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Pipeline woke up too big and unruly one morning in late January. But around mid-day things began turning around at the notorious break. An elite group of the heaviest Pipe chargers took notice, trickling out one by one. One of these heavy hitters was Benji Brand. Despite the second and third reef sets washing out the whole surfing arena, Brand managed to find reprive amongst all the white water chaos. After a steep drop, Brand backdoored the thickest of sections at full speed, narrowly avoiding Pipe’s deadly guillotine: “I honestly thought I was going to die on this one,” he later said of the sequence. One thing is certain: Brand has yet again earned our utmost respect as one true hellman of the North Shore. Photo: gOnzo
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Celebrate Hawai’i By Andrew Oliver
One of the great attributes of Hawai'i is the sense of community and connection shared amongst our diverse population. For many island residents, there exists only a few degrees of separation, either through family or friends, to just about anyone in the state. “Oh yeah, I know her! She’s my cousin’s neighbor’s daughter,” and so forth. This is especially true in our surf community, where not only our greatest talents but also the best settings (our world class waves) are easily accessible to all. On any given day during the North Shore winter season, you are likely to find an abundance of pros in the water, on the beach, in the line at Foodland, or just about anywhere you turn. Their veil of mystery and exclusiveness is somewhat removed when, in theory (other than during a comp), you can paddle out and join your favorite pros in any lineup. (Again - this is in theory.) There is no shame if you decide to sit out a session at 12-foot Pipe, because watching from the shore is the next best thing. Very few other sports allow such seamless interaction between heroes and fans, with free front row seats to the action. You’re not likely to be able to walk onto the Laker’s practice court to get a closer look at Lebron anytime soon. While John John or Carissa may get a few more turned heads when they go for a surf at home, it is more or less business as usual in our island lineups regardless of who is in the water. With the talent pool as deep as it is here, even if the more
recognizable names aren’t out, there is bound to be some absolute ripping going down. With the regularity of seeing these super talents in the flesh, coupled with the constant stream of behind the scene access through social media, the wall between these untouchable heroes of surf and us mere mortals has been all but removed. So, we should be forgiven for taking for granted just how influential our homegrown surf stars are in the greater context of our sport. The Manulele Awards, our annual celebration of Hawai’i’s best waveriders, is our humble attempt to give our masters of surf the hard earned credit they deserve. Running down the list of this year's winners, without exception, are names that are at the forefront of what surfing is today, and redefining what's to come. In every category - shortboarding, longboarding, big waves, womens, juniors, progressive surfing - Hawai’i’s surfers are pushing the envelope. And yes, we have the unique cultural legacy of being the epicenter of modern surfing. But, to sustain that for all these years, and to retain such influence and relevance despite surfing’s surge in popularity around the globe is an incredible feat that we should all be immensely proud of. So join us in celebrating this year’s Manulele Award winners, in doing so you celebrate Hawai’i itself.
Ryan "Chachi" Craig
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FREESURF MAGAZINE is distributed at all Jamba Juice locations, most fine surf shops and select specialty stores throughout Hawai‘i, Southern California, and the East Coast. Subscribe at freesurfmagazine.com Other than “Free Postage” letters, we do not accept unsolicited editorial submissions without first establishing contact with the editor. FreeSurf, Manulele Inc. and its associates are not responsible for lost, stolen or damaged submissions or their return. One-way correspondence can be sent to P.O. Box 1161, Hale‘iwa, HI 96712 E-mail editorial inquiries to email@example.com A product of Manulele, Inc. 2019
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MA NUL E L E AWA R DS Celebrating Hawai‘i’s Top Water Men and Women
Mike Latronic, wardrobe, mahalo 7 Diamonds Carissa Moore
It was a surf-studded Saturday night at Freesurf’s 2nd Annual Manulele Awards hosted at Restaurant 604. World Champ Carissa Moore was honored as Ambassador of Aloha, saying, “I feel so honored to receive this award [...] just want to say a big ‘thank you’ to Freesurf, just for giving us a platform in Hawai'i as Hawai'i surfers and [allowing] us to shine. I just want to thank everybody here for showing me what 'aloha’ is.” The US Women's Surfing representative then added, “I hope to make you proud this year when I go to the Olympics.” That wasn’t the talented surfer’s only stop at the stage that night; Moore was also voted 2019’s Top Female Surfer! Claiming their share of the viewer-votes, the Moniz 'ohana walked away with several awards as well, including Seth’s win as Most Progressive Surfer and Kelia’s Longboard win. Kelia humbly accepted her award while acknowledging her category mates including Honolua Blomfield and Kelis Kepa’a, saying, “These kids are absolutely unbelievable!” Eli Hanneman took home the blown-glass wave trophy for Top Junior and Keala Kennelly accepted the Big Wave Charger award on behalf of Kai Lenny who was out of town chasing a swell. Invitees including Kaniela Stewart and Bettylou Sakura were all smiles and cheers as hosts Kaipo Guerrara and KHON’s Chris Latronic made it a night to remember!
