Simpson-Kane siblings each win two divisions at the 24th Annual Pohai Na Keiki Nalu
The Simpson-Kane family had a near perfect day at the Pohai Na Keiki Nalu (Gathering of the Surf Kids) Saturday, June 3, at Maui’s Launiupoko Park.
The 24th annual surf contest, for surfers 12 years and younger, drew 245 entries in 11 divisions.
With a total of 68 heats, organizers had to use double heats, sending one heat to the “Kihei” peak and the other heat to the “Lahaina” Peak.
Ty Simpson-Kane, a soon to be eighth-grader at Kamehameha, defended his Longboard Title and won the 11-12 Shortboard. His younger sister Chrislyn, a fifth-grader to be at Haiku school, claimed the Girl’s Longboard Division and the Girls 7-9 Shortboard.
Chrislyn, who defeated 32 other girls in the Longboard division, had the two highest scoring waves in both the Longboard and Shortboard Finals. Ty had the two best waves in his Shortboard Final, and won a split decision over Zolten Poulsen, in besting 31 other longboarders.
“It was a very amazing day,” Ty said. “It was my last event here, super thankful to be part of this year after year. I wanted to go out with a bang.”
The surf was consistent throughout the day, but the high tide changed conditions for the final heats.
“The high tide made it challenging, made it more sloppy,” Ty said. “I just went out and made the most of it.”
Chrislyn also made the most of the changing conditions by defeating defending longboard Champion Chloe Domingo. In her Longboard Final at the Kihei peak, she was able to hang ten toes over the nose once, and slid up to the nose “cheater five” style numerous times.
After the Final, she had to change her longboard for a shortboard and paddle over to the Lahaina peak for her Shortboard Final.
“I had to paddle way over and put on a leash,” Chrislyn said. “My arms were dead.”
After catching seven waves in her 15-minute Longboard Final, she still was able ride five waves in the Shortboard heat.
She shared her stamina secret: “I go to a gym once a week in Haiku,” Chrislyn said. “I use a paddle machine during warm-ups, I paddle two minutes as hard as I can. It really helps.”
The other double winner was Cash Berzolla, a sixth-grader to be at Carden Academy. He repeated in the Shortboard 9-10 and won the Stand-Up Paddle 10-12. A year ago, he won the 7-9 Stand-Up Paddle division.
Berzolla edged Rafi Neri for the second straight year in the shortboard. “The other competitors are definitely good, it’s really a challenge,” Berzolla said. “I know a lot of them could beat me very easily.”
The other shortboard winners were Ruby Stringfellow (6 and under), Ethan Mangat (Boys 7-8), and Tamryn Taoka (Girls 10-12). Hudson McKim won the bodyboard and Chase Burnes took the Stand-Up Paddle 10-12.
The free contest raised $2,800 (thanks to raffle items from Kazuma Surfboards, Reef, Honolua Surf Co. & Hi-Tech Surf Sports) for the family of 10-month-old Sully Forbes, who has retinoblastoma (eye cancer).