Vierra, Apeles-Erikson tandem champions

Kalani Vierra and Krystil Apeles-Erickson are confirmed as the world champions in tandem surfing, according to Tiffany Rabacal-Harper, the International Surfing Association co-president.

“I definitely agree that it is a big accomplishment to celebrate on Kauai,” Rabacal-Harper said in an email. “I have competed with Kalani, and have been coached by Coach Jack Leonard, too — back in 2012.”

Vierra and Apeles-Erickson captured the world tandem surfing championships June 28, after winning the Pakaloha Bikinis Tandem Surfing World Championship in Waikiki, finishing first over the team of Alika Willis and Leslie Sanchez Richards of Waikiki.

Third place in the championship meet went to Rico Leroy and Sarah Burel, a team representing France. Leleo Kinimaka and Lauren Ouye filled in the No. 4 slot.

“Alika and Leslie trained diligently as a team over the past year, and rightfully earned their second place finish,” Rabacal-Harper said. “It was a big upset for them to beat the reigning 2018 World Champions.”

Vierra and Apeles-Erickson made a statement, early on, finishing the preliminaries with high point honors at 15.25 points over the team of Leroy and Burel who posted 12.37 points. The team of Kinimaka and Ouye filled in with 11.03 points.

Moving to the finals, the Vierra-Apeles-Erickson duo continued to rule, finishing with high score honors over the team of Willis and Sanchez Richards.

The Kauai duo pulled in 13.067 points on the first lift with a Front Arch Split, Contortion, Pike, and Cradle over the efforts of the Willis-Sanchez Richards pair who came up with 11.40 points on a One Arm Back, Pike, Shoulder Stand, and Totem.

Vierra and Apeles-Erickson wrapped up the title in the second lift, finishing with 13.73 points to the Willis-Sanchez Richards challenge that ended with 10.83 points.


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