Formerly known as the Kaimana Awards, the newly appointed Manulele Awards, an event that took place on the evening of Friday, January 22, paid homage in the form of glistening trophies to the watermen and waterwomen that call Hawai’i home.
Present at chic Waimea Valley were a host of surfing’s biggest names, who gathered to find out the winners of the reader- voted Manulele Awards for categories such as Stand Out Male and Female, Most Progressive, Best Big Wave Performance and Ambassador of Aloha. Also on tap throughout the night were the tunes of Ron Artis II and Da Bredren.
“It’s been about 10 years since we ran this kind of event, formerly under a different name,” said host Michael Latronic as the award ceremony commenced. “This year its our very first Manulele Awards night, which celebrates the talented men and women of our ocean and sport.”
Jack Johnson received the Ambassador of Aloha award and John John Florence won multiple reader-voted awards: the Most Progressive, and the Standout Male. Current WSL Women’s World Champion Carissa Moore took home the standout female, with Seth Moniz accepted the standout junior award. Arguably one of the best dressed in the night, the ever handsome Ezekiel Lau accepted the reader-voted Power Surfer award and gave immediate gratitude to his elders. “It’s truly an honor to be put next to names like Kaimana and Sunny and Pancho and Kekoa, my heroes growing up. Thanks to the guys for being positive role models.”
“I’m super stoked to be included in this at all,” said Jon Pyzel upon winning the Shaper of the Year award. Jon then proceeded to perfectly sum up the ethos of the night: “Every shaper here
I look up to, and I really appreciate what those guys have done to help surfing and to help me. I think we’re all really lucky to be able to do what we love to do.”