ALOHA NA HOA O KA NALU MUA KAU!
`Olie! E hao`oli na `opio o Hawai`i nei
The happy youth of Hawai`i were rejoicing all day on Sunday at Kaka`ako Park. . .from the opening memorial`oli and wave calling chant by Kahuna Kaleo to the kaunakapila after the awards ceremony. . . and well into the night. Conditions were almost ideal: the "shaking sea, the running sea of Kou, fine is the breeze from the mountains" gave us excellent waves in the 3 to 5 foot range all day long. More than 20 of our best aquatic athletes competed in 10 heats for the AMATEUR and PROFESSIONAL Divisions.
Riding one of Paul Lindburgh`s super fast Hawai`i Paipo Designs boards Point Panic's own BK Holt pulled off multiple 360s on a long knee ride to barely edge out veteran paepo artist Kale Keahi by 1/2 point and become the 1st World Amateur Champion of Paepo Boarding! Kale's outside, big wall take off and barrel was the highest scoring wave of the day. Paepo designer Claude Higa finished a strong 3rd and Old Timers Michael Aisaka and Primo Richard finished 3rd, 4th and 5th respectively with a very narrow point spread. In the Wahine Division expert bodyboarder Kamalehua Keokapu-Richard outscored several male competitors in her heat to become the Women's Open World Paepo Champion in this first annual event held in honor of her father, the late Royal Richard.
Competition was even more intense in the pro division with expert riders from all over O`ahu: Makaha's own, Mr. G. (Godfrey Young) came down from the land of the Buffalo Herd, the infamous Ace Cool from the North Shore and Waimanalo's Primo Richard and Life Guard Thursten Hillen, the Hero of Makapu`u, represented the Windward Side. . .but in the end it was a locals only day at Point Panic.
Merv Kamalu becomes the first Professional Paepo World Champion, demonstrating once again his strength and natural athleticism with far outside takeoffs, deep barrels and startling blastouts on the inside section. Long time paepo specialist Mike Aisaka matched Merv wave for wave in both the prelim and the finals but when the cards were totaled he was just 1/2 point short. Brother Jarrett Liu was outstanding in his prelim heat with off the wall rollos and owned the 4 highest scoring rides of the final but an unintentional judgment error resulted in an unanimous interference call by the judges moving him into 3rd Place. Only a few points back, scoring more rides than anyone else, the indefatigable Primo Richard finished a strong 4th after having competed in 4 other 30 to 45 minute heats that day!
Mahalo nui loa from the REDWINGS Memorial Committee to the Richard Ohana, Kahuna Kaleo Trinidad, Head Judge Bill Wise, our dedicated judging team of Craig Yano, Craig Shibata, Jarrett Liu and Kaleo Garlasa, to CFO and Number Cruncher Mr. Jonny BQ, to the hardworking tent staff and ground crew, to Na Kahu o Kaka`ako Paka, Ernie Romero, Darrin Chong and Brian Fo, Lomilomi Lady Crissey Reissner, stupendous sound man Nainoa of Da Brahderhood, Na Tita Faith Wenzl and Miss Dolo for their expert supporting services, Ke Ohana Wahilani and the Point Panic Bodysurfing Club for ka kokua, KITV Channel 4, and to HydroSportz, Viper Surfing Fins, Hawai`i Paipo Designs, Manoa Honey Company and our many other sponsors, supporters and the state agencies who made this event possible.