BY JODI WILMOTT – HONOLULU – It was a dream come true Tuesday for two aspiring young surfers from Hawaii, who got their chance to take on their state’s top talent in the $25,000 Sponsor Me Hawaii pro surfing event at Ala Moana Bowls. Molokai’s Taoa Pou, 13, and Hilo’s Ian Bowman, 18, were granted wildcard spots into the Sponsor Me and made the most of the excellent opportunity and clean, head-high waves.
Bowman is through to the final day of competition after posting a solid win in round two. He attributed much of his success to the contest tips and preparation he received from one of Hawaii’s most successful pro surfers and Sponsor Me mentor, Myles Padaca.
“Myles was saying to catch that corner bowl,” said Bowman. “Sure enough, as I was paddling out I got lucky. A set (wave) swung wide and I caught it. After that, I got my confidence, went and sat out the back and got another one.
“The game plan was to snag one out the back, get something under your belt and just sit and catch some good sets. I was also pulling the tactic that everybody knows: push them deep and swing wide.”
Padaca, who will himself enter the draw in the next round of competition as one of the top seeds, was proud of his student today. Padaca’s main business these days is coaching and mentoring through his company Progressive Surfing, and he knows a good student when he sees one.
“It feels good [watching one of your kids that you coach make his heat] because maybe some of things I said he got and he can use those as tools for the next event,” said Padaca.
“Ian really stuck to the game plan, went out there and stayed super busy. Got a couple of scores under his belt early and chipped away at those scores and replaced them with better scores. That was the game plan going into it.
“I know he’s going to be super excited and going into the round of 64 against some of the top rated surfers is the highlight of his career.”
Molokai’s Taoa Pou aimed to put on the most exciting show he could while he had the attention of the surfing world. He didn’t disappoint, almost pulling off a reverse air-360 that was watched around the world via the surf.transworld.net live webcast of the event.
Pou finished in fourth place in his second round heat, but can take pride that he lost to some of Hawaii’s top surfing talent. He had nothing but smiles and praise for the experience and one of his Sponsor Me mentors in the event: 2000 ASP world surfing champion Sunny Garcia.
“It’s feels amazing!” said Pou. “I feel really blessed and being coached by (Sunny) is awesome.”
Bowman and Pou were mentored into the event and throughout the first day of competition with coaching and strategy by some of the sport’s greats: Sunny Garcia, Pancho Sullivan, Myles Padaca and Sponsor Me’s own Makuakai Rothman.
Top scoring surfers today included Dustin Cuizon (Ewa Beach), with the highest heat score of the day (16.75 out of 20); Randall Paulson (Ala Moana, 16.65); Jesse Merle-Jones (16.15, Kauai); and Kalani Robb (16.0, Sunset Beach).
For those not fortunate enough to be here on sunny Oahu, Hawaii, the brilliance of Ubiquity Broadcasting Corporation’s webcast with surf.transworld.net was almost as good as being here.
“We did the world’s first action sports IT backhaul,” said Ubiquity’s CEO, Chris Carmichael. “What that means is that in a remote area you have no fiber drop, no microwave dishes or satellites. We used our compression technology and we backhauled the content to the broadcasters synched the sound up and the rest is history.
“For these who are upcoming, I want to take a small event and broadcast it to a larger level. We simulcast: HD to the broadcaster and HD to the iPad and iPhone. And, we can also go to the Droid.”
The Sponsor Me Hawaii event requires one more day of solid waves to wrap up. The complete holding period for the event is June 14-26. Call (808)596-SURF to find out if the event is on each day.
As an ASP Hawaii WQS event, The Sponsor Me Hawaii is a critically important event of the local surfers on three levels: International ratings points, the opportunity to win prize money and the chance to claim a spot in the coveted year-end $1,000,000 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing series.
After the enormous success of the event last year, the Sony Corporation has come on board as one of the main sponsors at Ala Moana Bowls this year. Sony is enthralled with Sponsor Me’s business plan and finds it a perfect fit for their products and business model.
All surfers from Hawaii unless noted otherwise.
Surfers listed in order of placing, 1st through 4th.
Each score out of a total of 20.
Round of 112 (Round 1)
H1: Kalani Robb 16.0; Barak Maor 14.25; Sion Milosky 7.0; Shaun Paulson 2.25
H2: Austin Vicente 10.0; Kaupena Miranda 6.75; Kalani Chapman 5.1; Christopher Latronic 3.85
H3: Evan Valiere 10.5; Isaac Stant 10.25; Rio Flores 9.2; Micah Moniz 6.55
H4: Alex Smith 11.5; Keoki Young 9.0; Cameron Carmichael 5.1; Adam Crawford 2.5
H5: Kai Barger 14.5; Greg Nakamura 13.75; Mike Akima 10.25; Kelani Keuwe 5.65
H6: Jason Magallanes 8.35; Cheyne Willis 4.5; Alen Schyler 3.25; Jason Frederico
H7: Jesse Merle-Jones 14.0; Derek Ho 10.5; Josh Rex 0.0
H8: Dustin Cuizon 16.75; John Irons 13.5; Albert Conone 5.25; Brian Frederico 4.35
Round of 96: (Round 2)
H1: Kalani Robb 12.0; Larry Rios 8.65; Mikey Bruneau 7.6; Nakoa DeCoite 4.75
H2: Zachary Arreola 11.15; Barak Maor 10.0; Rico Jimenez 6.95; Richard Sheppard 2.35
H3: Austin Vicente 11.75; Drew Pringle 9.5; Chris Pruett 6.1; David Giddings 0.0
H4: Makani Ciotti 9.5; Makai McNamara 8.5; Kaupena Miranda 6.05; Koalaukani 4.5
H5: Evan Valiere 15.0; Theo Niarchos 10.75; Robert Petterson 9.75; Taoa Pou 6.6
H6: Kawai Lindo; Isaac Stant 6.35; Scott Fountain 6.25; Dwayne Scharsch 5.5
H7: Alex Smith 14.75; Edrick Baldwin 9.35; Sai Smiley 8.25; Robert Hennessy 8.0
H8: Davin Torres-Jaime 12.25; Keoki Young 7.75; Stephen Koehne 6.75; John Turner 6.75
H9: Kai Barger 14.75; Lance Groover 12.25; Barrett Chatson 12.0; Masaijah Lani 7.0
H10: Kawehi Ponce 12.5; Greg Nakamura 10.25; Macy Mullen 9.85; Gavin Garcia 2.75
H11: Matt Meola 14.25; Jason Magallanes 13.0; Greg Apo 6.5; Chris Macres (USA) 3.8
H12: Ian Bowman 11.75; Kevin Kapsky 11.4; Cheyne Willis 4.25; Nelson Sadoy 2.55
H13: Jesse Merle-Jones 16.15; Ha’a Aikau 9.85; Billy Choi 7.85; Koa Rothman 5.25
H14: Derek Ho 13.0; Jamie O’Brien 10.13; Tamayo Perry 6.35; Zotan Torkos 4.15
H15: Randall Paulson 16.65; Dustin Cuizon 16.5; Derek Wong 12.85; Doug Silva 11.5
H16: Keoni Nozaki 8.45; Jeremy Doudt 8.1; John Irons 6.5; David Guerrero 4.75