Hawaii places second as Australia wins fifth in row
Led by finalists Alessa Quizon and Koa Smith, Hawai'i placed second in the team standings of the Quiksilver ISA World Junior Surfing Championship yesterday in New Zealand.
The final day of the eight-day competition was completed in 3-foot waves at Piha Beach in Auckland.
Australia, which won two of the three individual championships, took the team title for the fifth consecutive year.
For the second consecutive year, Hawai'i entered the final day of competition with the team lead, but had to settle for a runner-up finish.
Hawai'i had five surfers still in contention for the final day, but Quizon and Smith were the only ones to reach the finals.
Quizon, a 16-year-old from Wai'anae, was Hawai'i's top surfer. She placed second in the Girls 18 division after an exciting final heat.
Quizon trailed for most of the 25-minute final, but took the lead with less than two minutes remaining when she completed an aerial maneuver and was rewarded with a score of 8.3 out of 10.
However, Australia's Tyler Wright responded with a big wave just before the horn sounded and won it with a score of 8.6.
The second-place finish capped a successful month for Quizon.
She also placed second at the Billabong Junior Pro World Championships in Australia two weeks ago. That contest is the world championship for surfers age 21 and younger.
Kaua'i's Malia Manuel entered the day undefeated in the Girls 18 division, but she lost two heats yesterday.
Smith, who is also from Kaua'i, placed third in the Boys 16 division. He entered the day undefeated, but lost his morning heat in the winner's bracket and then had to rally in the repechage bracket.
He won the repechage bracket to earn a spot in the final heat.
"I'm kind of baffled I even made it to the final," said Smith, 15. "The waves remind me of home — it's kind of like a reform, so I felt comfortable out there."
Australia's Matt Bantring dominated the Boys 16 final, winning with a two-wave score of 15.9.
In the Boys 18 division, Tanner Hendrickson of Maui was eliminated in the repechage bracket final. Hendrickson needed a score of 6.74 to advance out of the heat in the closing minutes, but he received a score of 5.16 on his final wave.
Keanu Asing of 'Ewa was eliminated in the ninth round of the repechage bracket.
Hendrickson and Asing both made stunning runs in the repechage bracket. They both lost in the second round of the winner's bracket.
Hendrickson then proceeded to surf in nine win-or-go-home repechage heats; Asing had to surf in eight repechage heats.
Brazil's Gabriel Medina won the Boys 18 division, scoring a perfect 10 in the final.
More than 200 surfers representing 21 countries/regions participated in the prestigious event.
Because of its significant history in the sport, Hawai'i is recognized as its own region by the International Surfing Association. A separate team from the United States placed third in the team standings.
The primary sponsors for the Hawai'i team were Verizon Wireless and Hard Rock Cafe.
The head coach for Hawai'i was Rainos Hayes, and assistants were Megan Abubo, Kahea Hart and Bert Ishimaru.
Final team standings
1, Australia, 6,015 points. 2, Hawai'i, 5,038. 3, United States, 4,958. 4, South Africa, 4,163. 5, France, 3,928. 6, Tahiti, 3,898. 7, New Zealand, 3,686. 8, Portugal, 3,346. 9, Peru, 3,241. 10, Japan, 3,105.
Final results for Hawai'i surfers
Boys 18: Tanner Hendrickson, fifth place; Keanu Asing, seventh; Ezekiel Lau, 19th; Kaimana Jaquias, 25th.
Girls 18: Alessa Quizon, second; Malia Manuel, sixth; Leila Hurst and Nage Melamed, tie for 17th.
Boys 16: Koa Smith, third; Isaiah Moniz, 11th; Ian Gentil 13th; Kain Daly, 22nd.