Malia Manuel wins O’Neill Island Girl Junior Pro, Kauai
O'Neill Island Girl Junior Pro/Rochelle Ballard O'Neill Surf Camp
Supported By Reef and Nukumoi Surf Co.
Prince Kuhio, Kauai
12 - 13 August 2006
Malia Manuel Wins O’Neill Island Girl Junior Pro - Earning a round one slot in 2006 Triple Crown contest and $1,500
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 13 August, 2006 : - - Poipu, Kauai - Thirteen-year-old Kauai surfer Malia Manuel won the 2006 Rochelle Ballard O’Neill Island Girl Junior Pro supported by Reef and Nukumoi Surf Co. today at PK’s on the south shore of Kauai. Edging out former Pipeline Women’s Pro champ, runner-up Alana Blanchard, Malia delivered a series of high-scoring rides with smooth top-to-bottom turns and a number of perfectly executed 360s during the heat on the clean 2- to 3-foot waves.
Besides the $1,500 cash prize, Malia wins a slot in the first round of the OP Pro Hawaii at Haleiwa, the first jewel of the prestigious Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. Finalists Alana Blanchard (Kauai), Leila Hurst (Kauai) and Coco Ho (Oahu) also receive slots into the trials for the Roxy Pro, the second jewel of the Triple Crown at Sunset Beach.
“The idea behind the junior pro and the ASP format is to take these girls to the next level. At the Triple Crown, they’ll compete against the world’s top female surfers,” says Ballard, who was proud to host the event on her home island of Kauai. “The Hawaii girls are totally ripping right now. One day they’re going to dominate the world tour.”
Malia Manuel : photo Bernie Baker
The girls surfed aggressively heat after stacked heat, pulling off maneuvers and tricks typically seen more during free surf sessions than in competition. “I felt confident after I got a couple, so I just thought I’d go for it,” said Malia, adding she was pleased with the 4-man, 20-minute heat format. “This was the best contest I ever surfed, and the only one I’ve ever surfed for money.”
Brennecke’s generously donated a luau lunch, and O’Neill, Reef and Nukumoi Surf Co. styled the girls out with goodie bags, T-shirst, stickers and posters. “O’Neill is really pleased to see this event grow. The girls’ surfing speaks for itself—they’re pushing the boundaries more and more, and we’re glad to provide an opportunity to showcase their talent,” says O’Neill Juniors’ Sports Marketing Manager Karin Kendrick.
Contest director Nelson Togioka emphasized what a positive event it is for Hawaii surfers. “It’s a good self-esteem builder for all the kids, whether they ultimately make it to the pro level or not. It’s great for Hawaii, makes us stronger,” he said. “All these people—the judges, the helpers—they all came out of the system, and now they give back to the system.”
The junior pro followed the 6th Annual Rochelle Ballard O’Neill surf camp. Overnight campers from Kauai, Oahu, Maui and the Big Island enjoyed a full day of fun, from surfing with Rochelle to hip hop lessons and a dance-off. Taira Barron was the winner of the Rell Sunn Inspiration Award. “I’m honored to have been a part of it all.”
Contest Director Rochelle Ballard : photo Dan Devine
As a contest surfer and camp counselor, she was able to help advise the younger girls. “The girls learn from each other and the older girls can mentor them, not just surfing-wise, but attitude-wise, cleaning up, helping others.”
An expression session featuring Kauai’s top boys and special invitee Sena Seramur was held between the semis and finals. Kyle Ramey won $500 for best maneuver, and Aaron Swanson won $500 for best trick, landing an air-360 into a reverse.
O’Neill is the world’s original surf brand. The family-owned and operated company distributes its products to 85 countries, including more than 2,000 specialty wetsuit and clothing retailers in the U.S. Consumer information is available online.
1) Malia Manuel (Kauai)
2) Alana Blanchard (Kauai)
3) Leila Hurst (Kauai)
4) Coco Ho (Oahu)
Contests - Surfersvillage