Photos gOnzo, Will Weaver and John Weaver
Carissa Moore punctuated 2019 with a historic fourth WSL World Title victory at Honolua Bay, earning her a slot on the USA Olympic team for 2020â€™s Tokyo Games. Not one to be defined by competitive success alone, Moore has tirelessly devoted herself to giving back to her community through her foundation Moore Aloha. Freesurf Magazine is proud to recognize her accomplishments in and out of the water, honoring her with Top Female and the Ambassador of Aloha Awards. Photo: gOnzo
Mason Ho Photo: Keoki
Tammy and Tony Moniz, Kaipo Guerrero
Seth Moniz Photo:Oliver
Itâ€™s no secret that the Moniz family does not run short on talent. Kelia Moniz and brother Seth (pictured above) were recognized for their performances on opposite ends of the surfing spectrum in the Longboard and Most Progressive categories, respectively. Photo: Keoki
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Mauiâ€™s wunderkind Eli Hanneman was awarded top honors in the highly competitive Junior division. At just 16 years of age, Hanneman has been wowing surf fans around the world with his mind blowing progressive surfing. Photo: Oliver
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Brodi Sale, Eli Hannemann
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Jason Shibata, Eli Hannemann, Bettylou Sakura Johnson, and Brodi Sale
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It is hard to quantify just how influential Kai Lenny has been in the world of surfing (and beyond). His mastery and innovation in a wide array of surfcraft and waves of serious consequence captivates both die-hard surfers and the general public. Lennyâ€™s boundary-pushing skill garnered him this year's vote for Big Wave Charger. Photo: Pompermayer
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Wiggolly Dantas Becomes First Brazilian to Win Volcom Pipe Pro Backdoor all the way to Off The Wall. He searched out the openfaced walls to deliver the best power turns of the day and will take the momentum straight into the Oi Hang Loose Pro event in Brazil, which begins February 11.
Hale'iwa, O'ahu/HAWAI'I -- (Saturday, February 1, 2020) – After three flawless days of surf at Pipeline, the Volcom Pipe Pro, a World Surf League (WSL) Men's Qualifying Series (QS) 5,000, saw Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) win in powerful and challenging conditions on the fourth and final day to join the list of illustrious winners and take home his very first Pipeline victory. The Brazilian representation was strong as Dantas went against Joao Chianca (BRA) and Yago Dora (BRA) in the Final, who earned runner up and third place respectively, and Hawaiian, Seth Moniz (HAW).
“Every wave you get here at Pipeline is a special moment and a special day,” Dantas continued. “Because you can get the best wave of your life and you can get the best wipeout of your life so that's why every time I surf here I want to get good waves, I want to surf good here. I’ve been coming here for 25 years at least and it’s been hard because I wanted to win this event a couple times and I got second, I lost in the Quarters and Semis. This year I just like, ‘okay that’s the year to try and win this event.’”
Dantas’ road to glory began back in 2014 when he earned runner up to 11-time World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) and became fixated on a win at the world-famous wave. The Brazilian has competed in the event nine times and has been traveling to the North Shore for over twenty years, so it was only a matter of time before his name would emerge.
In an attempt to redeem Pipeline’s reputation, the sole Hawaiian pulled into multiple barrels throughout the 35-minute Final but was only awarded a 2.67 and 2.50 despite his valiant efforts. He wove through double-up throaty tubes on his backhand and wrestled foam balls for long rides but was unable to complete them successfully and ultimately took fourth place out of the 144-man field.
“I feel amazing, I feel tired at the same time, but I feel amazing,” said Dantas. “That's my goal for many years, to win an event at Pipeline. This wave for me is a special wave in my life and it’s such a pleasure to be here and compete with the boys and get good barrels and get good turns and win an event here. It's my goal for many years and I’m super stoked to start the year.”
