Eli Hanneman a rising star in surfing
WEST MAUI – Count 16-year-old Eli Hanneman among the Lahaina grown rippers to find success in surfing.
The youngest of Curt and Linda Hanneman’s four children – there are three older sisters – Eli has exploded into the surfing contest circuit over the last two years and currently is ranked number four in the World Surf League Junior (18 and under) standings.
Young Hanneman, like so many West Side keiki, first experienced the thrill of riding waves at the age four at Launiupoko.
Following in the wake of other grommets on the leeward side of Maui, like Clay Marzo, Dusty Payne, Summer Macedo and many others, Eli found his groove and soon began carving a reputation and surfing career of his own.
He moved his way up the coast to the Lahaina Harbor breaks and then on up to the perfection of Honolua Bay.
Under the dedicated guidance of his dad, Eli soon showed the potential to find higher success in the sport.
Peering out of the King Kamehameha III Elementary School windows during his grade school years, he no doubt envisioned tube rides and aerials in the view from his classroom.
The elementary schooling completed, the Hanneman family opted for home schooling, so that Eli could travel the world to test his talents on the contest circuit.
So, from age 12 to the present, he has traveled the globe to such exotic surf sites as Taiwan and Indonesia, as well as California and the North Shore of Oahu on the WSL circuit.
“Education is important, and my mom and dad have been supportive of that and of surfing,” Eli said last week.
“I am gearing up to compete on the WSL Junior Pro Circuit.”
Hanneman took first place last October at the Turtle Bay Oahu WSL qualifier and placed third at the Bali Airborne contest.
He has gained sponsorship from Hi-Tech, Nike, Hurley, Red Bull, Oakley, FCS and Lost Surfboards.
His quiver is supplied by Lost, with his favorite a 5’8″ model that he enjoys at the Harbor and in the tube at Honolua – his favorite spots.
Eli credits his parents and ” all the good people of Maui who work so hard for his success in surfing. There is such strong community support of surfing on Maui, and we really appreciate it. It really helps us keep going as athletes in all sports.”