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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Monday, June 14, 2004

Everyone wins at all-female contest

Geodee Clark finished second in the junior girls longboard and third in the longboard pro-am yesterday in Waikiki.

Deborah Booker • The Honolulu Advertiser

By Dayton Morinaga
Advertiser Staff Writer

The feel good contest of the summer took place yesterday as China Uemura's 8th annual Wahine Surfing Classic concluded at Kuhio Beach, Waikiki.

Jeannie Chesser won the shortboard division at China Uemura's 8th annual Wahine Surfing Classic at Kuhio Beach.

Deborah Booker • The Honolulu Advertiser

Waves were only 1 to 2 feet high, but the positive vibes more than made up for it.

"I cannot control the waves," said China Uemura, who founded the contest in 1997 as a way to provide more opportunities for female surfers. "But as long as the girls come out and have fun, everybody's happy."

The contest is for females only. Age divisions ranged from "Pee wees" (10 and younger) to "Da Kupunas" (50 and older), and contestants could ride either shortboards, longboards or bodyboards.

More than 250 females entered this weekend, making it the largest all-female contest in the United States.

All the proceeds from the event are donated to the Sex Abuse Treatment Center of Kapi'olani Medical Center, so Uemura likes to call every contestant a winner.

"If you enter this contest, you get to go out and surf only with a couple other girls out there," he said. "Plus your entry fee goes to a good cause, so you win no matter what."

Among the more prominent winners:

• Kaua'i's Bethany Hamilton was on the victory stand for the first time since losing her left arm in a shark attack last October.

She received a score of 7.3 (out of 10) on her best wave to win the junior girls (ages 11 to 16) shortboard division.

"She's doing unbelievable," said her father, Tom Hamilton. "She's making so much progress."

During the awards ceremony, Uemura donated $1,000 to a fund for Bethany. She accepted the check, but then announced that she was donating it to the Sex Abuse Treatment Center.

"That's what this contest is all about," Uemura said.

• Leila Hurst of Kaua'i won a triple crown of trophies, placing first in the shortboard, longboard and bodyboard events for the 10-and-younger group.

Clutching all three trophies to her body, Leila declined an assisting hand from her father as they left the contest.

"I'm proud of this; I can carry it myself," Leila said.

Her parents opted to stay on O'ahu this week for the contest rather than enter Leila in a national event in California.

"We spent a lot of money to stay here for the week," said her father, Rick. "But to see the smile on her face, it's totally worth it."

• Teddi-Lee Sipe of Makaha won the inaugural pro-am division.

All the females interested in entering the pro-am division were asked to pay a larger entry fee — $100, as opposed to $30 for the other divisions. The payoff was the payoff.

Sipe, 21, received a check for $1,200 for winning the pro-am final. She said it was not only her largest check for a surfing contest, but her only one.

"Most contests for women is just for trophies," she said. "Hopefully this will inspire more pro contests for women because there are a lot of us out there."

• Nagé Melamed of Kaua'i was one of three girls to receive a new surfboard for academic work during the past school year.

"I like to reward the kids who work hard in the classroom and maybe are not as fortunate as some of the other kids," Uemura said.

Melamed, who just completed the fifth grade at Hanalei School, chose a new longboard that was more than twice her own height.

"My longboard is old, so I really needed a new one," said Melamed, 10.

I The Sex Abuse Treatment Center is expected to receive at least $7,000 from the contest this year, thanks to the large field of surfers and various sponsors.

"Any donation is huge for us," said Richelle Freitas, operations coordinator for the center. "What this contest does is it helps keep us going and it creates community awareness. We're thankful."

• • •

Final results

Longboard surfing

Pee wees: 1, Leila Hurst. 2, Kiana Kaiwi. 3, Nagé Melamed. 4, Annabelle Marvin. 5, Mahina Garcia. 6, Kulia Doherty. Menehune: 1, Ashley Asing. 2, Erika Steiner. 3, Lani Doherty. 4, Savannah Marvin. 5, Ashley Hunter. 6, Kawehi Whitford. Junior girls: 1, Amy Lawson. 2, Geodee Clark. 3, Alana Blanchard. 4, Bethany Hamilton. 5, Alana Mock. 6, Visha Bungo. Girls: 1, Teddi-Lee Sipe. 2, Joy Magelssen. 3, Sarah Covell. 4, Jenna Fear. 5, Renee Harada. 6, Jennifer Koki. Women: 1, Livia Nahinu. 2, Mitsuyo Kuhns. 3, Char Iida. 4, Helen Villena. 5, Sherry Scanlan. 6, Doreen Teramae. Senior women: 1, Joan Fukumoto. 2, Darlene Mamiya-Oshea. 3, Lee Barraclough. 4, Lori Connelly. 5, Pinoi Makalena. 6, Melissa Young. Kupuna: 1, Dyanne Taylor. 2, Suzanne Walker. 3, Nanette Napoleon. 4, Jeannie Chesser. 5, Franny Palama. 6, Sharon Lum Ho. Pro-am: 1, Teddi-Lee Sipe. 2, Pinoi Makalena. 3, Geodee Clark. 4, Crystal Dzigas.

Shortboard surfing

Pee wees: 1, Leila Hurst. 2, Alessa Quizon. 3, Nagé Melamed. 4, Kulia Doherty. 5, Kiana Kaiwi. 6, Jenna Frowein. Junior girls: 1, Bethany Hamilton. 2, Alana Blanchard. 3, Megan Godinez. 4, Kelia Moniz. 5, Kawehi Whitford. 6, Paige Alms. Girls: 1, Renee Watkins. 2, Michelle Watkins. 3, Jill Hansen. 4, Lana Clark. 5, Christine Owen. 6, Yukiko Ishii. Women: 1, Jeannie Chesser. 2, Sandy Chang. 3, Gail Chang. 4, Joan Fukumoto. 5, Donna Asuncion. 6, Maki Yamamoto.


Pee wees: 1, Leila Hurst. 2, Jenna Frowen. 3, Nicole Verdadero. 4, Cayla Moore. 5, Kelly Graf. 6, Renee Steiner. Junior girls: 1, Maile Enos Branigan. 2, Ashley Hunter. 3, Nani Ping. 4, Erika Steiner. 5, Amber Wong. 6, Lianne Chang-Remular. Girls: 1, Miya Yamaoka. 2, Makahalo Bungo. 3, Mimi Horiuchi. Women: 1, Brooke Holt-Froiseth. 2, Holly Ontai. 3, Gwen Mole.

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