“My strategy was to get barreled, even if there wasn’t that much potential. I wasn’t going to try and do turns and win this contest,” said Moniz. “I wanted to go and try to get barreled and go for the win and do it properly at Pipe. It’s bittersweet to me. I made the Finals so I’m happy about that, but I definitely was going for the win. But I’m stoked, you know a little momentum. I’m going to get ready for the big events in Australia, the first CT at Snapper, I’m really excited about that. I have a couple months before that so I’ll probably just be
It was his lethal backhand attack that earned him today’s win, as conditions turned from dreamy to difficult on Day 4. In the Final, he scored an excellent 8.00 (out of a possible 10) after throwing hammers for vertical backside snaps, making a statement to fellow finalists and judges that turns were going to dominate the heat.
WSL / Zak Noyle / Red Bull
In Semifinal 1, Dantas earned his first excellent score of the day, another 8.00, for two strong backhand turns that took him from
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“Inspiration at its finest for this award,” said Kemper. “Todd was before my time and I think what he did for not only myself but everyone was something so far beyond inspiring. This is very monumental for me, this goes up with the biggest award I’ve ever won in my life. There is such a list of amazing people that are looking down on us and I just want to thank them and thank this beautiful woman for being such an amazing mom. I think moms don’t get the credit that they deserve and thank you to all of you for raising us boys and letting us live our dreams and perform in beautiful waves. Thank you to the Chessers, I truly
at home training before that and getting ready.”
behind Chianca, who displayed lightning-fast surfing.
Moniz went against his brother, former Volcom Pipe Pro winner Joshua Moniz (HAW) in the Semifinals for their first QS heat together at Pipe.
Chianca scored an excellent 8.17 in the second Semifinal after freefalling into a Backdoor barrel and sticking the fins for a successful ride out. In the Final, he posted a 4.00 and 3.83 for the runner up postition to demonstrate his versatility and adaptability at Pipeline.
“Josh will be on the QS, so hopefully he’ll make it (the Championship Tour) with me in 2021,” Moniz continued. “That was our first QS heat together, and at Pipe. We had a junior heat out here and a final when we were younger, but that was the first QS. It was mellow, we’re just doing our own thing, it’s like he’s another competitor.” Dora was a standout throughout the competition and instigated an air show on Day 3 after pulling an air reverse in Round 4 Heat 1. In today’s Final, he cracked a few beautiful turns on his forehand in an attempt to manufacture scores but settled for third place
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Billy Kemper (HAW) stood alongside finalists today as he received his own prestigious honor, the Hard Charger Award in memory of Todd Chesser, for his commitment to pushing himself over the ledge and charging throughout the entire event. Kemper’s performance throughout the Volcom Pipe Pro was reminiscent of Chesser’s, as he powered through multiple rounds and ended up with the second-highest single wave score of the event, a near-perfect 9.00 on Day 3.
love you guys and I am beyond honored to walk home with this award.” The Volcom Pipe Pro is known as one of the most communityoriented events of the year, with its Hawai'i Giveback Program donating over $500,000 to nonprofits including the Boys and Girls Club of Hawai'i and the Live Like Sion Foundation. Volcom’s CMO, Ryan Immegart, awarded two checks in the amount of $45,000 to both organizations, both of which are close to heart for Volcom. One of the most choice events on the Men’s QS circuit, the Volcom Pipe Pro is known for its world-class competitors and 26
all-time waves, thanks to its peakseason holding window from January 29 – February 10. Dantas now joins the list of notorious names who have received the warrior trophy, including Slater, two-time World Champion John John Florence (HAW), and Pipeline mavens Jack Robinson (AUS) and Jamie O’Brien (HAW). The WSL Hawai'i/Tahiti Nui region now travels to the islands of French Polynesia for the upcoming QS and Pro Junior competitions, with Kemper in the lead on the rankings followed by 2020 standouts Eli Hanneman (HAW) and Koa Smith (HAW). The Air Tahiti Rangiroa Pro Open Men’s QS 1,000 has
a holding window from March 2 – 6 followed by the Papara Pro Open Men’s and Women’s QS 1,000 and Men’s and Women’s Pro Junior from March 9 – 13, which can be watched LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com.
