The best of Hawaii’s amateur surfing was just seen this past week at Pine Trees, Hanalei Kauai at Hurley International’s NSSA HAWAII REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS. The kids were “flying high over Hanalei” and the best of the best in every division were whittled down on Sunday and Monday to a super-final Tuesday. The awards banquet held at the Princeville Clubhouse Restaurant was a huge success with awards, great food, contest results and sick prizes given away throughout the evening. .

Sunday March 20th was the first day of competition starting out with the {{{Explorer}}} division. The waves ranged from 8-15 foot faces. Throughout the three-day contest the waves dropped and the conditions improved making Hanalei a beautiful sight to see. By Tuesday, the waves subsided to 1-2 feet by mid afternoon.

For the first time in the history of NSSA Hawaii we are proud to have two Triple Crown winners along with many other great competitors getting ready to for the journey to Salt Creek, Dana Point and Trestles, San Clemente beginning June 16th. The two Triple Crown winners that dominated the season were 16-year-old Dusty Payne from Maui, and 12 years old Carissa Moore from Oahu. Dusty Payne received first place plaques for conference championships in the Open Men, Explorer Men and Explorer Junior division. He also received two hundred dollars in the Air show! This has been Dusty’s year, and he still has more years to follow! Carissa Moore skillfully captured first place conference championship awards in the Open Women, Explorer Women and Explorer Girls divisions. Carissa is turning into one of the hardest carving surfers on the circuit. And just think, Carissa and Dusty are just two of the many talented surfers we have to offer.

Three Kaua’i surfers deservedly took home two first place trophies from our Regional competition. Kyle Ramey captured the Open Men and Explorer Men division. Other surfers in these respective divisions that literally ripped Pine Trees apart were Clay Marzo, Casey Brown, Tonino Benson, Kai Barger, Chas Chidester, Mason Ho, Zach Arreola and Wesley Larson. All deserve credit for their explosive moves and competitive savvy.

Hanalei’s born and raised fifteen year old Alana Blanchard paddled away with first place trophies in both the Explorer Women’s and the Explorer Girls division. Alana was just coming off a victory in the very first ever women’s Banzai Pipeline amateur surfing contest. Other finalists and hot riders in the women’s divisions included Coco Ho (winning the Open Womens trophy), with Ashley and Lani Hunter, Lipoa Kahaleuahi, Andrianna Mendeville, Malia Manuel, Monica Byrne Wicke; and young rookies Leila Hurst and Nage Melamed also advancing to regional finals while experiencing the excitement of surfing births at Nationals.

The young multi talented Kilauea Kauai surfer Koa Smith regulated the lineup and brought home trophies for both the Open Boys and Open Mini Grom finals. Koa is a hard charging goofy foot who looks for barrels and big cutbacks even in his dreams! He also was conference champion in the Open Mini Grom division for the season. Keanu Asing of Oahu captured second place in the Open Boys and first place in the mini Air Show. Other hot young guns included Nathan and John John Florence, Kauai’s own Kalen and Kyle Galtes, Kaikea Elias, and Tanner Hendrickson. Deep carving cutbacks on the largest waves in most heats were provided throughout the season by goofy footer Tevi Kahaleuahi.

In the mini grom final tiny 7year old Imaikalani Devault captured everyone’s attention; as screams and cheers echoed from Hanalei to Anahola with every miniaturized shred he performed. He captured 4th place in the mini grom final in this his first year and you can tell he made his Volcom team captain Dave Riddle quite pleased. . A big congratulations also goes out to first year competitor Matty Costa who garnered a first place finish in the Explorer Menehune division. Finally, we must pass along a huge wave of recognition to Ezekiel Lau who earned two conference championships for the season! He reigned in both the Open Boys and Explorer Menehuene divisions, surfing with confidence all year long while continuing to amaze us with his unpredictable moves. These are the boys that will soon dominate the men’s divisions down the line after a few more years of riding Hawaii’s waves.

Fourteen-year-old Hizon Lin Kee of Oahu has held his own, this season taking first place honors in the Open Junior division after fighting off many hard charges from his fellow riders. This past season Hizon has also been making it into the semis and finals in the men’s division and we are all looking forward to his performances at Nationals. Alex Smith showed determination and confidence and took first in the Explorer Boys, Granger Larson (this years Explorer Boys conference champion and previous nationals winner in San Clemente), Clay Marzo (last years two time national champion ) Tonino Benson(previous national champion)Chas Chidester this years Open Junior conference champion, Albee Layer, Kiron Jabour, Billy Kemper, Derek Wong, Kekoa Cazimero and Kai Barger (another previous national champion) further comprise a star studded lineup of some excellent surfers planning to bust wide open this coming June.

For the Explorer seniors Dale Sabate took first and showed that he still surfs as if he were in the Juniors division. Brian Suratt took second with Raymond Shito in third. For the Explorer Super Seniors it was Brian Suratt in first and Ray Shito in second.

The longboarders showed classic style and grace in the smaller conditions that Mother Nature provided just for them on Tuesday. Daryn Flem took both the Open and Explorer division. In the Open division Will Hunt, Megan Apo and Kawehi Whitford followed Daryn’s lead. In the Explorers it was Megan Apo taking second with Kawehi Whitford right behind.

Travis Smith bodyboarded his way into first place followed by James Gilleran, Etienne Trillo, David Phillips and Shea.