HONOLULU, August 28, 2009 – Waikiki took care of her own today, serving up a pair of wins for local surfers Kelia Moniz, 16, and Kai Sallas, 28, in the Gidget Pro and Rabbit Kekai Toes on the Nose pro longboard events, respectively. Home grown knowledge played an integral part as hip-high waves and a lazy full tide brought it all down to wave selection and footwork finesse. Moniz won $2,000, and Sallas took home $2,500.
Above: Gidget Pro winner, Kelia Moniz
Below: Toes on the Nose winner, Kai Sallas
Photos by Bernie Baker
Hawaii surfers faired well overall, filling three of four places in both finals. But in both events the runner-up position went to Southern Californians; in the Gidget Pro it was 32-year-old Cori Schumacher, and in the Toes on the Nose, Steven Newton, 24.
The final of the women’s Gidget Pro hit the water first and the women benefited from the last pulse of waves before the high tide slowed the break of Queen’s right down. The ladies enjoyed a consistent exchange of scores. Moniz chose to position herself on the inside of the break, picking up several long rides that allowed her to display graceful footwork and gravity-defying noserides. In contrast, Schumacher blazed her way through from the outside, opting for a more progressive, power repertoire.
The final scoreline was close, Moniz winning with a two wave total of 14.1 points out of 20; Schumacher was second on 13.4 points; Ashely Quintal was third with 12.3; and Haunani Kane was fourth with 10.7 points.
“Finally, a win,” said Moniz, who has been trying to take the honors here for four years. “I’ve gotten second quite a lot really, so I’m very excited.
“I stayed on the inside and that worked to my advantage. I was told by my dad to stay on the inside and ride under the peak and it worked out.”
It’s definitely worth listening to your dad if it’s someone like Tony Moniz, a former pro surfer himself who could surf Waikiki blindfolded.
The Toes on the Nose men’s final definitely called for more testosterone as waves become scarcer than towel space on Waikiki Beach. Not a single breaking wave went unridden, and more than a few waves saw at least two riders up, resulting in interference penalties. On the losing end of the interference calls were Keegan Edwards and Duane DeSoto, who placed third and fourth respectively. Sallas posted a definitive win, steering clear of the chaos with runner-up Steven Newton.
Sallas showed no lingering effects of the foot injury that has seen him landlocked for the past three months, only returning to the ocean last week. While the injury forced him to miss all of the epic summer swells that poured through town earlier in the season, it might have worked out to his benefit. He was excited just to be back in the lineup caring little that the waves were less than optimal. Plus, there’s the added power of the moment that comes with surfing a final in front of a home crowd, in front of Rabbit Kekai, the event’s namesake, and in honor of Duke Kahanamoku.
“I’ve been riding longboard since I began surfing right here in Waikiki,” said Sallas. “My dad’s a beachboy, so to win here with Rabbit (Kekai) on the beach, and at the Duke’s event feels real Waikiki-ish.”
The final day of action at the Duke’s OceanFest will take place tomorrow, featuring the Hawaiian Airlines Duke’s Legend Surf Classic, and the Corona Expression Session.
Those events will run live online at DukeFoundation.org.
For more information:
Jodi Wilmott, OCEAN PROMOTION
$12,000 Toes on the Noes World Longboard Surfing Classic
1st: Kai Sallas, HI, $2,500, 13.6 points
2nd: Steven Newton, USA, $1,500, 9.2 points
3rd: Keegan Edwards, HI, $1,100, 6.6 points
4th: Duane DeSoto, HI, $900, 4.5 points
H1: Kai Sallas (HI); Duane DeSoto (HI); Tony Silvagni (USA); Joe Aaron (USA)
H2: Keegan Edwards (HI); Steven Newton (USA); Taylor Jensen (USA); Cole
H1: Duane DeSoto (HI); Kai Sallas (HI); Nelson Ahina (HI); Josh Baxter (USA)
H2: Joe Aaron (USA); Tony Silvagni (USA); Kekoa Auwae (HI); Darren Eudaly (USA)
H3: Keegan Edwards (HI); Steven Newton (USA); Troy Mothershead (USA); Robin
H4: Taylor Jensen (USA); Cole Robbins (USA); David Carvalho (HI); Kapono Nahina (HI)
$8,000 GIDGET PRO WOMEN’S LONGBOARD
1st: Kelia Moniz, HI, $2,000, 14.1 points
2nd; Cori Schumacher, CA, $1,000, 13.4 points
3rd: Ashley Quintal, HI, $900, 12.3 points
4th: Haunani Kane, HI, $700, 10.7 points
H1: Kelia Moniz (HI); Ashley Quintal (HI); Joy Monahan (HI); Megan Godinez (HI)
H2: Cori Schumacher (USA); Haunani Kane (HI); Lindsay Steinriede (USA); Candice