2020 Volcom Pipe Pro Results 1 Wiggolly Dantas 2 Joao Chianca 3 Yago Dora 4 Seth Moniz
Kai Lenny Ryan "Chachi" Craig
SU RV I V I NG GI A NT S
A B I G W AV E S E R I E S B Y S H A N N O N R E P O RT I N G
Flying high above the crowd, Maui-born Kai Lenny has literally pushed extreme water sports to new heights. Whether dominating aerial acrobatics in big-surf Jaws, or his inaugural Foil Division victory in the Moloka'i 2 O'ahu paddle race, this phenom is in a league of his own. The Hawaiian island of Maui is well-known for being a windy oasis for the top kite and windsurfers, which makes for an ideal upbringing for a future champion. Growing up in Paia with the outer reefs of Sprecks as their backyard, the Lenny ‘ohana is equipped and ready for any condition with no days off, and it shows. The trophy shelf is full. Whether he’s battling bucking broncos in Nazaré, Portugal, or solosessions in 40-knot winds in the jaws of Pe‘ahi, Kai has superseded his predecessors in nearly every watercraft with the world at his fingertips. What will he do next? Only time will tell, and the world at large is watching in awe as he raises the bar. We caught up with the 27-yearold waterman for the latest installment of Freesurf Mag’s “Surviving Giants” series, as we talk story about his inspirations, unconventional diet, and small boards in big surf.
Su rv i v i ng Gi a nt s / K a i L enn y
What’s your biggest fear? Under-performing, or getting caught inside by a 100-foot wave. Closest near-death experience: Fortunately, I have never had or felt like I was close to wind. I’d like to keep it that way. What kind of mental preparation is required to survive a long holddown? I like addressing any doubts beforehand and eliminating as many unknowns, that way all I have to do is focus on the task at hand. I’ve always found that having a clear mind makes confronting a long hold-down easier since my mind is more at peace. Surviving a long hold-down is just about staying as calm as possible. Heroes / mentors / role models: Eddie Aikau was also a huge hero of mine and I always dreamt of being in his invitational event. Growing up, the Strapped Crew [also inspired] which consisted of: Laird Hamilton, Rush Randle, Dave Kalama, Darrick Doerner, Pete Cabrhina, Robby Naish, Mike Waltze, Brett Lickle, and Buzzy Kerbox. They were all climbing the mountain
at Pe’ahi, and I got to witness it firsthand from the cliff as a little kid. Many of these legends gave me advice and some mentorship, which helped me get to where I am today. What’s your morning routine? My morning routine is getting in the water as soon as I can after eating my first breakfast. In between sessions and during my second breakfast, I love to watch footage and listen to music to analyze what I could do better. Depending on the conditions, for example - if the waves are giant, I am up at 4 am driving to the harbor to launch the boat and jet skis. How have hydrofoils changed your approach to surfing and paddle races? Hydrofoils really shifted my perspective on the definition of a good wave. Every time I see a crumbly wave now, I get so amped. For when the days come around that the waves are really good, it makes it even more exciting. A race like the Moloka'i 2 O‘ahu has become a “surfing” race versus paddling. It’s about really reading the swells as if you were surfing a point break that is delivering unpredictable sections.
Hometown: Paia, Maui
Su rv i v i ng Gi a nt s / K a i L enn y Tell us about your winter surfboard quiver. My quiver within the sport of surfing goes from 5’9” shortboards all the way up to a 10’4” gun. Within that range of boards, there are doubles and triples [carbon copies] of some boards in case anything breaks—especially the big wave boards—because at a place like Jaws, it’s very often that just breaking your leash means the board is in a million pieces on the rocks.
breath, you need to have great endurance and you’re using every part of your body to balance. I also find bodysurfing and swimming underwater is really comforting when getting blasted by a bomb. I always catch up with the freediving style courses during the summer and staying on top of that, focused on consistent gym workouts, mainly agility training. Nutrition: Do you eat before a long day in the water at Pe'ahi, for example? I found the best food for what I do is simply bean burritos, often times from Taco Bell! There’s something about the refried beans, the protein and the carbs that lasts me most of the day and it’s easy to digest. But it’s important to find what works for you as we’re all different.
Current trends in big wave equipment: Right now I am all about having the most high-performance boards possible. I want to be able to do big open-face turns and have complete control when I’m in the barrel. That has led to some different designs inspired by my windsurfing boards. I believe the trend in the future will be shorter and shorter boards.
What do you look forward to most after paddling in to shore? Seeing all the footage and photos so I can relive the moments is so fun. I get so surprised by the insane shots these photographers and filmers.
