Pacific Vibrations tops of the shops
By Dayton Morinaga
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Dayton Morinaga
A little surf shop in Kailua, Kona, earned state bragging rights yesterday in the O'Neill Braggers Cup.
Pacific Vibrations won the unique contest among Hawai'i surf shops in 2- to 4-foot waves at Kewalo Basin.
Twelve surf shops from around the state participated, and each team got to use four surfers — two employees of the store, and two surfers who are sponsored by the store.
"We're a small business — just one shop in Kona," Pacific Vibrations team member Makai McMichael said. "So it's cool to represent Kona and the Big Island like this."
McMichael's parents opened Pacific Vibrations in 1978, and it has been sponsoring Kona-based surfers ever since.
Members of the winning team were McMichael, Mikey Bruneau, Casey Brown and Torrey Meister. They grew up surfing together off the Big Island.
"It's cool because we're all friends," Meister said. "So it was more like free surfing. It didn't feel like a contest."
The format had something to do with it. Each "heat" featured one shop in the water for 15 minutes. For example, during the Pacific Vibrations heat, only the four surfers from that team were allowed to catch waves.
Each surfer's two best waves counted toward the final team score.
"The format made it way more fun for us," McMichael said. "We were out there laughing, having fun. It was like, 'Who needs a good wave? OK, you got the next one.' "
Pacific Vibrations received $500 for the victory. The store won a national championship in a similar event for surf shops in California last year.
"There's other surf shops around Kona, but 'PVs' is the one a lot of us grew up with," Brown said. "So it's good to win for them."
Meister was the team's high scorer, and he received a $150 bonus for completing the best aerial maneuver.
Local Motion placed second. Members of the team were Keanu Asing, Evan Laeha, Jesse Merle-Jones and Ron Wong.
The feel-good team of the contest, Up & Riding, finished in third place. The team captain was former pro surfer Tony Moniz. Other surfers on the team were his three sons — Isaiah, 12, Joshua, 10, and Seth, 9.
Almost every other team in the contest used adult surfers.
"The shop owner, Jake Mizuno, thought it would be a fun thing for us to do as a family," Tony Moniz said. "The format was perfect because I got to be out there, coaching them. We were all taking turns, trying to get good scores."
Matthew Gleason, marketing manager for the O'Neill clothing company that sponsored the event, said: "I didn't know much about the background of that family, but those little guys were impressive. They beat a lot of teams."
Gleason said O'Neill has been sponsoring similar contests for surf shops in California, Florida, New Jersey and North Carolina since 2002. Yesterday was the first time O'Neill sponsored an event for the Hawai'i stores.
Many of the surfers in yesterday's event are preparing for the Xcel Pro contest, which is expected to start today at Sunset Beach.
"It was kind of fun to be surfing in such good waves on the south shore when we're supposed to be getting ready for the North Shore," Meister said.
Reach Dayton Morinaga at firstname.lastname@example.org.