Vaihitimahana Inso (HAW) and Ezekiel Lau (HAW) emerged victorious at the Local Motion Surf Into Summer At Home In The Hawaiian Islands, first stop of the 2024/2025 Hawaii/Tahiti Nui Qualifying Series (QS) season, in pumping Ala Moana Bowls conditions. All those in attendance claimed to witness one of, if not the best, QS competition days since the event’s inception with six-to-eight foot, occasional plus, waves faces storming into the famed lineup. Lau and Inso put on a high-performance showcase to ultimately claim their South Shore sweep over heavily-contested fields.

Vaihitimahana Inso and Ezekiel Lau Take Control of Hawaii/Tahiti QS Regional Rankings With Iconic Victories

An incredible day culminated into stacked Finals beginning with some of the region’s proven and emerging threats battling in proper Ala Moana Bowls. Defending event victor Keala Tomoda-Bannert (HAW) looked for back-to-back wins against 2023 finalist Eweleiula Wong (HAW) alongside two of the region’s fastly emerging talents, Skai Suitt (HAW) and Vaihitimahana Inso (HAW). Tomoda-Bannert’s strong backhand delivered a 7.50 (out of a possible 10) to start with Suitt earning a 5.50 and Inso garnering a 5.00. Suitt held the lead briefly before Tomoda-Bannert’s 6.90 put her back in front. However, Ala Moana Bowls’ own, Inso, responded with an excellent 8.10 to put herself in the heat.

As time began to wind down Inso was left needing a 6.30 and the ocean delivered a gem for her to attack on her forehand power and earn a heat-best, 8.50 to take over the lead and hold on until time ran out for her maiden QS victory.

“We couldn’t have been any more blessed than the waves we had today, I can’t ask for anything better and just to come out on top I’m so grateful,” said Inso. “I am just lost for words, this is my home break and I just felt like a wave would come eventually. I fell on so many waves and made so many mistakes but luckily the ocean provided and I was lucky enough to get one at the end. After last year I just wanted to start off good and to be on top of the rankings is crazy.”

A stacked Semifinal, Heat 2 featured kicked off Inso’s dream run to victory including Tomoda-Bannert (HAW) and 2023 finalist Puamakamae DeSoto (HAW) alongside an in-form Nora Liotta (HAW).. Inso held firm in her home lineup with an excellent, 16-point plus heat total and secured her place into the Final alongside Tomoda-Bannert. This win puts Inso atop the rankings to start the 2024/2025 QS season.

The men overpowered ‘Big Bowl’ throughout the day with numerous barrels and vicious, searing power maneuvers that led to a Final bout between event standouts.

Former Championship Tour (CT) elite Ezekiel Lau (HAW) headlined the Final alongside proven newcomer Jackson Bunch (HAW) and event threats Oliver Zietz (HAW) and Makana Franzmann (HAW). Zietz’s incredible form kicked off the Final with an excellent 8.50 utilizing his decimating backhand on a critical ‘Big Bowl’ section before finishing off the wave with multiple dynamic turns. Zietz stayed busy to push his competitors, backing it up with a 5.15, and required near-perfection from Lau. Ala Moana Bowls provided just that as Lau disappeared behind a thick curtain only to emerge and go to town on his backhand for a near-perfect 9.00. But, Zietz 6.75 pushed his requirement immediately follow Lau’s ride as Bunch’s broken board set the Maui competitor back. Lau was patient and ‘Big Bowl’ delivered one more time for him to unleash his world-class backhand attack, posting a 7.00 and matching Zietz’s 16.00 (out of a possible 20) heat total.

Lau’s 9.00 broke the tiebreak and earned his first-career QS win at Bowls to keep the event title on the South Shore and his first win since his daughter was born.

“This is my first win with my daughter here, it’s pretty awesome and this is one of the only contests I’ve ever won at Bowls,” said Lau. “I got my family here so I couldn’t ask for anything more. It’s crazy because I remember the Round of 64 heat and seeing the swell could possibly be surfing ‘Big Bowl’ and that was my whole motivation was to make Finals Day. I got to put together some really fun heats and got to just surf some really good waves. To come out with the win, I was paddling out back out and I didn’t even care I won. I just wanted to get more waves like in the Semifinals.”

