Keiki win at free surf contest

NAWILIWILI — Kaipo Jaquias, a Triple Crown of Surfing winner, said sometimes you gotta yell at the kids and they’ll do better.

Jaquias was coaching the keiki in the water Saturday for the finals of the bodyboarding, 12 and under division. Several of the participants had learned their skills from the professional surfer and athlete.

“Elijah and Iziah Henderson both learned from him,” said Lopaka Bukoski, who joined the audience atop the sea wall. “I had to do the blessing for the Kids Summer Fest with my cousin, but had to come and watch the boys.”

Isaac Nishimoto, garbed in a red rash guard, worked his way to the top of the tightly contested division, edging out Kekoa Camelo who squeezed his wave selections and worked the rides to its maximum. But the effort came up short as Nishimoto finished tops followed by Camelo.

Leizer Nishimoto, Isaac’s cousin, filled in the third spot after being limited on the number of rides in the final heat. Elijah Henderson, Jaden Waldman and Iziah Henderson rounded out the field.

Ezekiel Bartels-Brown topped the bodyboard, 13 to 15 division, followed by Pookela Bartels and Kaenen Lacaden.

The Menehune, or 11 and under, made up one of the largest divisions of the surf contest held at Kalapaki Beach designed to give young surfers the experience of surfing under contest format conditions.

Ryder Bennett topped the Menehune class followed by Tia Jaquias, Isaiah Matsumura, Jackson Krest, Lililehua Taylor, Fin Buick, Ilihia Anakalea, Leilani Weber, Kaia Krest, Sydney Doi, Audrey Iglay and Hazyn Botelho.

Ava Lani Lagundino rode her way to the top of the girls, 12 to 15 division. She was followed by Kaya Waldman, Morgan Iglay, Lily Stokes, Laila Waldman and Aubrielle Havens.

Logan Krest topped the boys, 12 and 13 division, followed by Kainoa Merano, Luke Hunadi, James Pratt, Tristan Temme, Kaikea Simpson and Kamalii Andrade.

Each of the participants earned an O’Neill backpack filled with prizes, and received lunch served up by the crew from Duke’s Canoe Club at Kalapaki Beach.

“This was such a wonderful event,” said Sara Miura, the marketing director for Deja Vu Surf Hawaii. “I’m overwhelmed by the support we received to reach this good feeling of seeing families come out to support their children.”

The contest’s title sponsor was O’Neill.

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