Longboard Champs

Gary Kewley
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Friday - September 02, 2005
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All right, surfers and paddlers! Ready ... set ... go! We got waves! Oh yeah, it looks like summer isn’t done with us yet. We had a blast last weekend for the U.S. Longboard Championships at Queen’s with some 4-foot sets rolling through the top lineups from Diamond Head to select Westside reefs.  Our prior monthlong lull of any real town swell created a feeding frenzy. Packed lineups with some waves looking like H-1 during drive time traffic. Still ... there were rides for all the thousands who paddled out for those few special days.

Men’s champ Kai Sallas with
14-year-old talent Kawehi
Whitford, who placed fourth in
the Women’s Open Division

Guess what? There’s more! Oh, yes. Right now — if the forecast pans out — we should be riding high on waves of glory. How high? Four feet high on the "Hawaii Scale," or up to several feet overhead on the biggest sets.  This South-southwester should give us waves to ride through the weekend — stoked!

The Converse Hawaiian Open went off in style last weekend at Queen’s Surf spot. It was the second of three contests making up the 2005 U.S. Professional Longboard Surfing Championships. The event was being held in conjunction with Duke Paoa Kahanamoku Ho’olaule’a 2005 — a weeklong celebration marking the 115th birthday of our late Hawaiian waterman and Olympic champion who is universally revered as the "Father of modern surfing." Duke surfed often at this very same location as far back as the early years of the 20th century! Queen’s surf — that simple spot we have always reported on surfnewsnetwork.com and 596-surf — is truly in its own league,  not because of how big or good it gets, but historically and culturally. Of all the surf spots in and around the world’s most renown beach, Waikiki — Queen’s is royalty.

Kudos and congrats go out to Kai Sallas (Hawaii) and Julie Whitegon (California),  who surfed to victory in the men’s and women’s divisions. With superb displays of wave selection, long rides and a range of explosive maneuvers combined with stylish nose riding, each won $2,000 for having great fun — and great skill. There were three Hawaii boys in the final with the current U.S. Pro tour leader and three-time world champ, Colin McPhillips from California. There was a long lull for almost 15 minutes which seemed to throw Colin’s momentum off. This was good for 1) Kai Sallas 2) Ned Snow and 3) Kekoa Uemura — finishing in that order. The girls got lucky, on the other hand, having plenty workable waves as the sets never stopped: First Julie Whitegon, Calif.; second, Leah Dawson,  Fla.;  third, Geodee Clark,  Hawaii;  and fourth,  Kawehi Whitford, Hawaii ... Finally, howz about Fritz Belmoro of Honolulu, who won the men’s timed noseriding event by clocking up 17.74 seconds on the front 20 inches of his board!  Seriously, count that out right now: one thousand one ... one thousand two ... one thousand three… I’d like one wave that even lasts that long! Way to go, Fritz!

On the shortboard front: Our top pros just began their holding period Wednesday in Chiba, Japan for their seventh event: the Quiksilver Pro — I’m pumped and will keep you posted. Also, hot action will be guaranteed locally as the Billabong Junior Pro goes off at Kewalos Monday, Aug.  29,  through Wednesday, Aug. 31!  I will miss my cutoff if I wait to post results, so check surfnewsnetwork.com or 596 surf today.

Men’s winner Kai Sallas trims right at
Queen’s Surf and makes
Duke proud at the U.S. Open
Longboard Championships

And remember, stay stoked and stay wet! I’ll see you back here next weekend! GQ, dropping in 4 U!

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