Lau made his presence known from the first horn to the last, notching massive wins in the Round of 32, Quarterfinals, and Semifinals. The South Shore local’s, Lau, jaw-dropping performance in the Semifinals accrued an event-best 18.80, including a 9.70, after finding multiple barrels at Big Bowl. Now, Lau leads the QS rankings moving forward into the season when competitions resume.

Keala Tomoda-Bannert Nearly Goes Back-To-Back, Regains Her Swagger

Reigning 2023/2024 Hawaii/Tahiti Nui victor, and 2023 event winner, Keala Tomoda-Bannert (HAW) showed she hasn’t lost her step among her regional elite. Tomoda-Bannert’s aggressive backhand power remained intact throughout her event run, earning a runner-up behin Inso in their Semifinal bout earlier today, and regained her confidence following a tough start on the Challenger Series. Now, one of Kauai’s top threats eyes her return to the Challenger Series later this year as she eyes a chance to join the world’s best.

“I definitely feel like I got my confidence back and I tried some different heat strategies to see what worked best for me,” said Tomoda-Bannert. “That Final was a bit crazy and I think that was the biggest set I’ve ever seen at Bowls. I’m really stoked on this contest. We had really good waves the whole week and I didn’t get the win, but it still feels good to perform.”

Pictured: Oliver Zietz (HAW) has officially arrived on the QS scene and delivered a stunning event showing. Credit: © WSL / Heff

Oliver Zietz Makes His Statement In Macking Ala Moana Bowls

A special day for Kauai’s newest contender, Oliver Zietz (HAW) led to his first-ever QS Final and put on a showcase of backhand power, precision, and experience beyond his years. Zietz began the day with a big Round of 32 win before taking commanding Quarterfinal and Semifinal victories. A Semifinal to remember, Zietz traded wave for wave with former Hawaii/Tahiti Nui QS Regional victors Shion Crawford (HAW) and Jackson Bunch (HAW), and regional standout Luke Swason (HAW). Each surfer had nearly 16-points or above in a battle that set Zietz up for his big Final showing.

“Today was super special and in Zeke’s words, ‘the best bowls comp ever,’” said Zietz. “From the start of the day I felt super on, had my routine down, felt very comfortable and most importantly was in love with the wave. Second place in the finals is absolutely insane and I’m so proud of myself, but my personal two highlights of the day were when me and my fellow Minami Surfboards team rider Jackson Bunch made the Final together. The other highlight is the jet ski ride out to the Final. Me, Zeke, Makana, and Jackson were losing our minds on the waves coming in, heck you could probably hear us from the beach screaming (laughs). Big congrats to uncle Zeke Lau one of my idols. There is no one I would rather lose to.”

On Wednesday, June 12, Kelis Kaleopa’a (HAW) and Kaniela Stewart (HAW) emerged victorious at the Local Motion Surf Into Summer At Home In The Hawaiian Islands longboard event as Inso and Lau’s wins completed the South Shore sweep.

For more information, please visit

Local Motion Surf Into Summer Women’s Final Results:
1 – Vaihitimahana Inso 16.60 1,000 points
2 – Keala Tomoda-Bannert 14.40 800 points
3 – Eweleiula Wong 12.30 625 points
4 – Skai Suitt 12.00 600 points

Local Motion Surf Into Summer Men’s Final Results:
1 – Ezekiel Lau 16.00 1,000 points
2 – Oliver Zietz 16.00 800 points
3 – Jackson Bunch 14.95 625 points
4 – Makana Franzmann 10.30 600 points

Original Post from this site

By admin

SurfinDaddy has been hanging around the periphery of the web since 2001 – but the dawn of 2021 sees us ready to jump into the fray. No longer content to be an outsider (but loving that our readership will be those who love the outdoors) we’re poised to become your online resource for all things related to boardsports.