Bonga brings the longboard title back home

Gary Kewley
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Friday - November 21, 2008
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The new world longboard champion - again - Bonga Perkins

Aloha, surfers and beachgoers, The waves are working their magic. The Reef Hawaiian Pro should be all wrapped up before the weekend’s out. The first three days of competition scored beyond expectations as the WNW was reinforced by a NNW swell. Heights at Sunset and other top spots easily got 10 feet, and the conditions were essentially as good as they get. When nature blesses you right off the bat, it lets you breathe easier and believe the future will go “off the hook.“Well, the forecast is backing that faith up. In fact, the final two days of competition should be all-time. Then it’s up to Sunset Beach on Nov. 24 right as a new NW hits for the O’Neil World Cup. After that, the Billabong Pipeline Masters Dec 8-20. I can only imagine ... Stoked!

Here are a few news items I lost space to tell you about. Briefly, in case you didn’t hear: Bonga Perkins has won it again. Sure he wins contests a lot, but this time he won the 2008 ASP World Longboard championship! Bonga blasted through the field Nov. 8 up in the small 3-foot waves in San Onofre, Calif. The event was sponsored by Oxbow, a European surf company.


It’s great to have the title back in Hawaii (where it belongs). The last year was ‘97 when Dino Miranda won it. Bonga’s last world title was in 1996. How’s that for longevity and perseverance? At 36, Bonga knows his time is running out before he bows out. The amazing thing is how versatile he is. I can tell you with total confidence he’s one of the most well-rounded watermen in the world, and was “da man” in this event. It’s a good thing for 99 percent of the competitors the contest wasn’t held at 10-foot Pipeline.

The 1978 world champ and current ASP president Rabbit Bartholomew said it beautifully: “As a personal tribute, I consider Bonga Perkins to be one of the world’s greatest watermen. To watch him surf solid Pipe and Backdoor or even playing around at Chun’s is a sight to behold. And in groundbreaking fashion, it was Bonga who really broke down the barriers to stand-up paddle surfing at Haleiwa, even on reasonably hefty days. I remember being mesmerized by his silky skills, Bonga majestically gliding in behind the button at Haleiwa, then performing these big swooping arcs on a 12-foot board, it really was mind-blowing.”(ASP World Tour).

Since the ASP World Longboard tour began in ‘86 we’ve seen nine Australian champs, six Hawaiian, six USA (they separate Hawaii in short-boarding, too) and one Brazilian world champ. USA, Hawaii - let’s crack 10!

Another talent born in the waters of Hawaii is a young 16-year-old lady named Carissa Moore. I won’t go into all of her accomplishments thus far in her short life, that’s about a book’s worth. Ms. Moore will have a library by the time her career is pau, and I’ll need reading glasses by then (no, wait, I need them now). Carissa’s so hot that she and her dad, Chris, have signed up with Nike 6.0 and Red Bull!

“We’re super psyched to have her be part of the Nike 6.0 program,” says Jason Kenworthy of Nike 6.0.“She’s pretty much one of the best girls to step foot on a surfboard - she’s one of the most progressive, naturally gifted stylists. We will continue to support her and help her fulfill her dreams - whether that be contests or free surfing.”(

The hard part was having to bid a fond Aloha to her Roxy sponsor of eight years. Yes, she signed up when she was 8. You can do this kinda stuff when you’re a child prodigy. She’ll get on Oprah, no doubt.

“Carissa Moore has grown up with the Roxy brand and will forever be part of our history,” says Randy Hild, executive vice president of Roxy. “We regret losing Carissa but understand that the process of growing up means taking different journeys. We are grateful for all she has given to our brand and couldn’t be prouder.” (

The past year school has been her focus so she’s been out of the limelight, sort of - anytime Carissa surfs she and waves light up. I can hardly wait for graduation and watch her take on the planet’s best waves and women. Her comp will need lotsa Red Bull.

As of this writing, Carissa had won her first two heats in the Reef Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa. She’s got her work cut out for her. Be sure to check for all results. They might be there right now if the event is done.

GQ, Dropping in 4 U!


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