R E S P E C T…

The world’s first big-wave standup paddle surfing contest went off at Makaha (Westside Oahu) on Valentine’s Day…QUIKSILVEREDITION KU IKAIKA CHALLENGE

photo: Covered Images/Sarah Towner

Notable quote:”I’m addicted!” said Chuck Patterson. “This new sport is so exciting. It’s as much fun as anything I’ve ever done and it’s the most humbling. It has its glorified moments that leaving you feeling amazing, but then you can turn straight around and fall on a small little bump on the water. It’s a humanizing experience – you’ve just got to get back on your feet and start over. You’re always learning and it’s never boring.”

41 year old Aaron Napolean won the event taking out 3 other twenty-somethings in the finals…

photo: Covered Images/Sarah Towner

Sarah Towner provides more images here

and here is a rough cut vid clip

Electrifying win for Napoleon

By Dayton Morinaga
Honolulu Advertiser Staff Writer

MAKAHA — Aaron Napoleon took a day off from his job with an electrical company yesterday to pull off a shocker at Makaha Beach.

Napoleon won the inaugural QuiksilverEdition Ku Ikaika Challenge — a big-wave contest for stand-up paddle surfing.

The one-day event was run in picturesque conditions, with wave-face heights ranging from 10 to 25 feet.

“I just went out there and said you gotta be kidding me — this is so much fun,” said Napoleon, who resides in Pearl City. “Better than working.

“It wasn’t super big, but it was beautiful. I said this is just epic.”

Napoleon is 41, and twice competed in the Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational surfing contest in the 1980s.

“When does a 41-year-old win a meet?” he said, laughing. “That never happens.”

Yesterday, his big-wave experience played a key role. In the 30-minute final, Napoleon caught the two biggest waves of the heat and was rewarded with scores of 8.67 and 8.5 for a total of 17.17.

The other three finalists are 20-somethings in age, so Napoleon said his strategy was to wait for the bigger waves.

“I know they were turning better than me,” he said. “But what helps with the bigger waves is you don’t necessarily have to turn.”

Napoleon’s age was not the only surprising aspect of his victory. He said he rarely practices stand-up paddle surfing — which requires a combination of paddling and surfing skills.

He even tried to enter a contest last month, but did not make the cut because of his lack of practice time.

“Kind of ironic, yeah?” he said.

For yesterday’s contest, Napoleon had to start from the trials round. By the end of the day, he competed in five heats.

His momentum started in the first round, when he received a perfect 10 for a barrel ride.

After the victory, Napoleon talked at length about the respect he has for all the top watermen in Hawai’i. Now, his name can be added to that list.

Napoleon’s resume includes victorious stints in professional surfing, one-man canoe paddling, six-person canoe paddling, and paddleboarding. He is also an avid fisherman. His father is legendary canoe paddler Joseph “Nappy” Napoleon.

Keoni Keaulana, another member of a famous ocean sports family, placed second. He had a two-wave score of 14.0 in the final.

“You had the best of the best in this sport out here today, so I’m happy I got second,” said Keaulana, 24.

He is the grandson of Buffalo Keaulana, and nephew of Brian and Rusty Keaulana. They all grew up surfing at Makaha.

Ikaika Kalama of the Big Island placed third, and Kamu Auwae of Wai’anae was fourth.

The contest was a benefit for the West Side Junior Lifeguard Foundation. Napoleon’s winning check of $4,000 was donated to the foundation. Every competitor in the contest received $350.


1, Aaron Napoleon. 2, Keoni Keaulana. 3, Ikaika Kalama. 4, Kamu Auwae. 5 (tie), Brian Keaulana and Chuck Patterson. 7 (tie), Bonga Perkins and Kelii Mamala. 9 (tie), Raimana Van Bastolear, Duane DeSoto, Russ Keaulana and Dave Parmenter. 13 (tie), Noland Martin, Keone Downing, Garrett McNamara and Sam Pai.


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