📅01 June 2015
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By Jay Leon Guerrero

It’s been a year of training since their last trip to Hawaii. All the training and practice time at the Onward Beach Resort and at various surf spots on Guam’s waters are done. Now, it’s time for 12 members of the Hui Nalu Ocean Club to take the waves at the China Uemura & 88 Tees – 19 Annual Wahine Surf Classic which will take place from June 6-7 in Hawaii.

The team, composed of an all-female squad, will head out to Kuhio Beach, Waikiki, where the team will compete against other females in their age group. Team coaches Joe and Hidemi Villatora have worked vigorously to prepare the team for the competition.

The annual competition is an all-female surf competition for girls and women of all ages. The team from Guam will bring 12 youth surfers competing in the peewee, menehunes, and junior divisions along with one adult female, Aki Siatan, competing in the women’s open division.

Lina Sakane hitting the waves at the Onward resort. (photo Hui Nalu Ocean Club)

Lina Sakane hitting the waves at the Onward resort. (photo Hui Nalu Ocean Club)

The team members include:
Jessica Buckwalter, 15
Katlyn Buckwalter, 14
Minami Cramer, 11
Angel’lea Aguilar, 12
Lina Sakane, 12
Jamie English, 12
Tylee Shepherd, 12
Irie Fitzgerald, 11
Lexi Liebhardt 12
Talia Kidder 11
Bea Bello 11
Sarah Wilkinson 14


“We have been practicing at the Onward Beach Resort wave pool and also out in the various surf spots as well. There will also be a team challenge which will be by age divisions,” said Hidemi Villatora.

“Most of the tournament competitors will be local girls from Hawaii. A small number of visiting competitors will fly in from Japan, Australia, and Guam.”

“This is my second time going to this competition and I’m excited to go out there and compete. It’s also fun because we are all friends and we get to hang out after,” said 12-year-old Shepherd.

Sakane, 12, will compete for the second time in the tournament and has improved her mental game as she enters the competition. “In my first trip there I was intimidated by the waves. Now I have everyone’s support so this time around I’ll have more confidence,” said Sakane.

According to coach Joe Villatora, the goal is to have the girls gain experience and exposure so they can represent Guam in the future. The couple has dedicated their time in helping the development of youth surfers so they can learn not only about surfing, but also respecting others in the process.

Second-timer Katlyn Buckwalter, 14, said that they have learned much from their coaches and are more prepared this year. “Compared to last year, I can do more with the waves and have fun.”

Angel'lea Aguilar at Umatac Bay. (photo Hui Nalu Ocean Club)

Angel’lea Aguilar at Umatac Bay. (photo Hui Nalu Ocean Club)

Katlyn’s older sister Jessica,15, credits her coaches for their improvement. “They have dedicated so much of their time to helping us, they go as far as taking us out to Ricks Reef at 6am to teach us,” said Jessica Buckwalter.

“They put us before anything, they use their free time to give us pointers out in the water. We learned on where to line up in the water and how to do a better snap,” said 12-year-old Angel’lea Aguilar.

“This is my first time going to the competition and I think I’m going to do pretty good. We go out to the ocean and surf waves similar to the waves in Hawaii, learning different maneuvers,” said 11-year-old Irie Fitzgerald.

One of the youngest surfers, Minami Cramer, said that she can’t wait to finally go off-island and hit the waves. “This is my third time going to the competition and I’m super excited to go with my friends.”

The Hui Nalu Ocean Club will be taking girls for their fourth year. The girls have won surf boards in passed competitions. “This year is different for us because the girls are ready and they can compete against the experienced girls from Hawaii,” said Hidemi Villatora.

“We’d like to thank Onward Beach Resort for accommodating girls by using the wave pool. The girls will leave this week, the tournament starts in the weekend. They have been training really hard and I’m confident we will do well this year,” said Hidemi Villatora.

Stay tuned to GSPN for updates and photos of their journey.

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