Teens able to take heat as Op Pro women opens
By Dayton Morinaga
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Dayton Morinaga
The future of women's surfing in Hawai'i was on display during the opening day of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing yesterday.
The first round of the women's division of the Op Pro Hawai'i was completed in 1- to 3-foot waves at Hale'iwa Ali'i Beach.
Hawai'i teenagers Leilani Gryde, Malia Manuel and Carissa Moore all advanced to the second round.
"I was nervous because I know all the girls rip," said Manuel, who is 13 and the youngest surfer in the event. "But I'm happy just to be in it. It was prestigious for me just to be here."
Manuel is an eighth-grader at Kapa'a Middle School on Kaua'i. Moore is a freshman at Punahou School. They both said they received excused absences from classes yesterday.
"I brought all my books," Manuel said. "I still have to do my school work."
Moore was the standout of the day, receiving scores of 8.67 and 7.97 for her two best waves. Her total of 16.64 was the best of the day.
"There was a little nervousness, but it was fun to be out there," she said.
Gryde, who is 19 and from Kailua, Kona, is competing for something more. She needs a strong showing in this contest to qualify for the 2007 World Championship Tour. The Op Pro Hawai'i is the final event of the 2006 World Qualifying Series.
"It's come down to this one event for me, so it's scary," Gryde said. "I just have to take it heat by heat and hope I keep making it."
Another teenager was impressive yesterday — Stephanie Gilmore, 18, from Australia. She won her first-round heat with a two-wave score of 14.57.
"It would be great just to lift my profile here in Hawai'i and prove to people that I really want to shine in all conditions — big waves, small waves, what ever," she said.
The men's division did not run yesterday. The Op Pro Hawai'i is the first event of the Triple Crown of Surfing for both men and women.
Reach Dayton Morinaga at firstname.lastname@example.org.