Malia Manuel © ASP
Malia Manuel landed Women's World Tour final at Beachley Classic
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 30 April, 2012 : - - Los Angeles -- Hawaiian natural-footer Malia Manuel, 17, has made a statement on her opening campaign on the ASP Womens World Championship Tour, leading her rookie class as the first freshman to make a final while posting several top results in the first four events this year. In addition to her flare on the Top 17 stage, Manuel has done serious damage in Australia over the last three months, finishing runner-up in multiple ASP 6-Star events. ESPN caught up with the talented rookie to talk about her first impressions of the big leagues, and this
is their story
She started the season with a third place at the Australian Open. Then it was a solid fifth in her maiden World Tour event. She followed that up by taking runner up at a pair of 6-stars, and fifth place at Bells. Last week, she made the finals of the Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic. All season long, shes been rolling right over the competition. And she was recently in the Wall Street Journal. So who is this girl?
Its not like 18-year-old Malia Manuel is a new name to womens surfing. After all, she became the youngest shredder to ever win the US Open when she aced the circus at Huntington in 2008 (at 14-years-old.) Born into a Hawaiian family steeped in surfing tradition, she was on a board at age two.
And now, as a rookie, she currently sits in the No. six slot on the Womens Tour, just below 2011 World Champ Carissa Moore and just above another rookie phenom, Laura Enever. But how about the amount of times shes come up against current World No. one Stephanie Gilmore? And shes held her off at the Beachley Classic and Margaret River. The young upstarts are proving a point this year and we caught up with Malia Manuel on Kauai to get a better handle on this giant slayer.
ESPN: So that first leg of the tour must have been quite a blur for you?
Malia Manuel: Three months flew by in Australia. Ive never been away from home that long so I was anticipating what it would be like. Doing seven events back to back to back was a challenge, but I managed to stay healthy and it all was worth it.
Do you remember what you were doing when Steph Gilmore won her first title in 2007?
I was 13 years old attending Kapa'a Middle School when Steph won her first World Title. She was already my favorite surfer by then and I really admired her cool vibe. Two years later, the morning after I won US Open, I got to go on my first Indo boat trip with her and the top surfer girls. I actually got to celebrate my 15th birthday with them on the boat.
So what's it like to come up against her now in pretty much every event?
It's been a challenge always having to surf against Steph in the early rounds. She is still my favorite surfer and it feels surreal I am competing against her. In the quarters at the Commonwealth Beachley Classic, it was difficult for me to grasp the fact that I was in the lead and needed to keep her from catching another wave. Hopefully with these recents results on Tour, I won't be seeded with her until the latter part of the event!
Read the full interview at ESPN.com
Source: ASP Int'l Media
Author: Dave Prodan
Tags: ASP, Team, Malia Manuel, Hawaii, ESPN
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