Thanks to Barbara, surf’s up at Honolii for Pro-Am

  • Diesel Butts used the Big Island Pro-A Surfing Trials as a launching pad, placing second recently in an NSSA event in California.

Nothing is ever certain for surfers, but Stan Lawrence figures this weekend looks about as good as it gets for the 35th annual Quiksilver-Maui Jim Sunglasses Pro-Am Surfing Trials at Honolii , most likely on Sunday morning.

“It’s going to happen this weekend,” said organizer Stan Lawrence, owner of Orchidland Surf Shop, “and from the looks of it, I’m pretty sure it will be Sunday, but I have to hold off on the official announcement until Friday.”


This year’s event, limited to the first 80 residents who enter, will be contested in memory of the passing of a longtime pillar of the surfing community, Owen Koehne. The entry fee is a nonrefundable $60, which includes a T-shirt.

Surfers will compete in junior men’s under 18, women’s open, open 9 foot longboard, and open body board divisions.

Lawrence called up a hurricane tracking website that showed Hurricane Barbara heading directly toward the Hawaiian Islands, but the path and the intensity is expected to change as it nears.

“It’s headed straight for us,” Lawrence said, but when it gets to colder water, it will die out, and that’s obviously what we want, but we’re greedy, we don’t want it hurricane, we just want those waves.”

North Shore, Oahu, airfare and entries into professional contests will be awarded proportionally to winners, depending on the number of entries in each division. Winners will get entry into professional contests held from October 2019 through March of 2020. Entry into a Oahu pro-contest is worth $150 and there will be more than $3,000 in prizes.

“It’s so competitive over there (on Oahu), so many competitions, so many points being awarded, that I can’t get guys over 18 into those contests anymore,” Lawrence said. “But the younger ones have a real opportunity to get a flight and entry fee paid for and then compete for some real winnings.”

The top four junior men finishers get slots in the Pro-Junior events on Oahu. The Pro-am Surfing Trials is the Big Island’s premiere surfing event and the rookie development league for Hawaii Island surfers.


Diesel Butts is one of the surfers who gained from competing in the Big-Island Pro-Am. Last month, he placed second in the 2019 NSSA National Championships Explorer Menehune Division at Huntington Beach in California, missing first place by less than half a point. The NSSA is the country’s top amateur surfing platform.

Koehnen was a life-long surfer and actively promoted developing youth surfing. He was a charter member of the restore Kaipalaoa Park working group, which saw, under Mayor Billy Kenoi, the creation of downtown Hilo’s small beach park and the site of the Hilo Bay lighthouse. Owen was a perennial surf judge at the Pro-am and a critical day-of-event organizer.

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