ALA MOANA BOWLS, Oahu, Hawaii (Wednesday, June 12, 2024) –Today, Kelis Kaleopa’a (HAW) and Kaniela Stewart (HAW) emerged victorious at the Local Motion Surf Into Summer At Home In The Hawaiian Islands, over a heavily-contested field. Ala Moana Bowls provided pristine three-to-four conditions for Kaleopa’a and Stewart, alongside their longboard contingent, to showcase style and poise under pressure. In the end, it was South Shore sweep for the two competitors as Waikiki’s reigning WSL Longboard Champion, Kai Sallas (HAW) and American Samoa’s Sive Jarrard (ASM) earned runner-up finishes. The men’s and women’s Qualifying Series (QS) was called OFF today and tomorrow, June 12, with a likely Finals Day set for Friday, June 13.

Kelis Kaleopa’a and Kaniela Stewart Keep Ala Moana Bowls Titles on the South Shore

Ala Moana Bowls provided moments of magic throughout Finals Day but the women had to deal with slower conditions in their Final featuring 2023 World Title runner-up, Kelis Kaleopa’a (HAW), 2023 event finalists Keani Canullo (HAW) and Natalia Wunderlich (HAW), and Sive Jarrard (ASM). A slim lead from Canullo started the Final before Kaleopa’a found the first wave of significance, earning a 6.25 (out of a possible 10). Canullo and Kaleopa’a exchanged the lead back and forth once again before Jarrard found a heat-best, 6.50 after showcasing her poise on the nose and control through stylish carving maneuvers.

But, the Final wasn’t done and in the dying moments a last exchange between Kaleopa’a and Wunderlich garnered a 4.85 for Kaleopa’a to put her back in first as Wunderlich’s final attempt fell short of the requirement. This marks Kaleopa’a’s first win since the Huntington Beach Longboard Classic last season which kickstarted her World Title campaign.

“You can’t beat it, getting everybody down here and competing at Bowls with nobody out is pretty special,” said Kaleopa’a. “It’s definitely nice to get a win before the season and I really just wanted to be in competition mode and do one contest before the season starts. It’s crazy because we all grew up together, we’re still growing up together, just one break over in Waikiki and surfing with all our friends who are basically our family. To do all of this and accomplish this together is pretty special.”

Kaleopa’a continues to show she is one of Hawaii’s mainstay competitors in a brilliant Finals Day showing. Kaleopa’a earned the day’s first 9-point, a 9.40, in her Quarterfinal debut after finding time behind the curtain and showing her style on full display. Now, she prepares for the 2024 WSL Longboard Tour for a chance at claiming a maiden World Title after earning the 2024 Hawaii/Tahiti Nui Longboard Regional victory.

After the women’s Final showcase had a flurry in the dying moments, Ala Moana Bowls continued to pulse for the men’s Final. Defending event victor, and reigning WSL Longboard Champion, Kai Sallas (HAW) faced 2023 World Title runner-up Kaniela Stewart (HAW), 2023 event finalist Michael Van Hohenstein (HAW), and an in-form Micah DeSoto (HAW).

The opening exchange witnessed Stewart and Van Hohenstein hit the excellent range with the nod going to Stewart, who posted near-perfect 9.00 showcasing his definitive style and composure on the nose. But Sallas found his form to post a 7.50 and push the performance alongside Van Hohenstein’s 7.75 as both showcased their style and power through down carves after time on the nose. Sallas then gained the edge with an 8.90 and looked on his way to back-to-back wins. But, Stewart had one last opportunity and capitalized for an 8.05 and the 2024 event title.

“It’s so much fun and the waves were just perfect,” said Stewart. “And just to surf it with everyone, all my friends, it’s just a great feeling. It’s nerve-racking with Kai. We’re out there going back-to-back. He went out and got the score and it was just so much fun. It’s cool to because last year we had John [Michael Van Hohenstein] on Tour and this year we’ll have his brother Michael. We’ll be traveling the world together as family and it’s pretty special.”

Stewart’s impeccable Finals Day surge started with a convincing Quarterfinal win before finding his excellent form in the Semifinals, posting a 16-point plus, heat total, and carried that momentum all the way atop the podium. Now, Stewart looks for unfinished business among the world’s best in the quest for his maiden World Title after now claiming the 2024 Hawaii/Tahiti Nui Longboard Regional win.

Sive Jarrard Delivers Brilliant Performance, Qualifies for 2024 WSL Longboard Tour

Sive Jarrard (ASM) led the charge for newcomers in the one-day, winner-take-all event and showed she’s one to watch in coming years. Jarrard’s poise under pressure competing against fellow emerging talents and prominent standouts such as Kaleopa’a showed she’s up to the task of contesting with the region’s best. The emerging contender was beside herself getting the news of qualifying for the WSL Longboard Tour and showcasing her talent among the world’s elite.

“That’s so cool to qualify, it’s the best day of my competitive life,” said Jarrard. “It was so much fun. Kelis is such a good surfer and it was so fun to share the heat with Keani and Natalia. I think just the waves being epic all day and getting to spend the day with my family was so special to me. I’m super blessed and this is amazing.”

Kai Sallas Nearly Goes Back-to-Back, Sets Eyes Toward 2024 Tour

Defending event victor and reigning World Champion Kai Sallas (HAW) looked unstoppable once again, posting multiple excellent rides on the way to the Final after his Quarterfinal and Semifinal bouts. Sallas’ run began in the Quarterfinals after facing three-time WSL Longboard Champion Joel Tudor (USA), who faced elimination from Bucky Barry (USA) in the heat, before another dominant masterclass leading him to back-to-back QS Finals.

“That was so fun, the Final was a close one and it’s amazing surfing with my good friend, team rider Kani,” said Sallas. “He’s one of the best in the world. It was a battle as the Final should be and I’m super happy for him to win. I’ve been competing on the Tour trying to win a World Title for close to 20 years so this is the first year without that monkey on my back. One of the highlights earlier was sharing a heat with Joel [Tudor], I never really got to surf with him in too many heats so that was really cool.”

A remarkable day for the South Shore family finished with Michal Van Hohenstein (HAW) finishing third and earning his place among the world’s best in 2024. Van Hohenstein’s brother, John, competed on the WSL Longboard Tour last season and finished with a runner-up in El Salvador. Now, Michael is set to carry the family onward.

“It’s amazing, I can’t believe that I’m getting on Tour now,” said Hohenstein. “All my girlfriend said was smile and be happy. It was a nice beautiful day with beautiful people. All my friends and family, I’m just so stoked. It’s crazy and just have to keep the name going on Tour, keep building boards, stay happy and smile.”

The men’s and women’s QS has been called OFF for tomorrow, June 13, with a likely Finals Day set for Friday, June 14.

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Local Motion Surf Into Summer Women’s Longboard Final Results:
1 – Kelis Kaleopaa (HAW) 11.10 1,000 points
2 – Sive Jarrard (ASM) 10.15 800 points
3 – Keani Canullo (HAW) 9.65 625 points
4 – Natalia Wunderlich (HAW) 8.10 600 points

Local Motion Surf Into Summer Men’s Longboard Final Results:
1 -Kaniela Stewart (HAW) 17.05 1,000 points
2 – Kai Sallas (HAW) 17.00 800 points
3 – Michael Van Hohenstein (HAW) 15.75 625 points
4 – Micah Desoto (HAW) 9.85 600 points

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