THERE’S NO ‘H.I.’ IN TEAM

posted by / News / June 18, 2004

There was a helpful flow chart on the beach at the inaugural American Surfing Championships at Huntington Beach to explain how the new US Team will be chosen. Surfers who did well in both this event, in which top surfers from HASA, ESA and TGSA competed, and next week’s NSSA Nationals will be seeded into a contest next month called the USA Surfing Championships. The top placing surfers in that event will then be seeded into the one day USA Surf Team Selection Trials. The winner of the trials will be go to the ISA World Juniors this December in Tahiti. Got it?

This new system actually seemed to be a simple and equitable way to ensure that the new US Team would be comprised of the top American amateur surfers from all over the States. But the old question arose — is Hawaii part of America? And at least for amateur surfing, the answer is still no. The Hawaiian team dominated the American Surfing Championships but it turns out they weren’t competing to get on the US Team and Hawaiian surfers will not be allowed into July’s US Team Trials. Despite Surfing America’s unification of the major amateur surf groups, Hawaii’s team is still separate from the US Team. In addition, the team Hawaii will send to Tahiti has already been chosen.

Ola Eleogram, who finished second in the Open Shortboard and won the Jr. Men’s, wasn’t the only surfer perplexed by new system. When he arrived in Huntington he thought he was there to try and make the US Team. Later he was told that the Hawaiian team had already been picked. Luckily he had already made the Hawaiian team for World Juniors, meaning that he was only really surfing for pride and a gift bag at Huntington.

Other keikis, however, were not so lucky. Legendary coach and shaper Ben Aipa said that there was some confusion over the scheduling of the Hawaiian team trial events and that a handful of the state’s best talent did not make the team.

In fact because the Hawaiian team has already been chosen while the US team has not, a scenario could occur in which a young Island ripper could win his or her division in the American Surfing Championships, the NSSA Nationals and the US Surfing Championships and still not make either the Hawaiian or the US Team. Aipa explained that over the years a few Hawaiian surfers that did not make their own team decided to surf on the US Team instead. However, current Team Hawaii coach Rainos Hayes says that this option is no longer possible and Hawaiian surfers must surf for their state’s team or not at all.

All this minutiae becomes important to anyone who wants to see a resurgence of American amateur surfing because the first event of the series made it abundantly that a rise to top is going to be difficult without Hawaii in the fold. Island surfers took the top spots in all of marquee divisions. Apart from a few bright spots such as the ESA’s Nick Rupp, HASA dominated.

The surf at the pier was weak throughout the day but the Hawaiians didn’t have any problems powering through the mush. Standouts included Eleogram who took over the Jr. Men’s final with his smooth, flowing carves from the outside all the way through the shorebreak; Tonino Benson, a featherweight goofyfoot, won the Boys by making effortless “love connections” to the inside; Coco Ho, daughter of Michael Ho, came in second in the Girls and showed that in a few years she might be part of the first father, son and daughter trio to make the World Tour.

All of this proves that despite the much praised takeover by Surfing America of the NGB sanction at the ISA World Games in Ecuador, Hawaii’s insistence on fielding its own team is still an unresolved problem. Hayes bluntly said, “Look how US amateur team surfing has fumbled for so long. Why would we want to be a part of that?” He might not get a choice if ISA President Fernando Aguerre gets his way. Aguerre is working hard to make surfing a part of the Olympics and Pan American Games. Both organizations require that each country field only one team.

Surfing America President Peter Townend also wishes that Hawaii and the Mainland weren’t split into two teams. “America would dominate if there was only one team,” he said. He acknowledges that Hawaiian pride is an issue for a state that, historically, has never been entirely comfortable being part of the USA.

Townend also acknowledges that the new selection process has had a few hiccups along the way, but he’s encouraged by how quickly he’s made progress. “Everything’s still a little muddy because we’ve only had {{{90}}} days to put this all together,” he said, “but I’m really happy with the way the first event went off.” Jamie Tierney

RESULTS:
MENEHUNE FINAL
1.Nick Rupp – ESA
2.Lau Ezekiel – HASA
3.Tanner Hendrickson – HASA
4.Kyle Galtes – HASA

GIRLS FINAL
1.Malia Manuel – HASA
2.Coco Ho – HASA
3.Amy Nicholl – ESA
4. Mia Meland – HASA

BOYS FINAL
1.Tonino Benson – HASA
2.Granger Larsen – HASA
3.Kekoa Cazimero – HASA
4.Clay Marzo – HASA

JUNIOR MENS FINAL
1.Ola Eleogam – HASA
2.Casey Brown – HASA
3.T.J Barron – HASA
4.Hank Gaskell – HASA

MENS FINAL
1.Jered Clapper – HASA
2.Cisco Kay – HASA
3.Makai McMichael – HASA
4.{{{Morgan}}} Faulkner – TGSA

OPEN SHORTBOARD FINAL
1.Kyle Ramey – HASA
2.Ola Eleogram – HASA
3.Masijah Lani – HASA
4.Wesley Larsen – HASA

MENEHUNE LONGBOARD FINAL
1.Kaleo Cajigal – HASA
2.Cedric Caires – HASA
3.Jeff Dillon – ESA
4.Nathan Floyd – TGSA

JR LONGBOARD FINAL
1.Tony Silvagni – ESA
2.Charlie Broughton – ESA
3.Roger Aka Pai – HASA
4.Daryn Flem – HASA

OPEN BODYBOARD FINAL
1.Cedric Caires – HASA
2.Tuker Bontecou – HASA
3.Travis Smith – HASA
4.Tim Hoste – ESA

MASTERS FINAL
1.Patrick Emery – ESA
2.Anthony Passarelli – ESA
3.Chris Lonabaught – TGSA
4. Zach May – TGSA

SENIOR MENS FINAL
1.Kurt Thuemmler – ESA
2.Joe Gillen – ESA
3.Art Baltrotsky –ESA
4.Jim Tolliver – ESA

GRANDMASTERS/LEGENDS FINAL
1.Bill Whatley – ESA
2. John Jones – TGSA
3.Jay Hawekotte – ESA
4. Charlie Birch – ESA

WOMENS/SR WOMEN FINAL
1.Katherine {{{Van}}} Dyke – HASA
2.Kelly Nicely – ESA
3.Jo Pickett – ESA
4.Nastassja Gwizdak – ESA

SR WOMEN CHAMPION
Jo Pickett – ESA

LEGENDS CHAMPION
Charlie Birch – ESA

WOMENS LONGBOARD FINAL
1. Lindsay Bowman – ESA
2.Nicole Dodson – TGSA
3.Ashley Francis – ESA
4.Marissa Matsusaka – HASA

MENS/MASTERS LONGBOARD FINAL
1.Morgan Faulkner – TGSA
2.Todd Kinsey – ESA
3.Len Barrow – HASA
4.Kurt Thuemmler – ESA

MASTERS LONGBOARD CHAMPION
Len Barrow – HASA

SENIOR LONGBOARD FINAL
1.Bill Whatley – ESA
2.Joe Gillen – ESA
3.John Jones – TGSA
4.March Angelillo- ESA

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