Stein-lager/Ezekiel Sunset Soul Challenge back to roots
Ezekiel Sunset Pointe Soul Challenge
Presented by Steinlager
Sunset (Point) Beach, North Shore
12/13 April 2003
Stein-lager/Ezekiel Sunset Soul Challenge gets back to grass roots
Honolulu, Hi- 13 April 2003 : There were old surfers and young boards; young surfers and old boards. They were all thrown into the mix in the inaugural Stein-lager/Ezekiel Sunset Soul Challenge yesterday at Sunset Beach. The unique contest drew around 100 surfers and almost as many styles of surfboards.
"We kind of wanted to go back to the grass roots, to the soul surfing of the 1960s and ´70s," said contest director Reid Inouye. In keeping with that theme, the competitors were judged on "old school" maneuvers. Waves ranged from 3 to 6 feet, and long, smooth rides were rewarded over the modern-day power moves.
"The surfboards have changed so much over the course of 30 years, and so has the surfing," said head judge Jack Shipley. "So it was kind of fun to go back in time and judge these guys on the criteria we were using 30 years ago because the criteria has changed drastically since then."
There were various divisions for the various boards, including "relic" divisions for surfers who could manage to find actual boards from the 1970s and ´80s. Chris Owens of Sunset Beach dusted off a 20-year-old board from a stash under his house and rode it to victory in the Relic Shortboard division.
"It´s an original-style thruster, and it brought back a lot of memories," Owens said of the board. "It really makes you appreciate things. The boards they make now are so much thinner and faster." As for the judging criteria, Owens said: "If you´re going to ride an old board, it only makes sense that you try to do old moves."
There were also divisions for modern-day surfboards, but those competitors also had to perform old-style moves. "We focused on complete rides and style - the whole presentation," Shipley said. "If this were a regular (world tour) contest, it would be based more on the wham-bam power maneuvers."
The contest was perhaps best personified by the "Soul Arch" division. Competitors in that division could ride any type of board, but they had to attempt to stay in a classic arched-back pose on the wave for as long as possible.
"I hate to sound trippy-hippy, but you really had to get your groove on and put your feeling into it," said Maui´s Chris Vandervoort, who won the Soul Arch division. "This contest really opened up to the old days, when it was all about freedom of expression."
Vandervoort also placed fourth in the Longboard Shapers division. In that division, every competitor had to ride a board he shaped himself. "Just looking at all the different categories, you knew this was going to be a good contest," he said. "The competitive pro contests can be too restrictive sometimes. This one wasn´t like that. It was just about having fun."
Perhaps because of the format, several Sunset Beach veterans turned out yesterday, some unexpectedly. Brian Suratt did not plan to enter the contest because he was sick all week. He showed up at Sunset Beach anyway yesterday and wound up winning the prestigious Legends division. That division was restricted to Sunset Beach experts, and Suratt prevailed over such ´70s standouts as Buttons Kaluhiokalani and Ben Aipa.
"It made me real happy that somebody came up with an idea like this," said Suratt, 51. "I just hope this becomes a tradition." Inouye already has plans to do just that. He said he would like to invite international surfers to next year´s contest, and turn it into a two-day event.
"The best way to learn is at contests like this, where there are so many different people," Suratt said. "I still learn from the kids - the way they surf; and I still try to teach and coach them."
True to the old school theme, no prize money was awarded to the winners, and all the contest officials and judges worked as non-paid volunteers.
1, Brian Suratt. 2, Ben Aipa. 3, Buttons Kaluhiokalani. 4, Dave Riddle. 5, Jungle Agnoson.
1, Chris Vandervoort. 2, Jamie Ballenger. 3, Ben Kealoha Jr. 4, Jonah Morgan. 5, Rodney Nakasato. 6, Lance Ohata.
1, Andres Chispa. 2, Alan Sekiya. 3, Francis Quirk. 4, Doug Lock. 5, Ted Curtis. 6, Andrew Maddock.
1, Keola Rapoza. 2, Ben Aipa. 3, John Marr. 4, Chris Vandervoort. 5, Lance Ohata. 6, Tim Groh.
1, David Banquil. 2, John Wade. 3, Darryl Aki. 4, Doug Lock. 5, Michael Saiz. 6, Steve Murphy.
1, Mike Latronic. 2, Arnold Dowling. 3, Richard Sanders. 4, Dave Riddle. 5, Larry Haynes. 6, Adam Bordellow.
1, April Grover. 2, Karen Gallagher. 3, Ilikea Handley. 4, Tina Handley. 5, Patrice Basilio. 6, Kari Barello.
1, Chris Owens. 2, Tim Seneff. 3, David Banquil. 4, Doug Lock. 5, Sean Murphy. 6, Aaron Ungerleider.
1, Keoki Saguibo. 2, Venton Siliado. 3, Keola Rapoza. 4, Ezra Rodrigues. 5, Ben Kealoha Jr. 6, Allen Wicklund.
1, Larry Haynes. 2, Mike Latronic. 3, Tommy Chun Ming. 4, Shawn Hepner. 5, Kevin Blunt. 6, Drew Miller.
Dayton Morinaga/HonoluluAdvertiser.com - Reid Inouye
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