SUNSET BEACH, Oahu/Hawaii (Tuesday, January 19, 2010) – If you’re going to make the transition from professional surfer to professional surfing coach, winning an ASP-rated event in challenging 10-foot surf makes great business sense and if you can coach your students to the final rounds at the same time, it’s even better. Just ask veteran surfer Myles Padaca, 38, who did both today at the ASP WQS 1-Star Da Hui presents the Sponsor Me Sunset Open, on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii, to post his first win in nine years.
Padaca and his Progressive Surfing business partner Pancho Sullivan “schooled” while they surfed through the final four rounds of competition at the Da Hui/Sponsor Me Sunset Open. Padaca took the $2,500 win, Sullivan placed equal fifth with a Semifinal finish, and all three of their students made it to the Semifinals or better: John John Florence, 17 (equal fifth with Sullivan), Kekoa Cazimero, 20 (equal seventh), and Alex Smith, 19, finishing runner-up to Padaca. Third place in the final went to Jonah Morgan (Big Island), and fourth was Billy Kemper (Maui).
It was a perfect conclusion to the ASP WQS 1-Star event hosted by ASP Hawaii that did exactly what it set out to: offer an entry-level to professional competition for young hopefuls, while allowing them to mix it up with some of the best surfers in the world at the same time. The fact that the event was run at one of the world’s premier surf venues in excellent waves of six-to-10-feet (wave face heights of up to 20 feet) proved it to be the most successful event of its size in the world.
“This is my office,” said Padaca. “I surf out here on a daily basis, coaching young competitors. We train these guys, school them in the lineup. Our goal is to produce better competitive surfers out of Hawaii to take it to the international elite level.
“This is our first year in business and we have a stellar A-team.”
When asked if he felt bad about beating his own students: “There’s always a few tricks left,” Padaca said with a smile.
But Padaca’s victory didn’t come via tricks today, rather through exceptional experience that was brilliantly employed and a lesson in itself: Study the lineup well, get your two scoring waves under your belt early, and know how to navigate your way through the minefield of surf that is Sunset.
“Experience is huge,” said Padaca. “My plan was to go out, catch a couple and rattle the competition. There were a few lulls in the heat and I already had my wave count up.”
Padaca caught a total of seven waves in the 30-minute final that was the trickiest heat for surf of the whole day. His best two scores were a 7.0 and a 4.5. His fellow finalists struggled just to find their mandatory two scoring rides. Runner-up Smith actually held the highest wave score of the final – 8.5 out of 10 points – but only caught a poor second ride on the final horn that earned less than a point. Third place Morgan caught only one wave the whole heat, and fourth place Kemper managed two.
Kemper surfed more than anyone today, completing five rounds of competition by day’s end. He was also the only surfer in the final to have come from the very first round, making for a total of six bouts of competition in all.
Kemper turned a lot of heads today, along with 17-year-old Florence and 20-year-old Cazimero. All three demonstrated polished, powerful surfing that signaled imminent domination.
“This was an excellent event,” said Padaca. We had top guys like Sunny Garcia, Fred Patacchia and Pancho. They don’t need to do events like this, so it’s great to see them surf and mix it up with the young guys like Billy, Alex, Kekoa.
“I take my hat off to ASP Hawaii, Da Hui and Sponsor Me for stepping up. Hopefully next year it steps up to a two- or a three-star. This is a great venue and it’s great to see it back.”
This event, along with other WQS events to be staged in Hawaii this year, will help local surfers gain valuable ratings points towards qualification for both the elite ASP World Tour and the prestigious year-end Vans Triple Crown of Surfing in November.