Maui's Hi-Tech now has state bragging rights, too
By Dayton Morinaga
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Dayton Morinaga
Hi-Tech Surf Sports likes to advertise itself as the No. 1 board store on Maui.
It went up a notch yesterday as Hi-Tech beat seven other stores from around the state to win the Hawaiian Region Quiksilver Surf Shop Challenge.
The unique contest was run in 2- to 4-foot waves at Kewalo Basin.
"It's the No. 1 store on Maui, but it's still kind of underground when you compare it to some of the other shops," team member Granger Larsen said. "So it's like we're representing the store and Maui at the same time."
Each shop in the contest could enter a team of four surfers — two employees and two surfers (professional or amateur) who are sponsored by the shop. The final results were based on the scores of all four surfers.
Members of the Hi-Tech team were employees John Chiu and Wesley Larsen, and sponsored-surfers Ola Eleogram and Granger Larsen.
"We had a good mix," said Chiu, the team captain. "We had two guys who are experienced in contests in Ola and Wes, then we had an up-and-coming young guy in Granger, and then I'm the old guy."
As winners of the Hawaiian Region, Hi-Tech will get a free advertisement in an upcoming edition of Surfer Magazine. The full-page ad is valued at around $4,000.
The four surfers also will get a free trip to compete in the National Quiksilver Surf Shop Challenge on Sept. 11 at Oceanside, Calif. The winning shop at the national contest will receive $10,000.
"Hopefully, everybody's schedule pans out and we can make it there," Chiu said. "That's a big opportunity for us to get the store's name out there."
The Pacific Vibrations shop from Kona won last year's national contest.
Granger Larsen is 16 and the youngest member of the Hi-Tech team, but he posted the highest scores yesterday.
In the one-hour final, he received a near-perfect score of 9.5 (out of 10) for completing a series of difficult carving maneuvers. He also had a score of 8.0.
"Good waves came to me and I got lucky," he said. "I was just doing whatever I could."
Granger said he was also motivated by the presence of his older brother Wesley, 18.
"We were on the same team, but surfing is still an individual sport and I wanted to beat his scores," Granger said.
Eleogram was Hi-Tech's "ringer," and he also posted high scores throughout the day. He is a professional surfer who happened to be on a break this week from competing on the World Qualifying Series.
"I'm actually leaving on Wednesday for the next contest in France," said Eleogram, 20. "But I was home on Maui and the guys from the store called me and said they wanted me to surf in this thing. It ended up being really fun."
Eleogram and the Larsen brothers have been sponsored by Hi-Tech for about a decade.
In the final heat, Hi-Tech's four surfers posted a combined average score of 57.67.
The Boardriders Club-Honolulu was second with 46.67, Local Motion was third with 44.0, and Hawaiian Island Creations fourth with 39.33.
Tory Titcomb competed with the Boardriders Club-Honolulu team, and was the only female in the competition.
Keanu Asing of the Local Motion team won the award for most innovative maneuver. At 13, he was the youngest surfer in the contest.
1, Hi-Tech Surf Sports (John Chiu, Ola Eleogram, Granger Larsen, Wesley Larsen), 57.67.
2, Boardriders Club-Honolulu (Brennan Boudreau, Dege O'Connell, Tory Titcomb, Mick Ventresca), 46.67.
3, Local Motion (Keanu Asing, Evan Laeha, Tyler Newton, Ron Serikaku), 44.0.
4, Hawaiian Island Creations (Lance Gentry, Mervin Kuahiwiui, Derek Lyons-Wolf, Mike Mattison), 39.33.
Reach Dayton Morinaga at firstname.lastname@example.org.