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GUAM HOLDS STRONG IN FIJI

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PRESS RELEASE – (Cloudbreak/Tavarua, FIJI –– Dec. 7, 2013) Guam’s surfing team maintained their strong form going into the second and final day of the 2013 Melanesian Surf Cup in Fiji.

In the Open Men’s Short Board category, Shane Pier and Aaron Taylor again won first place in their respective semi-final heats while Derrick Ikehara took second place in his semi-finals. All three surfers advanced to the six-man finals today and competed against Fiji’s Inia Nakalevu, and Vanuatu’s Feanser Kalmet and John Stephens.

In the Boys Under 18 division, Jared Brandon Gogue placed second in his semi-finals and entered the finals against New Caledonia’s Tom Morat and Vanuatu’s duo, Camillo Kaltabang and Tuppe Leroy Kalmet. In the Open Female Shortboard, Guam’s Alison Bowman competed against Fiji’s Hannah Bennet and New Caledonians, Anais Rouveyryol and Julie Loudieres. Bowman also went into the Open Female Long Board finals on Dec. 6 against Fiji’s Hannah Bennet and New Caledonia’s mother and daughter team mates, Marnie and Leilani Morat.

“The level of competition was good. The wave conditions today were tougher today than in the first day as they were smaller. We had two-foot waves with the occasional three-footers. But it was still contestable. I didn’t have any expectations going into the competition –– just wanted to take it heat by heat and do the best in my rounds,” said Derrick Ikehara, one of the three Guam short board finalists.

“I thought the level of competition was pretty high. I’m surprised that the Melanesian island nations have such a strong surfing culture and their athletes surfed very well. The waves were better during our two-day warm ups before the actual contest. During the competition, the wave sizes were between two and three feet,” said Aaron Taylor. “As far as expectations going into this event, I was trying to imagine what it’s like to surf Cloudbreak. I had no idea how it was going to be and this has been a great learning experience. We made new friends with all the country teams.”

For Jared Gogue, who has competed in junior surfing events in Japan and Hawaii, the Melanesian Cup was at a different level in many aspects. “The level of competition is not what I expected. The juniors from these countries were surfing at a high level and it was a surprise as I’ve never seen them on the Internet on videos of surfing competitions. The Melanesian Cup is the first event I’ve attended where everything happens far offshore on a boat so you’ve to be prepared for all sorts of situation – remembering to bring all your gear – because you can’t turn back to shore once you’re out on the break. Overall, this has been a great experience. We’ve been treated very hospitably by everyone.”

Alison Bowman, Guam’s lone female junior surfer on the team said, “Being able to surf Cloudbreak was in itself just awesome. The level of competition was definitely keen. The girls I surfed with were all good. The waves were inconsistent where you’ll get clean pumping waves in one heat and choppy ones in another. But it was still super fun and I really had a good time.”

Results of today’s finals will not be announced until the closing ceremony and awards banquet on Sunday, Dec. 8 in Nadi, Fiji. The closing ceremony will be at 6:00 p.m. Fiji time (4:00 p.m. Guam time). In addition to the individual winners of each of the seven categories, the Melanesian Surf Cup trophy will go to the country team with the highest points overall. For the full results, please go to Fiji Surfing Association Facebook page. Results are expected to be posted by 7:00 p.m. Guam time.

The countries competing in this year’s 4th Melanesian Surf Cup are Fiji, Guam, New Caledonia, Samoa and Vanuatu. The Guam team’s travel to Fiji was made possible in part with contributions from Tumon Bay Lobster and Grill, Lotus Surf Shop, Bank of Guam, Cassidy Associated Insurance, Primo Surf, Fokai Industries and Da Kine.

2013 Melanesian Cup - Teams Group Shot at Opening Ceremony. (photo courtesy of John Philp)

2013 Melanesian Cup – Teams Group Shot at Opening Ceremony. (photo courtesy of John Philp)

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