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Locals Surf Into Summer By Breaking Bowls

Aloha wave warriors.

Sometimes the surf planets align for significant events. This occurred during Local Motion Surf into Summer for four days straight.

Hawaii’s largest amateur/ pro contest had four separate swells throughout the Memorial Day holiday weekend. Waves ranged from head high to a couple feet overhead with overall excellent conditions. The tournament had to add Friday to accommodate the growing list of pros who competed. Indeed, the summer of 2015 officially has kicked off, and we have a great forecast for June.

Out of 112 pros at the Surf into Summer, Hawaii took the top four spots. Kaimana Jaquias, son of local legend Kaipo Jaquias and a Kauai native, finished fourth. In third place was Hank Gaskell, the small wave maestro and big wave charger from Hana, Maui. In second place was 2000 world champ and six-time Vans Triple Crown champion Sunny Garcia. First place went to Joel Centeio from Haleiwa.

Even though he is only 32 years old, Joel has been in this game a long time. I’m sure the idea of a good Ala Moana Bowls with just a handful of guys out was an irresistible draw.

“This is by far the best Bowls I’ve ever surfed,” said Centeio. “The waves were insane the whole time … So it’s up there, man, and I’m stoked I won.”

Joel was born Feb. 18, 1983, and is well known as one of the most likable surfers you’ll ever meet. He won the 2009 Reef Hawaiian Pro, his local home break, and recently placed second in the Vans Triple Crown.

This past year at Pipe, Joel snagged a perfect 10 in a massive back door barrel that was clearly one of, if not the best, back door waves of the entire season. That’s a wave that will last Joel a lifetime.

Now check this out: More than 240 frothing amateurs joined the ranks at the iconic bowl, and many show great promise of becoming future pros. That’s a lot of competitive juice flowing out there, even without a giant-sized competition going on.

Many would claim Ala Moana to be the most competitive spot on the south shore. It’s not a friendly, shareable wave. The core folks who surf there a lot know how to line up just right. And they often don’t look in the review mirror. I don’t know how many times I’ve watched a total stranger pull into the perfect section while I straighten out in sad disgust. But hey, it’s a Darwinian wave, only the fittest and fastest survive.

Congrats to Junior Men’s Shortboard champion Kaulana Apo for winning the most highly rated amateur division against Cody Young and Noa Mizuno, who finished second and third, respectively.

For the Wahine Shortboard 17 & Under final, Kailua’s Brisa Hennessy won the top spot against five other quality competitors.

Congratulations also to Julie Nishimoto, for taking second, and Emily Nishimoto, who finished third.

A few other notable names to drop are Luke Swanson and Tony Nunes, who claimed victories in the Menehune and boys short board divisions, respectively. Men’s short and long board winners were Justin Silva and La‘akea Davis. The women’s shortboard winner was Missy Valdez, while Eston Hori won the masters division and Aaron Witt took home the senior men’s championship. I have the full list of finalists on the Surf News Network’s website.

A million mahalos to Freesurf magazine for the awesome coverage and photos. My special thanks to Tim Mock and the Local Motion ohana for such an amazing and unforgettable year, and to all who came out to kick off the summer of 2015. Can’t wait for 2016.

The forecast can’t wait either. I just hope the summer keeps up the good surf because May ended with the biggest south-bysouthwest of the season. This long period (20-24 seconds) episode popped the buoys Saturday, rose slowly Sunday and peaked June 1 with above-advisory-level waves. Some spots cranked out 4- to 7- foot overhead sets at top spots.

There’s nothing on the charts for another swell this big, but let’s keep our surfboards, beach towels and fingers crossed. Aloha for now and mahalo for being here with me in Central Oahu Voice.

GQ, droppin’ in for you.