The Hawaii Island Finals opened this weekend at the Naniloa Volcanoes Resort, as the very best Stand Up Paddlesurfers in the world descended upon the beautiful Big Island for the climactic final event of 2011, the Hawaii Island Finals.
This morning dawned with a new swell, but also a lot of wind, providing challenging conditions early in the morning that became increasingly groomed through the day, and led to ideal surf in the 4ft region for an epic afternoon of action at Honoli'i Beach Park.
Bullett Obra storms to victory in the Trials at Honoli'i
Local talent shone today at Honoli'i, with young Bullett Obra clearly leading the charge. From the outset, Bullet read the Honoli'i line up to perfection, linking together fluid, powerful and critical turns that sent a message to the main event athletes: Big Island talent will be a force to be reconed with at the 2011 Hawaii Island Finals.
Bullett surfed his way through to the final and convincingly won in a stacked final heat that consisted of Maui's Connor Baxter, Brazil's Caio Vaz and fellow local UluBoi Napeahi.
Connor Baxter demonstrates that he isn't one dimensional
More known for his phenomenal racing skills, Maui's Connor Baxter put on a solid performance today at Honoli'i, making it all the way to the Final finishing in an impressive 2nd place.
This young Mauian's experience surfing in windy conditions certainly paid off today, with his finals' berth earning him a coveted spot in the main event.
14 year old UluBoi Napeahi turns heads at his homebreak
14 year old UluBoi Napeahi made his presence felt today, with a solid performance throughout the day, making it all the way to the finals and into 3rd place, earning him his place in the main event.
Watch out for this talented youngster when competition resumes tomorrow at Honol'i Beach Park
Caio Vaz from Brazil strengthens his family's reputation
Caio Vaz from Brazil only strengthens his family's reputation on the Stand Up World Tour with an impressive performance here at Honoli'i, following on from his brother Ian's performance at the last stop in Brazil.
Caio charged his way through the day to finish in 4th place in the Finals, meaning that he will now join his brother in the Main event that will start tomorrow morning at Honoli'i.
Noah Yap stands out in both Trials and Na Kama Kai
Young Noah Yap from Maui put on a stellar performance today at Honoli'i, narrowly missing out on qualifying for the main event, but advancing through to the FInals of the Na Kama Kai Youth Challenge. Noah is certainly a name to look out for in the future on the Stand Up World Tour...
Also standing out from Brazil is 14 year old Yuri Daberkow
Also making his presence felt at an incredibly young age was Yuri Daberkow, who powered his way through to the semi finals of the Trials, narrowly missing out on qualification, and like Noah, through to the Finals of the Na Kama Kai Youth Challenge. Yuri is amongst the wealth of new talent currently coming out of Brazil.
Mo Freitas looking to defend his HB Na Kama Kai Title
An on form Mo Freitas is looking to defend his Na Kama Kai Title from Stop 4 of the Stand Up World Tour at Huntington Beach California, although faces a formidable line up of talent.
Featuring Noah Yap, Yuri Daberkow, Mo and Riggs Napoleon, the upcoming Final will be an intense match up, as the world's best youth step up to do battle at Honoli'i
Much more to come here at the 2011 Hawaii Island Finals
After an epic day of action here at Honoli'i Beach Park, the Trials are now complete, as the Main Event athletes ready themselves to do battle bright and early tomorrow morning.
Will Kai Lenny finish his year on a high, or will Leco Salazar continue his winning form from Brazil. Also dangerous and a real contender in the conditions at Honoli'i is HB winner and world number 3, Antoine Delpero, along with the multitude of other talent on the Stand Up World Tour. Only time will tell and it is still anyone's, as the action unfolds here on the magical Big Island of Hawaii.
Also to come is the Women's Exhibition event and of course the Finals of the Na Kama Kai Youth Challenge, so stay tuned to www.standupworldtour.com for the latest news, information and highlights from the prestigious Hawaii Island Finals. You can also access live updates on the Stand Up World Tour facebook page.
A big Mahalo to our sponsors: Naniloa Volcanoes Resort, Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, Hulakai, Go Mokulele, Mobi Pcs, and Steinlager, as well as our World Tour Patrons, Naish, Rogue, Imagine, Starboard and Art in Surf. Aloha.