Day 3 of the Tropical Energy Ocean Games was perhaps the most action packed yet, with the athletes battling it out to get closer to discovering who has what it takes to drive away in their own Jeep Wrangler Unlimited....and the prestige of being crowned the "Ultimate Waterman" at the Tropical Energy Ocean Games...
First off it was the longboarders who set the stage for what was to follow - insane action and a talent filled line up that saw some of the most impressive riding possible in the tough and unpredictable surf down at Ho\'okipa Beach Park today. Standouts included Current World Champion Bonga Perkins, Contender Kai Sallas and Maui boys Patt Fukuda and Kiva Rivers. After some incredibly close heats, it was Bonga Perkins who ended coming out on top, proving to the World why he is widely regarded as the most talented longboarder in the world today. He was closely followed in second by Maui boy Kiva Rivers, who posted another great result towards his Overall standing following his win in the shortboard division. In third place it was Patt Fukuda who demonstrated great local knowledge, style and finesse in the challenging conditions.
Keeping in line with its tradition of being one of the most consistently windy spots in the world, maui was not to disappoint us or the competitors today, with the arrival of strong trade-winds by early afternoon, signaling the start of the Windsurfing Division of the Games. With such hard hitters as Robby Naish, Antoine Albeau, Mark Angulo, Rush Randle and Keith Teboul, there was no way we were leaving before receiving a phenomenal display from these incredible athletes. We weren\'t to be disappointed as the athletes pulled out all the stops to put on an exciting display of some of the most inspired waveriding here in WIndsurfing\'s global capital. It was to be Keith Teboul\'s day though, consistently picking up the bigger set waves and riding them with his fluid and vertical style and milking every section for everything it had. In a close second, it was Sean Ordonez, one of the most legendary windsurfers and most well respected waveriders in the sport. In third, it was Robby Naish, still widely regarded as Mr Windsurfing and now a household name through Europe.
So we are at an extremely interesting point in the Ocean Games, where there is just one more sport to be contested, Stand Up paddling, and there are as many as 5 key candidates that are in line to realistically take the Ultimate award for the event. (Highest score in 3 out of the 5 sports). 1) Kiva Rivers: a first and a second in the two disciplines he has contested so far and with stand up paddling as a strength for him, the odds looking good 2) Robby Naish as expected has put on an impressive performance throughout the Games, with a 1st in Kiting and a third in Windsurfing, not to metion his semi final positions in the shortboard and longboard divisions. 3) Sean Ordonez is also in a good place, with a 2nd and 5th position confirmed in the Windsurfing and longboarding respectively and just stand up to come 4) Dave Kalama as expected has shown why he is widely regarded as one of the top Watermen in the world, with a 4th place in both divisions contested today 5) Bonga Perkins is also right up there, with his win in the longboarding and 5th place in the shortboard
So all eyes are on Ho\'okipa Beach Park to see what the morning\'s stand up paddle division will deliver and who will be crowned the Ultimate Waterman and drive away in a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 4x4. Keep an eye here at www.tropicalenergy.com for more information and for the latest from this incredible event. With open, youth and women\'s fleets to follow tomorrow, followed by Tandem and Surf Canoe on Monday, the Games are far from over. Furthermore, with the continuation of live music and the ocean inspired art exhibition and the traditional Hawaiian Luau and prestigious awards ceremony (for the Pro fleet) that will take place tomorrow, we are anticipating another blessed day here on Maui for the Tropical Energy Ocean Games, presented by Jeep.
Photo Credit: Eric Aeader