Buzianis wins state crown in pro division

Micah Buzianis negotiated “tricky” wind conditions to win the pro division at the Neil Pryde Hawaii State Championship windsurfing event on Saturday at Kanaha Beach Park.

The Neil Pryde was the final event of the 30th annual Maui Race Series. Race organizers ran 60 heats Saturday, including a make-up of the Da Kine Classic, which was canceled July 5 due to poor wind conditions. The Da Kine heats started after the Neil Pryde race.

“That was great,” Buzianis said. “I was stoked the race crew was up for staying, especially after the slow start.”

The slow start included a course change after heat three. Buzianis was in heat two and the wind shift contributed to him losing his first heat of the day in the men’s 40-49 age group.

“I made a wide jibe on the inside, and then it was a tight reach,” Buzianis said. “It was a tight pinch to the outside mark, the wind shifted hard.

“I took my feet out of the straps and I hit the anchor line and it pinched me. My sail got under water and it took me a while to get back up.”

Buzianis, a 43-year-old Paia resident, then sailed back to the starting line to get ready for his next heat. The disqualification caused him to lose the tiebreaker to Peter Slate in the age group racing. Each had two wins, but Slate had two seconds, while Buzianis had one runner-up finish.

Buzianis had just returned home Thursday night after traveling 36 hours from the Fuerteventura Grand Slam in the Canarie Islands, where he finished 11th in slalom racing. He is now ranked seventh in racing on the Professional Windsurfing Association world tour.

“I was a little out of it,” Buzianis said. “It was a slow start today. The wind was tricky, pretty off-shore. Inside it was quite light, outside it was quite windy.

“You had to coast through the inside so you didn’t stop planning. The wind got a little steadier, and it was a bit better when the course got straightened out.”

After being edged out by Slate in the age division, Buzianis won three of four in the spirited pro heats. He got past Phil McGain, who won all eight of his races in the 50-59 age division, Dan Ellis, who claimed both 19-39 age divisions, and Slate.

Tamara Bockius won the women’s open, winning all eight of her heats in the two events.

“The easterly winds were tricky,” Bockius said. “It was holey and windy. I’m proud of myself, being a 48-year-old mother of three and still doing it.”

Bockius’ daughter, Sailor, was second in the Neil Pryde and third in the Da Kine.

Connor McKenney, a freshman at Kihei Charter School, won the junior state title, winning three of four heats to get past Benjamin Bertrand, of Montreal.

McKenney didn’t compete in the Da Kine after winning the Neil Pryde. It was his first race since last summer. He spent the summer in Turkey practicing paragliding.

“I was too tired,” McKenney said. “The wind was tricky. I practiced on Tuesday and remembered how to jibe again.”

The other state champions were Ben Massenburg (60 and over), Deniz Bacakci (semi-pro) and Osamu Kubota (expert).

The other Da Kine winners were Buzianis (40-49), Massenburg (60 and over) and Bertrand (juniors).