Ah Hee captures third Ole title
Mau Ah Hee won his third open men’s title at the Ole Longboard Classic on Saturday at Launiupoko Park in Lahaina.
The 24th annual longboard contest had a record 259 entries in 13 divisions. The open men division was the biggest with 40 surfers.
Ah Hee, who also won the open men in 2006 and 2008, was runner-up in four of the last five years. The 29-year-old from Lahaina won a split decision over last year’s champion, Eric Casco.
“To finally win it is crazy,” said Ah Hee, who also won the 19-29 age group. “I was worried about Eric’s lefts, he loves going left. I just do what I do.”
Doing what Ah Hee does, at Launiupoko’s Lahaina peak, is going right. His third and final wave started right, then he faded left, stepped to the nose for a cheater five, then a quick hang ten, then a cutback, two more quick steps to the nose, and he was at the opening of the keyhole to the tide pool. That was his highest scoring wave on all three judges’ sheets.
“I’m happy for Mau,” Casco said. “He deserved it today.”
Casco won the 30-39 age group and the Ole board division. He rode the 10-foot Ole board he won at the Kimo’s longboard contest in May.
“I wanted the Ole division,” Casco said. “I was focusing hard on that division.”
For the second year in a row, a Honolulu surfer won the open women. Ashley Ahina, a 26-year-old lifeguard at White Plains Beach, won despite catching only two waves in the 15-minute final. Her graceful nose-riding stood out among the finalists.
“I loved it, it was firing,” Ahina said. “I was stoked that there was surf, this is perfect for longboarding. The girls were amazing out there.”
Kelis Kaleopaa of Honolulu finished second in the open women and defeated 17 other girls to win the junior women. She also placed third in the juniors 12-14 division, a mixed class of boys and girls.
With the open women and junior women finals held back-to-back, Kaleopaa needed to paddle from the Lahaina peak after the open women heat to the Kihei peak for the junior final.
“It was stressful trying to get there, never paddled so fast in my life,” Kaleopaa said. “The waves were awesome, it was the best conditions until the wind came up.”
Glenn Fukushima (50-59) and Mickey Ester (60 and over) defended their titles. Other winners included Chase Burnes (menehune), Ethan Speltz (juniors), Zachary Newton (junior men), Ken Goring (40-49), and the father-daughter team of Christopher Simpson and Chrislyn Simpson-Kane in the tandem.
OLE LONGBOARD CLASSIC
At Launiupoko Beach
Menehune (11 and under)–1. Chase Burnes, 2. Rafi Neri, 3. Taryn Taoka, 4. Dylan Sloan, 5. Stella Valdez, 6. Abby Balmus.
Juniors (12-14)–1. Ethan Speltz, 2. Landen McLaughlin, 3. Kelis Kaleopaa, 4. Ty Simpson-Kane, 5. Kai Claydon, 6. Jackson Bunch.
Junior men (15-18)–1. Zachary Newton, 2. Kaniela Stewart, 3. Kaimana Takayama, 4. Itai Holland, 5. Nicholas Delos Santos, 6. Morgan Davis.
Junior women (18 & under)–1. Kelis Kaleopaa, 2. Kirra Seale, 3. Lara Claydon, 4. Kyra Duldulao, 5. Nora Liotta, 6. Alicia Kelley.
19-29–1. Mau Ah Hee, 2. Nelson Ahina, 3. Zye Norris, 4. Ashley Ahina, 5. Sierra Lerback, 6. Kazuma Saita.
30-39–1. Eric Casco, 2. Kekaula Campbell, 3. J.P. Kelopaa, 4. Fritz Belmoro, 5. Casey Casco, 6. Ben Gee.
40-49–1. Ken Goring, 2. Mike Wilmeth, 3. Judd Lau, 4. Cade Duldulao, 5. Ryan Schooley, 6. Jeff Hudson.
50-59–1. Glenn Fukushima, 2. Kana Saita, 3. David Wilson, 4. Tomi Tsuda, 5. Bruce Baptiste, 6. Tom Talbot.
60 and over–1. Mickey Ester, 2. Nathan Moody, 3. Kevin Eide, 4. Moe Serafica, 5. Snake Ah Hee, 6. Barry Brown.
Ole Division–1. Eric Casco, 2. Mau Ah Hee, 3. Kekaula Campbell, 4. Fritz Belmoro, 5. Ken Goring, 6. J.P. Kaleopaa.
Open women–1. Ashley Ahina, 2. Kelis Kaleopaa, 3. Sierra Lerback, 4. Kirra Seale, 5. Makoa Ah Sam, 6. Mahealani Ah Hee.
Open men–1. Mau Ah Hee, 2. Eric Casco, 3. Kekaula Campbell, 4. Kaimana Takayama, 5. Nelson Ahina, 6. Kaniela Stewart.
Tandem–1. Chris Simpson and Chrislyn Simpson-Kane, 2. Mike Wilmeth and Jessica Davis, 3. Isaac Teodoro and Itai Holland, 4. Abby and Annaliese Balmus, 5. Dylan Sloan and Mike Davis, 6. Auggie and Stephanie Constantino.