Source: AccessSurf Hawaii
Waikiki, Hawaii – August 25, 2014 – Queen’s Surf Break off beautiful Waikiki Beach was the place for over 40 challenged athletes from around the world as they converged to celebrate and participate in the 13th annual Duke’s Oceanfest. The Duke’s Oceanfest, is a celebration of the life of Duke Kahanamoku and all the ocean activities he did in Hawaii and shared with the world. Of course surfing, swimming, paddleboarding, SUP, lifeguarding, surf polo and assisting challenged athletes.
Access Surf Hawaii empowers people with disabilities by providing adaptive surfing instruction and therapeutic educational programs on water recreation and enriches lives by assisting families to access the beach and ocean in a barrier free environment.
This is the 8th year Access Surf Hawaii has worked with the Duke Kahanamoku Foundation to present the values Duke shared with all those that visited Waikiki Beach. Even those with challenges were able to surf with Duke and Access Surf Hawaii is proud to pass this tradition on with a world class competition in 7 different competitive divisions. Men’s Wave-Ski, Unassisted Prone, Assisted Prone, Amputee, Deaf and our newest division, Women’s Wave-Ski and Access Tandem.
Jeff Munson from Sacramento, California and now resides at Puerto Escondido, Mexico (Mexican Pipeline) won this year’s Men’s Wave-Ski Division. His many years of lifeguarding and water knowledge helped Munson take first.
Second place went to Chris Oberle of Los Angeles, California, third place to Anthony Bonaccurso of Melbourne, Australia, fourth place Lee Hinson from Marcoola, Queensland, Australia, fifth place to Javier Rodriguez from San Diego, California and sixth place to Rich Julian of Honolulu, Hawaii. Julian, last year’s champion sat out this year’s final to let those battle it out for the 2014 title.
Buster Kawaski of Pearl City, Hawaii won the Unassisted Prone Division with a combination of great wave selection and multiple maneuvers taking this year’s title
The real surprise in this year’s unassisted prone division was second place, Zac Tapec of Honolulu, Hawaii. Only jumping on a surfboard with the assistance of the staff at Access Surf Hawaii two months ago, Tapec trained and was motivated to compete in this year’s Challenged Athletes Competition. Placing third was veteran waterman, Jesse DelMar of Honolulu, Hawaii, fourth place went to Jeff Munson from Sacramento, California and fifth place to Case McKinley of Honolulu, Hawaii.
In the Unassisted Prone Division, Raul Pernites of Virginia Beach, Virginia took first place. Pernites was beaming on every wave he caught in the final and was able to win with excellent wave selection.
With our unassisted athletes, volunteers from Access Surf Hawaii assisted with pushing our athletes into the waves and help assist them back into the surf zone. Competing for the first time in this division was Spike Kane of Seattle, Washington, but is originally from Wales in the United Kingdom. Both Pernites and Kane were taking advantage of the increasing south west swell from New Zealand which produced perfect surfing conditions for their final.
Javier Rodrigues from San Diego, California is no stranger to the waters off Waikiki. A former Honolulu resident won the Amputee Division by defeating last year’s champion, Eric Weldon of Haleiwa, Hawaii, who placed in second. Third place went to Toran Goal from San Diego, California, who was determine to catch the most waves. Fourth went to Eric Rodriguez of San Diego, California.
In one of our newest divisions, was the Women’s Wave-Ski. In the past years at the Duke’s Oceanfest, the women had to compete against the men. This year we met the demand for their own separate division. Alana Nichols from Wheat Ridge, Colorado took first place learning how to ride a wave-ski just days before the event. A gold medal winner for Team USA in the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing for women’s wheelchair basketball and a two time gold medalist in the Paralympic Games in the 2010 Vancouver Paralympics in the women’s downhill sitting and giant slalom sitting. Six Paralympic medals in total for Nichols, now wave-ski is her new love.
Second place went to Diane Whitcomb from Kailua, Hawaii, third to Meira Duarte from Ewa Beach, Hawaii, fourth to Lisa Yamasaki from Davis, California, who suffered an accident with her paddle. Water safety jet-skied her inside to seek medical treatment and she paddled back out to complete her final heat. Fifth place went to Sharon Kelleher from San Jose, California.
In the Deaf Division, Paul McDonnell of Honolulu, Hawaii took first place. McDonnell competes regularly in local longboard competitions and is one of the best longboarders in the state of Hawaii. McDonell is also the Hawaii State Amateur Champion for the Deaf Division in this year’s Hawaii State Amateur Surfing Championships, held earlier this summer at Ala Moana Bowls.
Second place went to Peter Balding of Honolulu, Hawaii, third place went to Raymond Rapozo of Honolulu, Hawaii, fourth place went to Joshua Beal of Honolulu, Hawaii, fifth place went to Henry Gosebrink of Honolulu, Hawaii and sixth place went Bowe Lani of Kaneohe, Hawaii.
In the Access Tandem Division, all four of our competitors and their surf instructor tied for equal first. This division turned out to be an expression session with all four teams sharing and riding waves equally.
Access Surf Hawaii would like to thank our sponsors for helping our challenged athletes compete in this year’s 2014 Duke’s Oceanfest. They are the Hard Rock Café – Honolulu, Kona Brewing Company, First Choice Orthotics and Prosthetics Rehab Center, 808 Sports Leagues and the Duke Kahanamoku Foundation. Also many thanks and aloha to Faith Wenzel of ASP Hawaii for securing outrigger canoe rides from the local Waikiki Beachboys for our athletes.