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Taking it to the top in tandem

2 July 19


This year, teams representing USA, Hawaii, South Africa and France competed in the annual Pakaloha Bikinis Tandem SurfingWorld Championships, with the culminating event held in conjunction with the John “Pops” Ah Choy Surf Fest on July 28 in the heart of Waikiki at the Queens surf break. 

Conditions were challenging with inconsistent, small 1-3 foot surf, so in addition to surfing ability, this team had to rely on their acrobatic skills in order to maximize their scoring capacity throughout the competition.

Representing Hawaii and hailing from the island of Kauai, the tandem surfing team of Kalani Vierra and Krystl Apeles Erickson earned the title of 2019 Tandem Surfing World Champions, sanctioned by the International Tandem Surfing Association (ITSA).

Having claimed the world title in both 2015 and 2017, this is the Vierra/Apeles team’s third ITSA world championship win, with Vierra holding an additional four ITSA world champion crowns with previous partners.

Tandem surfing is a very specialized discipline within the sport of surfing because it consists of two surfers on one surfboard, riding a wave while simultaneously performing acrobatic lifts and stunts. Scoring is based 50/50 on surfing and acrobatics combined.

In addition to Vierra and Apeles, three other teams advanced to the final round of the day. 

Final round scoring:

Kalani Vierra / Krystl Apeles (HAW): 13.73

Alika Willis / Leslie Sanchez (HAW): 10.83

Rico Leroy / Sara Burel (FRA): 10.63

Leleo Kinimaka / Lauren Oiye (HAW): 10.00

The ITSA would like to recognize their key sponsors for this year’s world championship event: title sponsor

Pakaloha Bikinis - handmade, colorful Brazilian bikinis, apparel and accessories found at their new boutique in the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa. pakalohabikinins.com 

SeaHawaii, Major Sponsor “Love the Ocean!” - quality ocean apparel to keep you comfortable and protected from the sun both in and out of the water. SeaHawaii celebrates 30 years as a Native Hawaiian owned and operated Eco-marine tour. seahawaii.com

Da Hui Wax “All Grip. No Slip. Stick It.” Created and tested by Hawaii’s top surfers with a grip like no other. wax dahuiwax.com 

Salvage Public - Honolulu menswear brand, designed in Hawaii by Hawaiians. salvagepublic.com 

Report from: 

Tiffany Rabacal-Harper - Co-President, International Tandem Surfing Association. itsatandemsurf.org

Betty Depolito, Banzai Video and Media Productions banzaibetty.com

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