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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Sunday, August 1, 2004

Snow wins first as pro in longboard contest

By Dayton Morinaga
Advertiser Staff Writer

It may be the middle of summer, but the world of professional longboard surfing got its first sign of Ned Snow yesterday.

Ned Snow, a 2004 Academy of Pacific graduate who turned pro last month, won the Nalu Hawaiian Spirit Open at Kewalo Basin.


Bernie Baker Special to The Honolulu Advertiser

Snow, who has been a professional surfer for less than two months, won the Nalu Hawaiian Spirit Open yesterday at Kewalo Basin.

"I'm pretty psyched," said Snow, 19, a recent graduate of Academy of the Pacific. "This is my first professional win. I'm always going to remember this one."

Most of the state's top longboard surfers participated in the contest. It was the third of five events on the 2004 Steinlager Shaka Longboard Series.

Waves ranged from 1 to 3 feet, but strong sideshore winds made for tricky conditions.

"It was windy and the waves were kind of inconsistent," said runner-up Kekoa Uemura. "But we all had to play the same game. All in all, it wasn't that bad. You could still find some good rides."

In the 30-minute final, Snow got the best ride. On one of the bigger waves of the day, he completed several difficult carving maneuvers for a score of 9.3 (out of 10).

"Luckily, I got that one nice wave," he said. "I figured I made it all the way to the final, so I had to go big. I saw the section closing, so I went for a floater and ended up making it. I knew all the other guys would be going for big moves, so I was just trying to match them."

Only smaller waves rolled in for the final 20 minutes of the heat, and the other three finalists were never able to overtake Snow.

Each surfer could catch as many as 15 waves, but only the best two would count. Snow's final two-wave score was 15.6.

Only five weeks ago, Snow was competing at the national amateur championships.

"I'm loving life now," he said. "I get to surf as a pro thanks to all my sponsors."

Uemura caught only three waves in the final, and placed second with a score of 13.0.

"I wanted to be patient and wait for the good ones," he said. "I got one good one, but that was about it. That's just the way it goes sometimes."

Earlier this month, Uemura placed second at the world longboard championships at France.

"I think it shows how good the surfers in Hawai'i are," said Uemura, son of the well-known surfer China Uemura. "There are so many guys good enough to win contests, you have to be at your best every time. I know Ned gives me motivation. He's two years younger than me and he's already winning contests."

Kai Sallas was third with 12.3, and Kapono Nahina was fourth with 11.8.

The contest is scheduled to continue today at Kewalo Basin with finals in the amateur divisions. All competitors — professional and amateur — in the event are required to use surfboards at least 9 feet long.

Final results

1, Ned Snow, $600. 2, Kekoa Uemura, $300. 3, Kai Sallas, $250. 4, Kapono Nahina, $200. 5 (tie), Bonga Perkins and Joey Valentin, $150. 7 (tie), Keoki Saguibo and Scotty Fong Jr., $100.

Reach Dayton Morinaga at dmorinaga@honoluluadvertiser.com or 535-8101.