and Julia Christian, rookies on the Women's Championship Tour, made the trip from France and Carlsbad, Calif., respectively, for the event.

"I think it's a great event because it is more of a charity and fun contest than a hard-core event," said Christian, currently ranked 16th in the world after three events on the WCT. "A lot of people benefit from it. I would come back."

Abregall, ranked 11th in the world, added, "We have one contest like this in France, but it is a different spirit here."

Abregall and Christian were both in heats that got postponed yesterday.

Alisha Gonsalves, 10, put things into perspective. "I like this contest because it fights sex abuse for women and children," said Gonsalves who attends Star of the Sea Elementary School. "This is my favorite contest because they give away great prizes and there are no boys."