What makes Jaws the “Superbowl of Surfing”? When that place is going, it’s the best big wave in the world: it has the height, the barrel, the wall... It has every opportunity to ride at a level we are not at yet. So every season, every event out there, it becomes the stadium for next level performances. It’s how high the bar gets raised every session that goes down.
Predictions on the future of big wave surfing: For myself, it’s high-performance turns and aerial maneuvers on giant waves, mirroring what the best snowboarders in the world do up in the mountains.
Fitness tips & training regimen: The best training I have found is doing sports like stand-up paddling, as it simulates what big wave surfing is about. You’re always out of
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Billy Kemper, Pe'ahi Photo: Erik Aeder
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Live Like Sion Grom Fest at Honol'ii Beach Park Photos Tai Vandyke
which were in the 10 and Under age group and mostly against the boys, while Rumor Butts placed third in the Junior Boys’ 14-17 division. Perhaps one of the most entertaining events of the day was the Keiki Push-In. Parents were able to give the youngest groms a boost into the waves while the little ones were ready and standing on their boards. There were some amazing rides, some fun wipeouts, and of course a lot of smiles! In the end, all the keiki The Live Like Sion GromFest at Honoli'i Beach Park took place during the last Saturday in December. The youth surfing contest was free to participants. It was organized by the Sion Milosky Foundation, sponsored by Volcom. Volcom Hawai'i’s Marketing Director, Tai VanDyke and Sales Rep. Clint Moncata brought fun prizes, making the event a special one for the kiddos! According to VanDyke, “Clint and Volcom came up with the idea to do free grassroots, surf, skate, and snow events. We are always trying to find ways to bring the fun back into surfing competition and alleviate the financial burden of the entry fee. Thus, our slogan ‘Let the Kids Ride Free.’” The goal of the Grom Fest is simple - Volcom just wants everyone to have fun! The rules are relaxed and can be adjusted to meet the needs of the young competitors. The girls turnout was small so some wahine joined the ranks of the boys to get in some extra heats. Shazanie Urubio surfed seven heats, most of
competitors got first place trophies. While the contest emphasized fun, there were still trophies to hand out and prizes to be won. In the Girls’ Open division, Sophia Carlucci placed third, Malaika Bishaw took second, and Rumor Butts nabbed the win. There was a lot of competition in the Boys’ 10 and Under division. Third place went to Kona Costa, who was beaten out by Kalie Rivas in second, and the first-place hardware went home with Val Costa.
The 11-13 Boys’ division is the strongest group on the island and it showed with some excellent heats. Tamaroa Kalama was the third place finisher, followed closely by Jackson Dorian in second. But it was the powerful performance by Diesel Butts that nabbed him a first place finish. The Junior Boys’ 14-17 division is often invaded by those surfing “up” a division. Even so, it isn’t uncommon to see the younger surfers get the win from time to time. Rumor Butts started the invasion by taking third place and beating out a number of the older boys. Thirteen-year-old rippers Diesel and Jackson swapped their earlier first and second place wins, sending the older boys home empty-handed. The final events of the contest were the Expression Session and Team Event. Hometown hero, Uluboi Napeahi captured both titles, partnering with Jackson Dorian
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to beat out Solomon Ortiz and Diesel Butts for the team title. Humble as always, Ulu offered to return the $20 expression session entry fee to any of the competitors who wanted it back. Once the surfing was finished, the groms and their ‘ohanas gathered around the prize tent for the awards ceremony. Volcom and other local companies like One Drop Surfboards stepped up and made the groms’ day. Surfboards, skateboards, bikes, fishing poles, and backpacks full of swag were handed out to participants, ensuring that every kid took home something rad!
The contest also saw the debut of the CheePono Foundation. Founded by Konawaena High School grad and drummer for the reggae band Pepper, Yesod Williams, the non-profit seeks to provide unique opportunities for Big Island youth through surfing, music, and more. Surfers Val Costa, Rumor Butts, Kaninau Lambeth, Kalei Rivas, and Shawn Urubio were awarded 2020 Hawai'i Surfing Association memberships to help further their competitive surfing careers. The Live Like Sion GromFest was a great experience for the Big Island surfing community, the organizers, and sponsors. Event organizer Milo Murguia, a native of Kauai, said, “I have never been to Hilo and I am completely blown away by this place (Honoli'i).” Murguia closed out the awards ceremony by thanking everyone for attending the first annual Live Like Sion GromFest and pledged to be back in 2020.
