HONOLULU — Kauai’s Kalani Vierra and Krystl Apeles are the 2017 International Tandem Surfing Association’s world champions after winning the tandem surfing event during the Duke’s OceanFest in Waikiki.
The ITSA World Championship featured the top 12 teams from Hawaii, USA, Federated States of Micronesia competing over two days for the title Thursday at Kuhio Beach in Waikiki.
According to Jack Leonard of the Kauai Gymnastics Academy and tandem coach, Vierra and Apeles soared to the title, winning each heat and the finals.
“This was an awesome contest with ocean drama, lots of camera crews, New York documentation on Tandem Surfing and local news,” Leonard said. “I just returned Thursday night and I am extremely proud to tell you Kalani and Krystl are Kauai’s World Champions.”
The Kauai tandem surfing pair opened the first round by amassing the highest point total of three rounds, advancing after collecting 11.30 points and holding off the couple of Leleo Kinimaka and Megan Talabis — a team from Hawaii — who finished the round at 10.75 points.
During the semifinals, Vierra and Apeles again soared to the top, collecting the highest point total of two heats at 15.42 points. During the semis, they were challenged by another Hawaii couple, Jordan Patterson and Angelee Homma, who finished at 13.15 points. Kinimaka and Talabis settled in the third spot at 10.33 points.
Vierra and Apeles continued to dominate the Waikiki waves, finishing the championship round with 12.42 points over the Patterson/Homma team who ended at 8.07 points, according to results provided by Leonard.
During the tandem competition year which started in February, Vierra and Apeles have advanced with first place finishes. In February, Vierra and Apeles finished first at the Buffalo competition in Makaha on Oahu, a ITSA unsanctioned meet.
The Kauai tandem couple earned first place during the ITSA 2-star event at Turtle Bay on Oahu in March before taking another first place finish in June at the Pop’s Ah Choy Tandem Pro, an ITSA 2-star event.