Kimo’s Longboard Contest celebrates the spirit and aloha of surfing
LAHAINA — Well, the waiting period lasted longer than ever before, but when the salt spray cleared, the 33rd annual Kimo’s Longboard Contest In Memory of Rob Thibaut was in the books with another sterling performance by the Valley Isle’s top “real old-style” performance surfers.
Event promoter and organizer Jack “Da Rippa” Starr reported that a dismal summer of surf led to the longest days of waiting in the storied history of the contest, until a late summer surge on Sept. 16 brought on the green light for the 54 contestants for 2010.
So “Mala-bu” kicked up to two to four feet with almost perfect conditions all day long, offering up some of the finest performance waves to be found on the planet.
With competitors riding single-fin surfboards nine feet or longer with no leashes, the event is an effort to take a walk back to the tailblock of surfing, stall and relish the beauty in the history of this Hawaiian Sport of Kings.
“We’re trying to solidify the tradition of surfing and exemplify the spirit and aloha of surfing,” added Starr, now into his 13th year as the promoter of the event.
“We want to bring out the fun side of surfing with the perfect point waves at Mala Wharf and pay homage to the pioneers of the sport.”
Starr was quick to credit the steering committee for the contest that included Jaime “Pinchey” Arreola, Laura “Tita” Blears, Patty “B” Kauhane, Tule “Momma San” Souza, and Jennifer Durnin.
Judges for the 2010 event were Ross Kaaa, Nathan Moody, Greg Unabia, John Robinson, Alan Shubin, Dennis Singer and Jeff Starr.
“We really had great support from all areas this year,” said the always-effervescent Starr, the promotional manager at Kimo’s Restaurant in Lahaina.
“From sounds provided by Augie Constantino to Dooma Photography that took over 1,000 shots of the action on the day, and on to the sponsors such as Ole Surfboards, Geezer Graphics, Draggin’ Ink, Kona Brewery Company, Hawaiian Island Creations, Hi-Tech, Quiksilver, Gazebo Restaurant, TS Restaurants, West Maui Cycles and trophy builder Andy Lehman, it was another great effort by the whole community that makes this a quality event. And special thanks once again to Reverend Hara at the Jodo Mission for his continuing support and cooperation for the contest and the after party that is held at the church grounds.”
The competition format is double-elimination, 20-minute heats with repercharge heats that allow surfers an opportunity to reach the medal finals after losing in the preliminary rounds.
First place went to eight-time contest champion Mark Anderson, followed by Albert “Soulman” Jenks (also a former winner), Buz Moffett, Hans Vandervoort, J.B. Falbo and Lucas Texeira.
First prize to Anderson, who is coming back from a knee injury suffered in a tow-in surfing session at Jaws three years ago, was a custom-made Bumble Bee longboard shaped by Bob Olson of Ole Surfboards.
Jenks received a bicycle and surfboard carry rack from West Maui Cycles, and all top placers were rewarded with gift certificates to restaurants and businesses on Maui.
All of the top six were presented a custom-made trophy from Lehman that featured the Mala Jodo Mission Buddha.
“This was the biggest turnout we’ve had in many years, and I think it was an overall success,” said Starr.
“For me, the most important factor is that we get to see the real camaraderie and friendship that has grown with this contest. Another bonus is that we’ve donated the proceeds from the T-shirt sales in our five Duke’s Restaurants to the Relay For Life Lahaina event for cancer research. This is the true legacy of the Kimo’s Longboard Contest in Memory of Rob Thibaut.”