On a beautiful Monday in Hawaii, eight teams converged on waist-to-chest-high Ala Moana Bowls on the South Shore of Oahu for the sixth stop of the Oakley Surf Shop Challenge. After a great day at Bowls, T&C defended their Hawaii Title earning the bragging rights and the chance to compete at the National Championships.
During the competitors meeting, Contest Director Darren Brilhart, opted for an extended format allowing each team to surf two heats with the top four combined team scores making the final.
In the first round, HIC Ala Moana whammy surfer Joel Centeio put them out to an early lead with his double whammy 8.43, but T&C Surf came raring back after Kekoa Bacalso's 8.0 and Robert Grilho III double whammied a 7.43.
In addition to the unique Hawaiian vibe between the teams, the event saw two other unique components. At the age of nine, Stone Suitt surfing for Barnfields Raging Isle with his father Spencer became the events youngest competitor in history, and was one of two father-son teams along with Surf & Sea's Eddie and Shion Crawford.
The final saw HIC Ala Moana, HI-Tech, T&C Surf and T&C Ala Moana battle through a challenging incoming tide. Yet again, Kekoa Bacalso and Robert Grilho III came out of the gates swinging posting 7.66 and double whammy 7.6, respectively where T&C never looked back.
"Once the high tide filled in, it kind of went flat, so our strategy was to get an early start with a score on the board and give our whammy guy Robert Grihlo the baton to nail it on the head," said Kekoa Bacalso. "It was a solid team effort, although all the other teams were ripping out there. It was cool; there was a lot of dogging, laughing and yelling; all good vibes! We're stoked to go to [the Championships] and vibe out with the other teams!"
The series heads to the Outer Banks of North Carolina on August 16-17 for the Mid-Atlantic Regional Qualifier.
1 – T&C Surf (32.92)
2 – HIC Ala Moana (28.29)
3 – HI-Tech (23.02)
4 – T&C Ala Moana (21.86)