Ho’okipa Beach Park, October 31st – On what AWT announcer Chris Seeley dubbed “Monster Monday”, huge 6-8 foot surf started pounding the North Shore of Maui as the winds went a little light, making for incredibly challenging but incredibly exciting conditions. Veteran Ho’okipa sailor Josh Stone called it when he said the tricky conditions was going to leave lots of sailors on the rocks – indeed, not ten minutes into his first session, the Ho’okipa veteran took his own trip into Ho’okipa’s infamous rock garden. Fortunately, most sailors were able to to avoid the danger, and navigate the light winds, and the contest was on!
Organizers charged right into the double elimination bracket for Amateurs and Youth, mixing in the final heats from the Expert single elimination. Waves started at about logo high in the morning, and quickly pumped to near mast-high conditions as the day went on. The expert division drew a huge crowd to the bluffs and plenty of ooh’s and ahh’s from the judges as the best sailors in the world ripped into classic Hawaiian surf. While the wind went slightly lighter in the afternoon and organizers had to give up hope of starting the expert double elimination rounds, the single elimination was completed in exciting fashion.
In the Master’s Class Jeff Henderson claimed the title, in the Youth Morgan Noireaux, for the women Junko Nagoshi, in the Amateur division Jay Lee, and the experts division Camille Juban. The last three heats of the day – youth, amateur and expert – were incredibly exciting for our spectators and web audience as the competitors dropped into massive waves. There was a closely contested heat from Bernd Roediger and Morgan Noireaux, while amateur winner Jay Lee got lucky with Neil Turpin ending up on the rocks. In the expert’s division, Camille Juban simply dominated Kai Katchadourian, Marcilio Browne, and Josh Stone.
The winners were announced to the cheers from crowd and over the live web cam as soon as the sailors from the last heat could get a tow in, and the contest will wrap up with further celebration tonight at Maui Tropical Plantation. We’re looking forward to being back next year!