Casco wins 38th annual Kimo’s Longboard Contest
LAHAINA – With one of the most powerful south swells in recent memory sending Memorial Day weekend bombs all along the southwest shores of Maui, the 38th annual Kimo’s Longboard Contest in Memory of Rob Thibaut took off early on the morning of May 26.
Event coordinator Jack “Da Rippah” Starr, now into his 17th year of organizing one of the West Side’s iconic ocean events, continues to stoke the fire of the contest annually held at Mala Wharf – the left slide perfection that is affectionately known as “Mala-Bu” in connection and comparison with the Southern California surf spot at Malibu.
Starr noted that the 38th running of the contest – which pays tribute to the “soul surfers” of the 1950s and ’60’s with nine-foot minimum boards, single fins and no leash requirements – had 54 competitors this year and took another crossover step to trim ahead as TS Restaurants once again contributed to the integrity of the community in a pono way.
“We (Kimo’s Restaurant and TS Restaurants of California and Hawaii) collaborated with a new organization on Maui called TheraSurf, which is a group that teaches challenged kids to surf,” explained Starr. “It is a statewide organization led by Jimmy Gamboa, and we raised $2,500 that we will present to them at an event at Launiupoko on June 5, and most of the competitors in our contest will be there to help out. There will be a pupu party to honor the kids sponsored by the Legacy of Aloha charity program of TS Restaurants.”
As for the contest itself, local boy Eric Casco, who grew up just north of the old Chart House location across the street from the ocean, with a driveway view of the outside sets that roll into Mala Wharf, made it three consecutive first place performances with a soul arch, ten-second, ten-toes-on-the-nose ride that sealed the victory in the three- to five-foot surf.
“The waves had juice, but the conditions were a bit unusual with glassy waves early, but then the wind came up out of the north to mess things up a bit. But the competitors all had a great attitude, and that helped things to go smoothly,” said Starr.
When the judges, including Shawn “Chewey” Cunanan, Alan Shubin, Roy Yamada, Mel Ugale, Nathan Moody and Greg Unabia, tallied their final scorecards, Casco took first place for the third straight year followed by Zane Astone, Mau Ah Hee, Zack Howard, Mark Anderson and Ola Shaw in that order.
For his title-winning performance, Casco won an Ole replica Dewey Weber Performer longboard. The runner-up won a bicycle from West Maui Cycles, while all of the placers received a pair of Maui Jim Sunglasses, watches from Quiksilver and gift certificates to all of the TS Restaurants here on the West Side.
After the contest, Starr sent his gratitude to Co-coordinator Laura Blears and staffers Jennifer Starr, Patty B. Souza, Tule Souza, Jeff Starr and Augie “The Soundman” Constantino.
Jack also praised contest sponsors TS Restaurants of Maui (including Leilani’s on the Beach, Kimo’s, Hula Grill and Duke’s Beach House), West Maui Cycles, Bob “Ole” Olson, Maui Jims, Hawaiian Island Creations, Hi-Tech, Discount Plus, Quiksilver, Geezer Graphics, TheraSurf, Kona Brewing Co. and Doomas Photos.
“This contest has become a community tradition, and as long as the surfers and the people enjoy it, we’ll carry it on. We do it for two reasons; first, we want to pay homage to the pioneers of the performance era of the 1960s, and to promote a fun contest with no stress,” concluded Starr.
The contest will be shown by OC16 in July.