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Hawai'i Surf Association Surf Series - #9 Makaha Beach by gOnzo
Photos: Alika Lopes
Saturday, January 11, 2020 - Sunday, January 19, 2020 The ninth stop of the Hawai'i Surf Association (HSA) Surf Series is Makaha Beach and never disappoints. Taking place during an ideal window in the peak winter season, the westside wave usually delivers a good dose of fun under the sun. This year was no exception with a great turn-out, great waves, and lots of smiles over the course of the event. Results: Boys’ Division (12-13 Years Old) 1. Nalu Deodato 2. Matteus Santos 3. Luke Tema 4. Nokia Gazzola Boys’ Division (14-15 Years Old) 1. Ryan Kainalo 2. MaiKai Burdine 3. Diego Ferri 4. Luke Swanson Boys’ Division (16-17 Years Old) 1. Ryan Kainalo 2. Lucas Reed 3. Brock McTigue 4. Diego Ferri Girls’ Division (16-17 Years Old) 1. Leila Riccobuano 2. Gabbi Knudson 3. Pua DeSoto 4. Tia Ngum
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Shane Dorian’s Keiki Classic Story and photos by Jake Zielinski Shane Dorian’s Annual Keiki Classic Celebrated its 25th year at Banyans in Kailua-Kona on January 25th, 2020. The highly-anticipated Keiki Classic got off to a slow start. The contest was postponed for a week due to small conditions, but the delay was the right move; as if perfectly timed, an epic swell showed up on the day of the contest!
Later, Slater generously shared lineup with all the groms - and had a little extra something when the awards rolled around. Winners Jackson Dorian, Rumor Star Butts, Dylan Schmarr, and Erin Brooks were all called to the podium. The curious groms waited with bated breath as Slater stepped in and made the big announcement: The winners were all getting a golden ticket to the Surf Ranch and each one could bring a friend!
As the contest kicked off, the crowd was greeted by a few familiar voices coming through the speakers., Pro surfer and North Shore lifeguard Dave Wassel was joined by Joe Turpel, a lead commentator with the WSL. This was Turpel’s introductory Keiki Classic: “This is my very first time here. I’ve seen all the clips Freesurf has put up over the years, but to be here and feel the community vibe and [see the] smiles, you can see why this event is so special.” With respected announcers Wassel and Turpel commentating each heat, it truly felt like a bonafide WSL event.
Twenty-five years ago, Shane Dorian aimed to create an event with a goal of giving back to his community. As Slater’s golden ticket proves, the event gets even more exciting and grows bigger every year! Goal accomplished.
As the swell began to pick up steam over the course of the day, groms and fans grew ever more excited for the Expression Session. The Expression Session featured some of the world’s best pro surfers including 11-time world champion Kelly Slater. Accompanying Slater was Ocean Donaldson, Keala Naihe, CJ Kanuha, and Brodi Sale (who was fresh off a win at the Sunset Pro Junior event).
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2020 Keiki Classic Results 13 and Under Girls 1st Erin Brooks 2nd Sophia Carlucci rd Opal Dowdy 4th Danni Sale
13 and Under Boys 1st Jackson Dorian nd Cannon Carr 3rd Luke Tema 4th Tosh Stratton
14-16 Jr Girls 1st Rumor Star Butts 2nd Leila Brackett; 3rd Keelie Carlucci; 4th Haila Alves
14-16 Jr Men 1st Dylan Schmarr 2nd Kane Turalde 3rd Kaiden Lieto 4th Cooper Schmarr
Daniel Sayre Annual Sportsmanship Award: Jake Maki
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John Hook Debuts Up Until Now: A Film Collection of Surf Photography By Mara Pyzel Photos John Hook
Acclaimed photographer John Hook was stacked with leis at a book signing for his literary debut Up Until Now: A Film Collection of Surf Photography. The place was brimming with fans and friends alike, sipping beers and checking out highlights of Hook’s film collection, adorning the walls. The featured shots were excerpts from Up Until Now, pages of film photos curated by the photog himself. The “oohs” and “ahhs” of admiration were audible as people cracked open freshly signed copies of the book.
Hook underestimated the reception, bringing with him only 50 limited-editions of the 120page collection. These hard-cover copies sold out in minutes, a testament to the guy’s universal appeal. A fixture of the Hawai'i art scene, the humble photographer has garnered notoriety in the international surf community. His ability to capture a moment of graceful wave-riding has landed him several cover shots, features, and overall renown. A look around the reception at Treehouse proves Hook’s skill is respected in his line of work: Mike Ito, Ryan Foley, Zac Noyle, Keoki Saguibo, and others were there congratulating their colleague.
