Sunset Beach Pro kicks off at Turtle Bay Resort

The first day of the Sunset Beach Pro presented by Malibu and Starboard and in association with Maui Jim saw a beautiful day here at Turtle Bay Resort. It all started with an amazing Na Kama Youth Clinic, hosted by Founder and Champion Surfer, Duane DeSoto on the beautiful east side of Turtle Bay.

50 young kids from the area congregrated for an incredible ocean sports experience with amongst the World’s best Stand Up Paddle surfers and Na Kama Kai Volunteers.

Na Kama Kai is a Hawaii non profit organization founded by Ocean Sports legend, Duane DeSoto, to provide unique experiences and opportunities for Hawaii’s underprivileged youth , both in and around the ocean. With a mix of culture, environment and on the water sports, Na Kama Kai provides an incredible resource for Hawaii kids, something that the Stand Up World Tour strives to perpetuate wherever it goes.

A big Mahalo to all the volunteers and of course our host, Turtle Bay for providing such a perfect setting for a beautiful morning in the ocean.

The Na Kama Kai Youth Challenge further perpetuates the vision of encouraging youth participation and excellence in the sport by celebrating the World’s best U16 Stand Up Paddlesurfers in the now famous Na Kama Kai Youth Challenge.

In the unusually challenging conditions on the west side of Turtle Bay, some of the best U16 surfers from Hawaii, the US mainland, Europe and Brazil went out to do battle and showcase just how far the youth has come in the sport of Stand Up Paddling, and illustrate the real future that lies ahead of us.

With previous Na Kama Kai Champions Bernd Roedigger (Sunset ’11), Benoit Carpentier (France ’11), Mo Freitas (California ’11) and Riggs Napoleon (Hawaii Island ’11) met by other stand outs such as Noah Yap from Maui, Yuri Daberkow from Brazil and Uluboi Napeahi from the Big Island, the action was always going to be impressive.

In the end, far from home, it was the Frenchman Benoit Carpentier who rose to the top, just edging ahead of Bernd Roedigger from Maui, Mo Freitas from Oahu and Noah Yap from Maui. Benoit receives his very own Go Pro Camera, and a chance to put together content throughout the year for a Final Go Pro contest to be announced shortly at Go Pro is the Official Sports Camera of the Stand Up World Tour.

As we have seen across the board, women have taken to the sport of stand up paddling more than any other ocean sport, and in the surfing realm, the talent is really starting to shine, leading to this first official women’s event here at the 2012 Sunset Beach Pro. From as young as 13 years old, the women were ripping in the difficult conditions, navigating their way through the rounds to determine a worthy final 4.

The Final was a fiercely contested affair, with all 4 girls putting on an impressive show of talent and determination off the point at Turtle Bay. In the end, it was to be the winner of the Brazil exhibition event from 2011 that ended up victorious, Nicole Pacelli, with an impressive display of performance riding.

Coming in second was young Vanina Walsh, who’s power to weight / size ratio is just unbelievable, as she wowed the judges with some impressive surfing. In 3rd, Jenny Kalmbach proved that she is certainly not one dimensional and can excel in the surf as well as in racing. Likewise, Mariko Strickland from Kauai dug deep to finish in 4th, wrapping a great first event for the women at Turtle Bay.

In a final event for the day at Turtle Bay, some of the world’s best hit the water to provide a taste of what is to come here at the Sunset Beach Pro, in an audience judged expression session.

From World Tour regulars such as Sean Poynter, Zane Schweitzer and Aaron Napoleon to young guns Riggs Napoleon, Daniel Hughes and Matt Becker, the athletes put their best foot forward to showcase some of the most impressive and progressive surfing imaginable in the mixed up conditions on offer at Turtle Bay.

On the beach afterwards it was up to the assembled crowds to determine who would be crowned Champion, and following dramatic applause, it was deemed that young hot shot Riggs Napoloen should be crowned Turtle Bay Expression Session Champion for 2012.