Haleiwa, HI (Wednesday, Nov. 20, 1996) -- The storm ended,
moved into the three- to five-foot range and men's trial heats got underway in the
OP Pro Surfing Championship,
the first event in the Red Dog Triple Crown of Surfing series on Oahu's North Shore.
The OP Pro has drawn competitors from Australia, Brazil, Indonesia, Japan, Great Britain, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, South Africa, Hawai`i and the east and west coasts of the Mainland United States. Some of the visiting surfers are in Hawai`i to face big winter waves for the first time. Others have surfed here before.
Dan Malloy, 18, from Ventura Calif., is surfing both the Men's and Junior competition, but he's surfed the North Shore, where his older brother Chris lives, for the past five years. Malloy is entered in both the Junior and Men's divisions and doesn't seem to find it particularly stressful.
"Its kinda fun, it gives me two chances to surf the contest," Malloy said. "I like it, I just try my best in both of them so I'll have a better chance of doing good in at least one of them."
Contest officials called the waves three- to-five-feet but the 6'2" surfer described them as: "head high and a bit bumpy. The wind's making a little cross chop and its hard to line up. The set waves aren't the best so I've been going for the smaller ones to get as many maneuvers as I can," Malloy said.
Is being tall a disadvantage?
"A lot of people think being tall is a disadvantage, but it's always worked out for the best for me," Malloy said. "There was a time when I was really growing fast and it seemed kind of hard, but with this wind, being a little bit heavier and taller has helped me a lot.
"I still have a lot of work to do. I don't have a patent maneuver I can do very well," Malloy said. In the Junior division, his personal nemeses appear to be Australia's Taj Burrows, North Carolina's Ben Bougeois and the Hawaii's Andy and Bruce Irons. Like many of the younger generation Dan's his heroes are Kelly Slater, Tom Curren, Luke Egan, and Mark Occhilupo. He also hopes to go on the ASP World Tour tour.
Maz Quinn, 20, from Gisborne, (on the east coast of the North Island), New Zealand is competing only in the OP Pro but it's his first Hawaiian competition.
"Today's waves are sort of small and its windy, but there's a lot of power there. I took a bigger board out and had quite a bit of fun in my heats." Quinn is the only Kiwi in the OP Pro and returns to New Zealand after the contest to compete in the summer surfing circuit there. He'll definitely be back for the 1997 series.
Keith Malloy, 22, kept brother Dan company while waiting through this week's postponement period.
"Every morning we wake up early and call in to see if its on, but actually 'standby' is something that happens often in Hawai`i," Keith said. "Often, the contests go on hold for half a week or so. I knew the swell would come with some good surf to compete in. You're sure a little anxious, waking up every morning and wondering if its on or not, but that sharpens the adrenalin edge."
Keith place third overall in the 1992 OP Junior and thinks OP's move to Hawai`i is "real neat. It gives the younger surfers an opportunity to get out there in some bigger surf and see how they do. It's something they'll need in the future and its a good idea for the juniors to get out and compete in Hawai`i."
He doesn't miss the big crowds that showed up for the contest in Huntington Beach, Calif. "I think it will be just as good or better, here, and the big waves are always exciting to watch."
The competition continues tomorrow, surf permitting.
For recorded contest information, please call: 808-637-6376.
Media information: Carol Hogan
Triple Crown News Directory