Source: 2014 Melanesian Cup
The first day of the 2014 Melanesian cup was held in 3-4ft waves at Aganoa Beach, Savaii today. The atmosphere was electric with spectators lining the beach to catch a glimpse of the surfers from New Caledonia, Fiji, Vanuatu and host-nation Samoa. Although the conditions were a little average, the south east wind blew for most of the day making the waves somewhat bumpy, some great rides still were had. Event organisers have their fingers crossed for better conditions over the coming days.
The Under 18 boys were the first in the water with New Caledonia’s Tom Morat and Nathan Devambez both getting off to great starts, taking out their heats and progressing through to the next round. Samoa’s Andrew Fofoga will join the New Caledonians in Round 2 after putting in a sterling performance in the third and final heat, finishing second to impressive Vanuatu surfer Kamilo Caltibang. Round 2 is expected to be held tomorrow. Local brothers Chris and Pule Martin both surfed well in their respective heats, and will surf again tomorrow in the repechage round, for the chance to join countryman Fofoga in the next round of competition.
In the open men’s Samoa’s own Pea and Coaleo pleasing the crowd with some radical manoeuvres on the waves, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough to reach the finals. Vanuatu dominated proceedings with Norman Kalotiti, Feansa Kalpep, John Steven and Simon Pettiford showed their surfing prowess, finishing in the top two in their heats and earning a spot in the Semi-finals. New Caledonia once again showed some of their prowess with impressive performances from their team, Arnaud Leveque and Nathan Devanmbez leading the way with wins in their heats.
Rounding out the day was the over 35’s event, with Lee Etuale of Samoa leading the Samoan charge for the day finishing second in his heat to the on-fire Vanuatuan team manager Pettiford. Etuale will face stiff opposition in the next rounds, and will need to rely on his strong ‘late-drop’ technique if he is to secure a place on the podium at the end of the event. Event organiser and over 35’s competitor, Keith Martin, won the prestigious ‘Wipe-out of the Day Award’ with a big smash on one of the bigger waves of the day.
Tomorrow will see the Women’s, Longboard and Under 14 division take place, and the next rounds of the Under 18, Open Men and Over 35’s will continue, as conditions allow.