Tricky ‘Bowls’ favors locals’ know-how

HONOLULU — Local knowledge provided the winning edge yesterday for local Ala Moana Bowls surfers at the second event of the Macy’s E-Series — a $10,000, one-star World Qualifying Series event presented by ASP Hawai‘i. Kekoa Cazimero, Robert Wurlitzer, Randall Paulson and veteran Larry Rios cashed in thousands of hours of time invested at the break to swamp their opposition, mastering solid 2- to 4-foot surf that was complicated by strong and variable winds. The champion of this event will be crowned at the conclusion of today’s competition and will take home $2,500.

Eighteen-year-old goofy-footer Cazimero emerged the top scorer from the day’s first and second round heats, winning his way through to today’s final day of action with a near-perfect two-wave total of 18.5 points after individual scores of 9.0 and 9.5. The highlight of his front-side attack on Bowls was an air reverse 360-degree turn that sealed the win.

On a good day of summer swell at Bowls, it isn’t unusual for the lineup in the take-off zone to exceed 70 surfers. Yesterday’s competition format cleared the water for a maximum of just four competitors per 20-minute heat, offering plenty of room for expression.

“To be out at my homebreak, it honestly doesn’t even feel like a contest,” said Cazimero. “It was a really fortunate experience to have just four guys out. I’m usually out here everyday when I’m at home. Conditions were unreal. It was a little onshore, but I like it like that because the wave is a lot more whackable. It was pulsing with all the sets. Crazy good.

“I was just focusing on getting as many waves as I can because once I get on the wave there is no holding back — it’s all high performance. I got two really nice lefts — just six o’clock, 12 o’clock the whole time. If you want to be recognized you need to do something big and [those air reverse 360’s] are how I usually end my waves at Bowls.”

Another standout today was Kailua’s Robert Wurlitzer, 21, who has feasted on Bowls surf since his small-boy days. Averaging wave scores of sevens and eights, Wurlitzer also advanced to Round 3.

“As a small kid, my dad would drop us off down here, give us some money and we’d be here all day going between the surf and the “Hula Dogs” stand,” said Wurlitzer, whose nine-to-five life these days limits his sessions at Bowls. “We’d surf this place two, three times a day and push it as hard as we could. So nowadays I feel like I have a home in the break out here.

“I’m from the Windward side and the waves are always on-shore, so the bumpy conditions didn’t matter to me.

“I’m feeling even happier about the result today because I made it through with another great friend — Kanoa Chung.For both of us to make it through is a blessing.”

Two of the four finalists from the first Macy’s E-Series event, held in May at Ma‘ili Point, O‘ahu, advanced to Round 3 with second place finishes in their respective heats. The first event’s champion, T.J. Barron (Hale‘iwa), advanced behind Matt Archbald (Hale‘iwa), and Flynn Novak (Hale‘iwa) moved through behind Dustin Cuizon (Makakilo). Love Hodel (Hale‘iwa) was eliminated in the second round, and Joel Centeio (Hale‘iwa) will surf in the first heat today when competition resumes with Heat 9 of the second round.

This is the second and final men’s pro event of the Macy’s E-Series. The third and final event of the Series will be a Grade 1-Junior Pro that will be held at Kuhio Beach, Waikiki, on Aug. 18.

ASP Hawai‘i and Macy’s collaborated to produce the Macy’s E-Series, giving Hawai‘i’s pro surfing community a much needed opportunity to win valuable WQS points at home breaks. These points will count towards qualification for the 2008 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing and the 2009 elite World Championship Tour.

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