Costa, Gonsalves win prestigious 16-17 division
By Dayton Morinaga
Advertiser Staff Writer
Matty Costa surfed his case for sponsorship yesterday.
Costa won the competitive boys 16-17 age division of the Hard Rock Cafe/Skull Candy Hawai'i Surfing Association State Championships.
The three-day contest started on Thursday and concluded yesterday in small waves at Ala Moana Bowls. The event is more commonly known as the state amateur championships, and 225 surfers of all ages participated.
"I never really did good at states before, so I'll remember this one," said Costa, 16.
The top performers in each age division qualified to represent Hawai'i at the Surfing America USA Championships next month at Lower Trestles, Calif.
Costa is currently without a major sponsor, so he said his parents will likely have to pay for his trip to California next month.
"I'm just trying to do good so hopefully I can get picked up by a good (sponsor) with a good coach," said Costa, who resides in 'Ewa Beach and is a junior at Elite Element Academy.
The boys 16-17 age group features many soon-to-be professionals, so it is a coveted division.
"Pretty much everybody is good," Costa said. "I feel good about winning it."
He won it in dramatic fashion, receiving a score of 8.5 (out of 10) in the closing minutes of the heat. Prior to his last wave, Ezekiel Lau of Honolulu held a slim lead over Costa.
"I got one good one early, then I waited and knew I needed another one," Costa said. "I finally got it at the end."
Lau placed second, followed by Gavin Klein and Kylen Yamakawa.
Alisha Gonsalves of Honolulu won the girls 16-17 division, edging Wai'anae's Alessa Quizon in the final.
The smallest surfers in the contest received some of the biggest scores.
Kaulana Apo of 'Ewa Beach had a near-perfect score of 9.0 and a second wave of 7.0 to win the boys 11-younger division.
The contest also featured divisions for bodyboarding and longboard surfing.
Natalia Smith of Kaua'i was one of the standouts in longboard surfing. She beat all the girls in her age division, then also beat the boys to win the menehune division.
"I was really surprised," said Smith, who is 13 and in the eighth grade at Island School on Kaua'i. "There's no menehune division on Kaua'i, so I usually just surf against the girls."
Smith had to beat other boys in two previous heats just to reach the menehune final.
"The waves were small but it was pretty good for longboarding," she said. "I was just happy I got to surf all those heats."
Smith was one of only two competitors to win two first-place trophies.
Kaua'i bodyboarder Matthew Holzman won the junior men's bodyboarding and launch divisions.