Cuizon rides late wave to victory
By Dayton Morinaga
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Dayton Morinaga
On a break from surfing around the world, Dustin Cuizon caught a break to win the shortboard division of the Macy's E-Series men's contest yesterday at Kewalo Basin.
The one-day contest was completed in inconsistent 1- to 2-foot waves yesterday.
"It wasn't the best conditions," said Cuizon, who is from 'Ewa Beach. "You just had to hope you could find two waves. It was hard."
The Macy's E-Series is designed to keep Hawai'i's top up-and-coming surfers — professional or amateur — active when not traveling to contests around the world. Around 50 surfers competed yesterday.
Cuizon, 22, is a competitor on surfing's World Qualifying Series, which is sort of like the minor leagues of professional surfing. He was in the Philippines for a contest two weeks ago, and will travel to Brazil next week.
"I just happened to be home this week," he said. "It's worth it just to surf with only three other guys out there. A lot of these guys are my friends, and it's good to hang out and surf with them, kind of like when we were kids."
Cuizon trailed for 18 of the 20 minutes in the final heat.
But with two minutes remaining, he paddled into a 2-foot wave and proceeded to complete several carving maneuvers. He ended the ride with a 360-degree spin, and the judges awarded him with a score of 7.25, which was enough to put him in first place.
"I knew I was in fourth place, but I didn't know what I needed," Cuizon said. "I lucked out. That wave just came to me and I was able to complete it. Lucky."
Cuizon received $1,200, which he said he will probably spend on his young children — Zaisha, 2, and Kaden, 3 months.
Randall Paulson placed second, Daniel Jones was third, and Kolea Fukumitsu fourth.
In the longboard division, Ned Snow of the Big Island placed first, thanks in part to an interference call on another finalist.
Midway through the heat, Snow and Kai Sallas paddled for the same wave. Snow said he stood up first, and the judges agreed by assessing the interference call on Sallas.
"When the waves are small like this, stuff like that is bound to happen," Snow said. "It was small, so we were all trying to make the best of it, catch what ever you can."
Sallas would have won if not for the interference call.
Snow received $800 for the win. Isaac Kaneshiro finished second, Sallas was third, and Keoki Saguibo fourth.
Kaneshiro also placed fifth in the shortboard division.
"It was hard doing both and going back and forth," he said. "I really wanted to make both finals, but I had fun."
Yesterday's event was the final stop for the 2007 Macy's E-Series. The 2008 series is expected to start in February.
Reach Dayton Morinaga at firstname.lastname@example.org.