Honolulu, HI (August 25, 2019) – Red Bull Party Wave, the competition that challenges teams to build their own surf vessels and ride the best wave as a group, showcased Hawaiian community and culture to crowds in the hundreds as the penultimate event at iconic Duke’s OceanFest.
Duke’s OceanFest, Hawaii’s premier ocean sports festival, is held in Waikiki at Kuhio Beach and celebrates Duke Kahanamoku’s life, his athletic contributions as an iconic waterman, and his spirit of Aloha that lives on in Hawaii. Red Bull Party Wave pays homage to Duke Kahanamoku, combining athleticism and creativity, a nod to the fun-loving and innovative intersection of Hawaiian culture.
After a weather-impacted cancellation in 2018, the much-anticipated 5th annual surf event pitted 13 innovative teams against each other in an inventive and resourceful capacity. Local partners Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii and the Kokua Foundation ensured the beach and event site was left in pristine condition, educating crowds on keeping our beaches clean and free of waste.
Tasked with building individual crafts capable of holding up to 6 participants, Party Wave contestants were also required to come prepared with themed costumes and unique skits, to wow the crowds and impress the judges. Post skit, the heats of four teams paddled out in a head-to-head surf challenge, taking on the waves, and each other, as best they could.
With conditions considered, surf skills were put to the test. “Our experience today was, I’m just going to call it, my heaviest wipe-out of the year, with five of my best friends. It was gnarly,” said participant and pro surfer, Jamie O’Brien. “I think Party Wave plays a really good role in Hawaii as it shows everybody that we can team up with all of our friends and have a lot of fun, all share a great time together, and make surfing more of a team sport.”
Celebrity guest judges included Red Bull Speedrunning athlete GrandPOOBear, three-time World Champion surfer and Red Bull athlete Carissa Moore, Hawaiian weather anchor and surf expert, Guy Hagi, and local surfboard shaping legend, Carl Schaper. Looking for craft creativity, team showmanship/costumes, and performance on wave(s), top honors were awarded to pro-surfer Jamie O’Brien and his team O’Brien’s Luau, who were up against some heavy hitting competition, including 2nd place Dirty Feet Crew from North Shore Oahu and 3rd place team, Lelé Waá, from West Oahu.
Team Lelé Waá, which means Flying Canoe, a team of veteran waterman and foil-surfers, utilized the foiling technology in their repurposed and sustainable craft. This approach brought together the highlights of Hawaiian culture, innovation and environmental responsibility for the lifelong watermen. Sam Pae, Captain of Team Lelé Waá said of the event; “This is one of the best events. To be with everyone, see all of the different crafts and see what we can all do together, that’s the best part. Surfing started here in Hawaii, we get to perpetuate the Hawaiian culture, and help keep Hawaii clean and everything right, it’s the Aloha spirit”
The Aloha spirit ran deep through the entire day, all teams, and supportive crowd.
“Red Bull Party Wave is an amazing event and it’s great to be a part of,” said winning team captain, Jamie O’Brien. “It brings out the fun in the ocean, and that’s what Duke Kahanamoku did. He was good at everything so I am sure modern-day Duke would love to be part of this event, and he’d probably be hosting it for us. He’s watching down on us and blessing these waves and a good time.”
A special Duke’s Aloha Award, presented by the Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association, was awarded to Waikiki Sea Creatures, reigning champs from 2017 with deep intrinsic ties to the spirit of Hawaii’s land and sea, who best exemplified Duke Kahanamoku’s spirit of Aloha.
For more information on the 5th annual Red Bull Party Wave visit: redbull.com/partywave.
For more information on Duke’s OceanFest, visit: dukesoceanfest.com.
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