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Flipping through the pages of Up Until Now, Hook’s talent proves to be as evident as his passion. Setting his work apart from that of others in his industry is his ability to capture the elegance of the sport, while many others focus on the action. Freesurf Magazine caught a moment with the accomplished photographer in between handshakes and hugs at Kaka'ako’s Treehouse. When asked about his favorite spot to shoot, Hook responds without hesitation: “Pipeline.” “I’ve always associated you with Town shots,” I respond quickly backing up my unwittingly rude comment by pointing to cover shot he nabbed recently during an enchanting night surfing session in Waikiki. We launch into a discussion of the art of capturing Town in all its chaotic and colorful glory, something Hook’s trained eye, and lens, has perfected. Some of these results have ended up decorating the 120 pages of his collection. Up Until Now is a compilation of Hook’s best sea-centric frames from over 10 years of pictures, curated by the photog himself. Taken on film, the images play with artfully blurred edges, varied exposure lengths, color experimentation, and gray-scale prints - all shot on 35 mm film. After compiling the shots of which he is most proud, Hook made what he estimated to be “at least ten” more pass-overs, further narrowing down the collection image by image before finally reaching the final cut. “I’m still finding shots that I wish I would have included instead,” lamented Hook before quickly acknowledging that that's the curse of every artist - perfection is never achieved. Check out more from Hook at johnhookphoto.com or @john_hook.
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Stuff We Like Volcom X Coco She hooked us with her Feb.1st Sip-N-Shop event at Honolulu’s HIC store in Ala Moana Mall. We couldn’t get enough, so now we’re sipping-n-online shopping - and loving the new looks Coco Ho has curated with Volcom. The soft pink pastels are Miami Vice worthy and the flowery, flowy pieces in the collection draw us in with their fresh look and easy-breezy style. Be a Volcom vixen courtesy of Coco. Available in HIC and Volcom stores, and online at volcom.com/ collections/coco-ho.
Vans Mod Slip-On Aussie shortboarder Harry Bryant is rocking them and now you can too. Putting a new twist on a classic look, Vans is proud to announce the release of this extra durable, comfy classic. The flexible UltimateWaffle cupsole outsole added to the traditional slip-on offers extra grip and weather resistance as you cruise down the path for surf checks. This new release on a classic masterpiece is not only lightweight, but tweaks to the internal structure of the shoe makes this Vans’ comfiest sneaker yet. vans.com
Volcom Supports Ocean Health with New Tee Design Merging creativity and environmental awareness, Volcom has collaborated with nonprofit PageaSeed to create their newest tee. The classically cut threads feature the work of New Zealand mural artist Cinzah, just one of several “artisvits” working in partnership with the environmental organization. Treat yourself to a new Volcom shirt while supporting PangeaSeed's mission to promote ocean health through science, education, and art. Available at vol.cm/ xpangea
SunBum’s CocoBalm Lip Balm Whether you’re spending these late winter/early spring months in the waves or the mountains, this coconut oil-based lip balm will keep your lips protected from the elements. The vegan and reef friendly formula also protects our precious ocean corals by using ingredients gentle on marine life. Prevent chapping with any of SunBum’s six flavors: ocean mint, pina colada, banana cream, groove cherry, wild strawberry, and our favorite - aloe wave. Trustthebum.com
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IN D USTRY N O TES
Redbull and Surfer the Bar Host Surprise Party for JOB
That’s a wrap! Nine wild seasons later Jamie O’Brien’s hit show Who Is JOB? is coming to a close. The host of the evening, Sal Masakela, best described the series as encapsulating, “The power of one and one for all,” and described JOB as, “one of the greatest talents. He’s also one of the greatest personalities.” At the surprise party hosted by Redbull, O’Brien was honored by friends (and frequent cameo makers and cast members) Kalani Chapman, Scott “Scottyvibes” Clelland, Kaikea Elias, and, of course, Sean “Poopies” McInerney - who, in classic form, stripped down to his yellow Speedo. After a touching montage of inflatable couch rides, SUP squashing Pipe, literal onfire, burning barrel rides, friends reminisced about the show’s ballsy shenanigans and game-changing surfing. “We all want to see what’s possible at Pipe; how big you can go and he really showed us how to live a good lifestyle and have a good time,” noted Elias. O'Brien was touched by the honor saying, “The dream became a reality.” Up next for Pipeline king: a focus on growing his brand Stay Psyched.
