Willis Tops SUP-ER Charged Day at Duke's Oceanfest
By: Jodi Wilmott
Saturday, 27 August 2011
HONOLULU - Stand-up paddling (SUP) took center-stage at the 10th Annual Duke's OceanFest celebration in Waikiki today, with a super-charged series of showcase events in the Go Pro Presents C4 Waterman SUP Surf-Off & SUP Race. Stand-up paddling, now widely and wildly accepted around the world, was invented by Waikiki's original Beachboys, none more famous than Duke Kahanamoku himself.
Today's competition covered the gamut from serious surfing and speed-sprint courses to a little SUPZilla tomfoolery (pictured at bottom) thrown in for good record-setting measure.
World class SUP racer Connor Baxter sliced and diced the sprint field; Alika Willis posted a heart-warming surf win; and a hearty workout was had by all aboard the world's largest SUP board 'SUPZilla' as it engulfed the Queens Surf lineup en-route to posting an unofficial world title: Most surfers to ride a wave on one SUP board - 15.
But hype and hilarity aside, the day belonged to Alika Willis, who demonstrated how a passion for the ocean can change your life - something Duke Kahanamoku effectively shared with the world.
Willis entered his first SUP competition at Duke's OceanFest two years ago. He came close to last, but won the prestigious C4 Waterman "Spirit of Duke" Award for sportsmanship and heart.
Two years later, 25 pounds lighter, exponentially fitter, and focused on living everyday with aloha, Willis took first place in the SUP Surf-Off.
Rival competitor and fellow-finalist Kalani Vierra knew how hard Willis had worked for it, however, having helped him to train, focus and shed the pounds leading up to today's events.
"Quit soda, quit mayonnaise, quit ketchup," said Willis, speaking of some of his secrets to success. "I gave myself a chance to get healthy and get competitive.
"I never knew Duke but I remember being three years old and being at his funeral. He was aloha. The aloha spirit is very important because it brings camaraderie and sportsmanship to the sport and helps it to grow. Duke Kahanamoku was just like that."
The sportsmanship and camaraderie of Duke's OceanFest continue tomorrow with the Duke's Waikiki Ocean Mile Swim; the Hawaiian Airlines Duke's Legends Surf Classic; and Outrigger Canoe Wave Surfing Exhibition; the Kona Longboard Lager Invitational Beach Volleyball Tournament; the Maui Jim presents 2011 Hawaii Paddleboard Championship (Duke's Race); and the Hawaiian 105KINE Great Hawaiian Luau at the Waikiki Aquarium at 6pm.
Surfers shown in order of 1st through 4th, from Hawaii unless noted otherwise.
GO PRO PRESENTS C4 WATERMAN SUP SURF-OFF
Surfers listed in order of 1st place, 2nd,, 3rd...
1st: Alika Willis, $300
2nd: Aaron Napoleon
3rd: JP Kaleopa'a
4th: Kalani Vierra
H1: JP Kaleopa'a; Alika Willis; Greg Pavao; Connor Baxter; Tony Moniz; Evann Yamada
H2: Aaron Napoleon; Kalani Vierra; Dave Parmenter; Kamu Auwae; Noa Ginella; Kekoa Auwae
H1: Alika Willis; Connor Baxter; Evann Yamada; Halie Harrison; Vanina Walsh; Ed Wheeler
H2: Greg Pavao; JP Kaleopa'a; Tony Moniz; Sam Pae; Dino Miranda; Mariko Stickland
H3: Kalani Vierra; Aaron Napoleon; Kekoa Auwae; Jen Koki; Riggs Napoleon; Noland Keaulana
H1: Halie Harrison; Evann Yamada; Ed Wheeler; Chad Chapman
H2: Alika Willis; Connor Baxter; Vanina Walsh; Robert Stehlik
H3: Dino Miranda; Sam Pae; Mariko Stickland; Keoa Abbey
H4: Tony Moniz; JP Kaleopa'a; Greg Pavao; Jennifer Lee
H5: Noland Keaulana; Riggs Napoleon; Aaron Napoleon; Kevin Seid
H6: Kekoa Auwae; Kalani Vierra; Jen Koki; David Cordell
H7: Kamu Auwae; Cole Pavao; Keola Auwae; Brett Huf
H8: Dave Parmenter; Candice Appleby; Noa Ginella; Kurt Tolzmann
Go Pro Presents C4 Waterman Surf Sup Race
Racers listed in order of 1st place, 2nd,, 3rd...
H1: Greg Pavao; Robert Stehlik; Ed Wheeler
H2: Connor Baxter; Noland Keaulana; Kalani Vierra
H3: Noa Ginella; Cole Pavao; Kekoa Auwae
H4: Aaron Napoleon; Sepa Napoleon; Kalei Abbey
H1: Connor Baxter; Kalani Vierra; Noland Keaulana; Kamu Auwae; Robert Stehlik; Dave Parmenter
H2: Aaron Napoleon; Cole Pavao; Sepa Napoleon; Noa Ginella; Alika Willis; Keoa Abbey
1st: Connor Baxter, $200
2nd: Noland Keaulana
3rd: Noa Ginella
1st: Candice Appleby
2nd: Jennifer Lee
3rd: Jen Koki
1st: Riggs Napoleon
2nd: Keola Auwae
3rd: Christopher Bluthardt
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
Saturday, August 27:
Duke's Waikiki Ocean Mile Swim
Hawaiian Airlines Duke's Legends Surf Classic.
Outrigger Canoe Wave Surfing Exhibition.
Kona Longboard Lager Invitational Beach Volleyball Tournament.
Maui Jim presents 2011 Hawaii Paddleboard Championship - Duke Race.
Hawaiian 105KINE Great Hawaiian Luau at the Waikiki Aquarium, 6pm.
Sunday, August 28:
Outrigger Hotels & Resorts Surfboard Water Polo, Kapahulu Breakwall
Kahala Waterman's Challenge, Fort DeRussy Beach, 3pm.
In Hawai'i we greet friends, loved ones and strangers with Aloha, which means with love. Aloha is the key word to the universal spirit of real hospitality, which makes Hawai'i renowned as the world's center of understanding and fellowship.
Try meeting or leaving people with Aloha.
You'll be surprised by their reaction.
I believe it and it is my creed.
Aloha to you.
Duke Paoa Kahanamoku