The Standup World Tour’s Hawaii Island Finals opened this weekend at the Naniloa Volcanoes Resort, as the best standup paddlesurfers in the world descended upon the beautiful Big Island for the climactic final event of 2011.
Sunday morning dawned with a new swell, but also a lot of wind, providing challenging conditions early in the morning that became increasingly groomed throughout the day and led to ideal surf for an epic afternoon of action at Honoli’i Beach Park.
Local talent shined at Honoli’i, with young Bullett Obra clearly leading the charge. From the outset, Bullet read the Honoli’i line up to perfection, linking together fluid, powerful and critical turns. Bullett surfed his way through to the final and convincingly won in a stacked final heat that consisted of Maui’s Connor Baxter, Brazil’s Caio Vaz and fellow local UluBoi Napeahi.
More known for his phenomenal racing skills, Maui’s Connor Baxter put on a solid performance today at Honoli’i, making it all the way to the Final and finishing in an impressive 2nd place. The young Mauian’s experience surfing in windy conditions certainly paid off today, with his Finals berth earning him a coveted spot in the main event.
14-year-old UluBoi Napeahi made his presence felt today, with a solid performance throughout the day. Uluboi’s consistent performances helped him make it all the way to the finals and into 3rd place, earning him an entry in the main event.
Caio Vaz from Brazil only strengthens his family’s reputation on the Standup World Tour with an impressive performance at Honoli’i, following his brother Ian’s performance at the last Tour stop in Brazil. Caio charged his way through the day to finish in 4th place in the Finals, allowing him to now join his brother in the Main event that will start tomorrow morning at Honoli’i.
Young Noah Yap from Maui put on a stellar performance at Honoli’i, narrowly missing out on qualifying for the main event, but advancing through to the Finals of the Na Kama Kai Youth Challenge. Noah is certainly a name to look out for in the future.
Also making his presence felt at an incredibly young age was Yuri Daberkow, who powered his way through to the Semi-finals of the Trials, narrowly missing out on qualification and like Noah, through to the Finals of the Na Kama Kai Youth Challenge. Yuri is amongst the wealth of new talent currently coming out of Brazil.
Mo Freitas is looking to defend his Na Kama Kai Title from Stop 4 of the Standup World Tour at Huntington Beach, California, although he faces a formidable line up of talent. Featuring Noah Yap, Yuri Daberkow, Mo and Riggs Napoleon, the upcoming Final will be an intense match up, as the world’s top young standup paddlers step up to battle at Honoli’i
After an epic day of action at Honoli’i Beach Park, the Trials are over, and athletes competing in the Main Event are readying themselves for tomorrow’s competition. Also to come is the Women’s Exhibition event and the Finals of the Na Kama Kai Youth Challenge. –Courtesy Standup World Tour
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