Jamie O'Brien Photo: gOnzo
Nathan Florence and Mahina Garcia
Nathan Florence Puts a Ring on It There must be something in the water! Following in @kironjabour and @johnjohnflorence's footsteps, @nathanflorence proposed to longtime love @ mahinagarcia with a serious piece of bling for *that* finger. Congrats to the newly engaged duo!
This Is Livin’ 2.0 Launch Party at Surfer the Bar Koa Rothman’s YouTube sensation This Is Livin’, chronicling the fab life of Rothman, kicked off season two’s release with an all-ages free screening at Turtle Bay Resort. Viewers go along for the ride as the shamelessly shirtless surfer globetrots from one shenanigan to the next.
The Haleʻiwa Art Walk Presents Shapes of the North Shore
Showcasing the labors of love by local surfboard shapers, Hawai'i Life is hosting an exhibit of the island’s most beautifully built boards. The show includes shapes by Akila Aipa, Jeff “Bushy” Bushman, John “JC” Carper, Jon Pyzel, Drew Sparrow, Daniel Jones, John Carper, Chris Gallagher Stone, Robin Johnston, Eric Arakawa, Tom Caroll, Joe Demarco, and more. Hawai'i Life hosted an opening celebration midFebruary. The community is welcome to explore the exhibit, on display at the Hawai'i Life office through the end of March.
John John Florence, Kelly Slater Support Australian Firefighters
When Australia was ablaze, kind-hearted surfers including John John Florence and Kelly Slater were some of the main contributors to the relief effort. Pyzel Surfboards raised $22,600 with a JJF raffle giveaway that included a signed board, DaKine leash and traction, and Future Fins set. KS donated 100% of a day’s sales from his company Outerknown to the cause.
Food Network Features the Sunrise Shack
The North Shore’s most ‘grammable’ snack spot is making waves for just that. The Sunrise Shack is currently featured on The Food Network for its influencer-worthy eats. The bright yellow shack located on the turquoise shores of Sunset Beach delivers smoothies and fruit bowls as colorful as they are delish. Pro surfers Koa Rothman and brothers Alex, Travis, and Koa Smith are hands-on owners of the snack shack, drawing throngs of pro surfers, water photographers, and hungry hunnies in need of fresh photos (and a quick bite). Erik Logan
O'ahu Wave Pool Surf Park Proposed
Stand-out Makaha lifeguard Brian Kaeulana is the spokesperson for the newly-proposed wave pool on O'ahu. If approved, it would be the first surfable wave pool in the state and have both a right and a left for surfers and bodyboarders to get their fix. The 5-acre area near Barber’s Point HK Management was granted permission to explore the “feasibility” of developing the now-empty land into a “surf village”.
IN D USTRY N O TES
2020 Rincon Classic Runs Southern California’s iconic point break turned on late January allowing the two-day Rincon Classic to run. Locals including Parker Coffin, Tom Curren, and Dane Reynolds, all competed. Conner Coffin cinched the RC20 Championship title, riding wave after wave The Queen had to offer, with oil derriks and the Channel Islands lending to the backdrop of this legendary spot. Channel Island Surfboards teamed up with Surf Happens ato do just that - make this SoCal contest happen!
Changes for the WSL
Erik Logan is settling into the corner office with his new leadership role as the World Surf League’s CEO. Logan’s replacement of Sophie Goldshmidt was welcomed by both parties as they look forward to growing the WSL’s content and media presence.
Happy Birthday to...
Happy birthday to Kolohe Andino! The athlete is set to represent the US in the first-ever Olympic surf event this summer. The San Clemente, California native turns 26 on March 22nd.
Kolohe Andino Photo: gOnzo
It’s the big 3-0 for Ripcurl’s Alana Blanchard who kicks off a new decade March 5th. Less than a month later on April 3rd, her younger hubby, Billabong team rider Jack Freestone, turns 28.
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North Shore-grown charger Kiron Jabour lives for massive, hollow waves. His commitment is evident but, as we all know, you gotta pay to play. Some days the price is higher than others, especially at crowded Pipe when youâ€™re pushed deeper than ideal. But the carnage one experiences at Banzai makes it one of the best shows on Earth, winter after winter. Photo: gOnzo