Haleiwa, Hawai`i (Nov.16 1996) -- Surfers showed up today at Haleiwa's Ali`i Beach
Park for opening competition in the
OP Pro Surfing Championship, the first contest in
the month-long Red Dog Triple Crown of Surfing. Most of the day there were waves,
and some sun, too, as the Junior's and
Women's divisions got underway.
Surf was in the three- to five- foot rangeand fed by major rainstorms all week long, the ocean wasn't exactly turquoise blue, it was Hawaii's other color -- red dirt. But the surfers didn't mind, they were happy to be in any color water surfing in the worlds most well-known competition on Oahu's famous North Shore.
The Junior event is eight years old, and represents the first time a junior competition has ever been held in conjunction with the Triple Crown of Surfing. For the past 15 years, the Op Pro has been held at Huntington Beach, Calif.,
Competitors 19 and under, from high schools around the United States, Puerto Rico and Australia were able to take time off from school to come to Hawai`i. Seven of Hawaii's best surfers are also in the OP Junior.
Bruce Irons, 17, from Hanalei is one of several who advanced to the quarter finals where he will meet fellow Hawaiian Dayton Segundo, 18, from Haleiwa.
"I just tried to stay focused, because some of the guys are a step better," said Segundo, who has a home break advantage. "lt was a hard wave today -- a little bumpy a little windy, there was a slight current and the waves were not too clean."
"I was hoping for big, clean surf, but this was fun," said Irons. "The competition is difficult, I've surfed against them (the other competitors) before. My heats depend on how the waves go. If they're good, l'm happy, I get the rhythm. "
Segundo and lrons will meet Ben Bourgeois, 18, from Wilmington, North Carolina and Chris Ward, 18, from San Juan Capistrano, Calif. Other's advancing are: Cole Anderson, USA Jason Bogle, USA-Hawai`i Shaun Burrell, USA Taj Burrow, Australia Omar Etcheverry, USA: Nathan Hedge C.J. Hobgood, USA: Damien Hobgood, USA: Andy lrons, USA-Hawai`i: Troy Tecklenbert, USA Rob Zitz, USA:
Melanie Bartels, 14, advanced from her morning heat into a challenging late afternoon heat but the time she got in the water for her afternoon heat, the waves were windblown and it was raining.
"I felt nervous because the girls in this contest are good," Bartels said. "I think about what moves l'm going to do and pick the good waves. Her mom Lucy was excited and anxious. "We always want her to win, to do well, we make sure she goes to practice." However, Melanie will have to try again in the next women's contest, because she didn't make it through her heat today.
Thunder and lightning, onshore wind and torrential rain made for one of the most difficult women's heats in surfing history. But Japan's Narumi Kitagawa, Hawaii's Megan Abubo, Keala Kennelly and Betty Depolito stuck it out all the way to the end of the last 25-minute women's heat of the day.
Junior and women's competition is expected to continue Monday, surf permitting.
Call the Contest Hotline: 808-637-6376 after 0700 HST for information.
Official WebSite: http://holoholo.org/triplecrown/
For Media Info:
Triple Crown News Directory