The day after Valentines had plenty of love and swell for the 3rd Annual Bank Of Hawaii Tow-In Surfing Championships presented by Buttons Hawaii and sanctioned by the Association of Professional Tow-Surfers. Solid 12-18 foot surf with glassy conditions greeted the first heats of the day at Puena Point, on Thursday, February 15, 2007.
“Chile, Mexico, Antarctica, I’m going, I’m surfing, for sure I'm going on this tour.”– Makua Rothman
Making it to the quarter finals of this first APT world tour event meant qualifying for a seeded spot in the upcoming events in Chile and Mexico and the winners would get over $9,000, the lion's share of the $25,000 purse.
Contestants came from as far as Brazil and Mexico with most of the players coming form California and Hawaii. The "smaller" surf allowed the riders to rip the waves high performance style including aerials.
Dustin Barca and Sion Milosky got one wave that allowed the rider to do huge stand-up rodeo loop, getting the crowd on their feet, but later failed to advance. Throughout the event Jamie Sterling's backside surfing was at a new level. And Garrett McNamara and his partner Kealii Mamala threw so much spray the helicopter had to use their windshield wipers. Many tube rides were attempted and those that pulled em off, advanced to the semi finals.
The finals were a Hawaii vs. Brazil 45 minute showdown. The surf became more hollow with the lower tide. The Hawaiian team of Ikaika Kalama and Makua Kai Rothman made it to the line-up first but the Brazil team of Carlos Burle & Eraldo Gueiros drew first blood in the finals. Both teams got several good rides It was nearly a tie by mid heat. Dozens of insane turns and tube tucks, but the Hawaii team's Ikaika Kalama's racing tube show sealed the deal as the judges awarded the team 10's across the board for the gutsy performance. It was truly the wave of the day.
Makua Rothman and Ikaika Kalama netted $9,300 and the top seed on the world tour. "Chile, Mexico, Antarctica, I'm going, I'm surfing, for sure I'm going on this tour." Rothman announced after collecting his check.
The Boys for Brazil took home $5,000 and a top seed in the world tour.
The conditions turned onshore in the middle on the day before the mean afternoon glass off and some tabulation errors also soured some competitors. "We are all professionals here so surfing the changing conditions is part of it. It turned out to be a great day of towing, This is for the Hawaiians, Rothman said.
"It was a great battle of big wave gladiators, with a super competitive final," said Rodney Kilborn, APT vice president and event sacti0ning director.
These competitors made the quarter finals and qualified for the new tour:
Grant Baker & Greg Long
Chuck Patterson & Scott Chandler
Garret McNamara & Kealii Mamala
Mike Parsons & Brock Little
The following surfers made the semi-finals and also qualified for the tour:
Jamie Sterling & Wendell Wall
Dustin Barca & Sion Milosky
Check www.Protowsurfers.com and www.Towsurfers.com for more information and photos.