Contest thrives despite moving to Sandy Beach
By Dayton Morinaga
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Dayton Morinaga
A change of venue did nothing to change the reputation of the O'Neill/Local Motion Surf Into Summer contest.
It is still one of the best contests in the state for amateur surfers.
"This contest started in 1985 and it's been a positive event every year," Local Motion marketing director Mitch McEwen said. "We had to move (to Sandy Beach) this year, but we made the most of it and everybody seemed to enjoy it."
The three-day contest was staged at Sandy Beach because of concerns about the water quality at Ala Moana Bowls.
Around 220 surfers participated this year, and finals in 13 divisions were completed yesterday in 1- to 3-foot waves.
"Ala Moana might be a more competitive wave, but this is more of a family wave," said Kaua'i's Andy Smith, who had three sons in separate finals yesterday. "And the water here is certainly safer. We're still worried about the (sewage) spill. But the waves here were pretty good all weekend, so it turned out great."
It was so great that contest officials will discuss whether to keep it at Sandy Beach next year. The Surf Into Summer is staged during Memorial Day weekend every year.
"I think Sandys is better for the spectators because the water is so close," McEwen said. "The waves might not be as good as Bowls, but we're still really happy with the presence we had here by bringing something unique to this side of the island."
McEwen said entries were down this year "by about 100," but most of the state's top youth surfers competed.
Brennan Boudreau of Makakilo won the prestigious junior men's division, which is for ages 15 to 17. Most of the state's soon-to-be professionals are in that division.
Boudreau, who is a sophomore at Kapolei High, said it was the biggest win of his amateur career. In two previous Surf Into Summer contests, he lost in the first round.
"This is the first year I made the finals, let alone winning it," he said.
Kaua'i's Alex Smith, the oldest of Andy's three sons in the contest, placed fifth in the junior men's division. Younger brother Travis won the bodyboarding junior men's division, and youngest brother Koa won the menehune surfing division.
"This was like our family vacation for the weekend," Andy Smith said. "So to have all three boys make the finals was a nice way to top it off."
Monica Byrne-Wickey of Hana, Maui, won the girls final with some of the best scores of the day. She had a near-perfect 9.7 (out of 10) and a 7.5 for a two-wave total of 17.2.
"It was kind of a set and had a nice wall to it," she said of her 9.7 ride. "I was able to just kind of go a little more vertical (with the surfboard) than any of the other waves I got."
Byrne-Wickey, 15, was surfing at Sandy Beach for only the second time in her life.
"Bowls is really good, but I rather surf here (at Sandy Beach) and not get a disease," she said.
In keeping with Surf Into Summer tradition, thousands of dollars in prizes were awarded to the competitors.
"A backpack, sunglasses, a couple of shirts, stickers ... lots of stuff ," Koa Smith said as he sifted through his bag of prizes.Final results
Menehune: 1, Koa Smith. 2, Kalani David. 3, Lahiki Minamishin. 4, Mana Medeiros. 5, Kaito Kino. 6, Eala Stewart.
Boys: 1, Keanu Asing. 2, John John Florence. 3, Kyle Galtes. 4, Matty Costa. 5, Nathan Carvalho. 6, Sheldon Paishon.
Junior men: 1, Brennan Boudreau. 2, Kekoa Cazimero. 3, Hizson Lin-Kee. 4, Tyler Newton. 5, Alex Smith. 6, Kiron Jabour.
Men: 1, Jensen Hassett. 2, Jared Clapper. 3, Johnny Smith. 4, Geoff Wong. 5, Mark Peer. 6, Brandon Hashimoto.
Masters: 1, Keli Everett. 2, Hop Tong Smith. 3, Brad Chang. 4, Rick Canencia. 5, Joaquin Velilla. 6, Christopher Masuda.
Senior men: 1, Andrew Coutts. 2, Noah Budroe. 3, Chet Moleta. 4, Todd Murashige. 5, Michael Estencion. 6, Ross Meyers.
Girls: 1, Monica Byrne-Wickey. 2, Lani Hunter. 3, Ashley Hunter. 4, Alana Mock. 5, Rebecca Fonoimoana. 6, Hana Harrison.
Women: 1, Helena Suehiro. 2, Kelly Frye. 3, Kamalu Hawelu. 4, Stephanie Da Silva. 5, Michelle O'Brien. 6, Maki Yamamoto.
Junior men: 1, Travis Smith. 2, Kailon Tyndzik. 3, Justin Uehara. 4, Bronson Dela Cruz. 5, Alan Lamphere. 6, Mackenzie Yoshida.
Men: 1, Mark Gervacio. 2, Daniel Dorn. 3, Reis Yonehiro. 4, Gmune Areialo. 5, Brandon Hilton. 6, Evan Duffin Barnes.
Men 30-younger: 1, Genki Kino. 2, Nelson Ahina. 3, Keola Kaneakua. 4, Laakea Davis. 5, Erik Rutka. 6, Evan Fujioka.
Men 31-older: 1, Gavin Hasegawa. 2, Corbin Kuhns. 3, Kainoa McGee. 4, Gino Bell. 5, Mitch McEwen. 6, Lance Ohata.
Women: 1, Mimi Horiuchi. 2, Kelia Moniz. 3, Virginia Fajardo. 4, Angela Vernon. 5, Monica Burkhart. 6, Chie Matsuoka.
Reach Dayton Morinaga at email@example.com.