In a winter of disbelief and major lack–of-swell conditions (so
far) there was yet another moment of history made yesterday with 41-
year old Aaron Napoleon winning the inaugural QuiksilverEdition Ku
Ikaika Challenge, presented by C4 Waterman and Red Bull. Napoleon
battled through 5 rounds of competition at Makaha Point in one of the
biggest swells of the new year. Dawn on the west side saw 12’ surf
breaking across the Makaha’s outside reef line-up and it only got
better as the day and tide progressed.
The world’s first big-wave stand up paddle event had surfers
flying in on the past weekend from as far away as Australia, Tahiti
and California, with the sole lady entrant,
Tiare Lawrence, sneaking over from her home island on Maui.
California Chuck Patterson posted a 10-point score and showed superb
aggression in the beefy northwest swell that ramped up another notch
after the low tide drop, only failing to get to the finals when he
was Napoleon and Ikaika Kalama.
The finals were a classic mix of age, ability, aggression and
knowledge that saw Aaron, the ‘old man’ of the crew, go after two
excellent scores against the youth of the sport, with Keoni Keaulana
2nd, Ikaika Kalama 3rd and Kamu Auwae 4th. . Aaron’s big wave
experience and his strategy against the other three who were chasing
rather than choosing the bigger sets was the winning key. The event
was a benefit for the West Side Junior Lifeguard Foundation and
Aaron’s $4,000 award went to support their growth and equipment needs.