Eli Hanneman one of the world’s top junior surfers
LAHAINA – From the keiki breaks from Puamana to the Pali, and on to the perfection around the island highlighted at Honolua Bay, the paradise of Maui offers one of Planet Earth’s ideal surfing schools.
Youngsters of all ages and backgrounds are able to learn and enjoy the Hawaiian sport of kings as they assimilate into island life and culture.
The temperate climate, the relaxed lifestyle and the outdoor energy of the Valley Isle all contribute to the development of surfing as a way of life.
From the earliest years of growing up here on the West Side, Eli, the youngest of Linda and Curt Hanneman’s four children, has immersed himself into surfing – today to the point where wave riding is no longer a pastime but a profession.
He has risen up from his grommet days at Launiupoko to move up to become one of Hawaii’s – and the world’s – top junior surfers.
Most recently, 18-year-old Eli was recognized by local television program Board Stories as the world’s top junior surfer.
During the past year, young Hanneman spent most of the time competing on the North Shore of Oahu in the winter contest schedule.
He entered his first Vans Triple Crown of Surfing – perhaps the jewel of competitive surfing – this year and, in his words, “had a good experience.”
Home-schooled to allow for worldwide travel and sponsored by Hi-Tech, Nike, Hurley, Red Bull, Oakley, FCS and Lost Surfboards (his favorite is a 5’8″), Eli missed the final of the Billabong Pipeline Masters Trials by one heat and made the quarterfinals of the Volcom Pipeline Pro World Qualifying Series (WQS) contest in February.
“This was a big thing for me,” he said.
Most recently, he spent two weeks in Tahiti, where he reached the final heat of a WQS event to further boost his rise up into the top rungs of junior surfing.
Right now, Hanneman said he is taking the COVID-19 pandemic time to rest and regroup for the remainder of 2020.
“Now during quarantine, I’ve just been home, and it’s actually been pretty nice to have a break for a bit,” he concluded.