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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, January 11, 2008

Top juniors get event of own in Hawaii

 •  Brazilian-style jiu-jitsu works out body, mind

By Dayton Morinaga
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Maui's Clay Marzo competed in the Billabong World Junior Championships last week in Australia. He is expected to compete in the Koastal Kaos Junior Pro at Sunset Beach.

STEVE ROBERTSON | Covered Images

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After competing against the world's best last week in Australia, Hawai'i's top junior surfers are back here to compete in the world's best waves.

The No Fear/Hard Rock Cafe Koastal Kaos Junior Pro is scheduled to run sometime between Jan. 14 and 25, depending on conditions, at Sunset Beach.

Junior pro contests are for surfers age 20 and younger, professional or amateur.

"The goal is to give these kids a stepping stone to get their surfing to the next level," contest director Liam McNamara said. "We'd like to start a circuit for the junior pros in Hawai'i, so hopefully this will be the first of several events this year."

The top junior pros were in Australia last week for the Billabong World Junior Championships.

The Koastal Kaos Junior Pro at Sunset Beach will be a qualifier for Hawai'i surfers hoping to compete in the 2009 World Junior Championships.

"They get a chance to surf at Sunset Beach in what should be pretty good surf," McNamara said. "They can really prove themselves if the surf gets big."

Tonino Benson of Kailua, Kona, placed second at the World Junior Championships last week. He is still in Australia, but is hoping to return to O'ahu in time for the contest at Sunset Beach.

Other top junior surfers registered for the Sunset Beach contest include Casey Brown, Kai Barger, Kiron Jabour, Granger Larsen, Clay Marzo, Torrey Meister, Tyler Newton, Dusty Payne, Kyle Ramey and Alex Smith.

"The Hawai'i kids have shown they can compete against anybody," McNamara said. "But we want them to get even better, and the best way to do that is with more events."

In conjunction with the Koastal Kaos Junior Pro, the Koastal Kaos Hawai'i Series will stage a one-day contest at Sunset Beach.

That contest will be primarily for amateur surfers, ranging in age divisions from groms (12 and younger) to open men (any age).

McNamara said the junior pro contest is filled, but there are still spots open for the amateur contest.

McNamara, who is still an active professional surfer, said the Koastal Kaos Hawai'i Series will feature at least two more events later this year. He is the director of the series, which started in December.

The surfers in the series can earn prize money, even in the youngest divisions.

"I've benefitted greatly from surfing in Hawai'i," McNamara said. "I'm just trying to give back to the sport."

For information on the series, visit www.koastalkaos.com.

Reach Dayton Morinaga at dmorinaga@honoluluadvertiser.com.