LIHU‘E — The 9th Annual Irons Brothers Pine Trees Classic, which took place Saturday at Hanalei Bay, brought out a full group of groms and grommets, with 131 contestants hitting the waves in two-to-three-foot surf.
Event coordinators said approximately 400 individuals came out for the event, either as participants or spectators.
The yearly contest for Kaua‘i keiki is put together by island surf legends Andy and Bruce Irons, their wives, Lindy and Mia, as well as their parents, Phil and Danielle.
Though Andy was unable to attend this year’s event, the first he has had to miss in the contest’s history, Kamalei Alexander, Chava Greenlee, Kai Garcia and Danny Way joined Bruce as some of the surfers on hand to hang with the competitors.
Andy did get to hear the kids shout their alohas and well wishes to him via cell phone, as he remains in Australia recovering from injury and training for the ongoing Association of Surfing Professionals World Tour.
Contest director Miguel Graham, who has also been running events for Hawaiian Surfing Federation Kaua‘i, said the day went as well as all had hoped.
“I’m super stoked to be a part of this event,” he said. “The parents and kids were awesome, for some of them it was their first time at a contest... The flow of the contest and Kaua‘i family vibe was perfect, it couldn’t have been any better.
“Good on ya Irons family!” he added.
With six divisions of competitive keiki surf, the day saw its share of great performances.
In the Menehune Girls division (6 to 8 years old), Nyla Say came away with the first-place prize.
Gabriela Bryan finished in second place, followed by Kamalei Kaauwai, Kamaile Akau, Kawehi Graham and Aylan Sprecher rounding out the top six.
The Menehune Boys (6-8) was won by Keoni Steiner. Steiner is no stranger to the Pine Trees surf, having participated in grom events dating back to a 2006 win in the Push-In division at the Quiksilver Menehune Surf Out.
Coming in second place was Campbell Sheehan with Cole Estrella in third. Kiwa‘a Hermosura, Sage Tutterow and Sammy Gray completed the Menehune Boys top six.
The Girls 9-10 division was won by Sunshine Patey. Patey finished second in the Menehune Girls division last year, while also being named Outstanding Girls Surfer for the 2009 event.
Ashlynn Owings and Grace Stokes finished second and third, respectively, with Chanel Trembley, Kelta O’Rourke and Joy Millbrand making the top six.
O’Rourke finished just ahead of Patey last year in winning the Menehune division title.
The Boys 9-10 division saw Esai Easley grab the first-place finish, with Ryder Guest coming in just behind in second.
Conan Gentil and Kyler Michaels took third and fourth, respectively, as Reef Hanalei Ewald was fifth and Reese Leonard, sixth.
Coral Vernon, who finished in second in last year’s Girls 11-12 division, made the one-spot jump into first place in this year’s contest. Anuhea Haddy was also on the podium for her second straight year, taking second place after a third in last year’s 9-10 division.
Camilla Vernon took third place, another repeat finisher after a third in 2008. Chloe Shutt, Sanoe Kalama and Emmalani Lloyd rounded out the top six.
Luka Lo‘i grabbed the top prize in the Boys 11-12 division, with Colby Sargent and Titus Landridge finishing in second and third, respectively.
Jakob Herbert took fourth place, Noah Funaki, fifth, and Topher Inman was sixth.
Six brand new surfboards were also given away to competitors, with TItus Landridge, Chanson Hawelu, Kalei Kanehe, Koalani Kallai, Topher Inman and Ryan Kaui the lucky recipients.
Red Bull provided two all-expense paid trips to the U.S. Open to Coral Vernon and Luka Lo‘i, the winners of the Junior Boys and Girls events.
Volcom also provided inter-island round trip tickets to two competitors and CJs awarded dinner for two.