October 15, 2004 Maui, Hawaii, USA Paia, HI -- The 19th Annual Aloha Classic Wave Championship is coming back to Hookipa, Maui with unheralded community and windsurfing industry support. The focus of this year's event is to provide a world-class platform for all wave sailors that highlights Maui as the premier wave sailing location, and to determine who is the best rider of the season. Top wave sailors from around the world will gather at Hookipa Beach Park, from November 8 through the 10th, for some of the best wave sailing action. November is historically known to have the best wind and wave conditions, with trade winds blowing side shore at 15-20 knots and waves that can reach up to 10 -15 feet. Maui has been hungry to bring back this premier event, one of the longest running wave contests in history.
From the first event back in 1984, up to its last running in 2001, the Aloha Classic set the tone for top pro-wavesailing on Maui and established the island as a premier windsurfing and tourist destination worldwide. The organizers, Marc Lefebvre (Event Director) and Pietro Porcella (Marketing Director) have taken on the task to bring back this classic event. "This year in order to establish a firm foundation we are re-establishing the amateur contest format so that the event will bring competitive wave sailing back to the community of Maui", says Lefebvre, chairman of Aloha Entertainment Foundation, the non-profit organization that is running the event. "Its important that windsurfing doesnt forget the kids, juniors, as well as masters(35 and over), and grand masters(45 and over) as these sailors are the life of our sport." The event this year is open to all sailors who want to test their skills against the best in the world.
The Aloha Classic will be running divisions for men and women in all of these categories as well as an Open Division for the top sailors to compete in. And that division will see the return of some of the legends of the sport and previous winners of the event such as Alex Aguera, Mark Angulo, Rush Randle, Dave Kalama, Anders Bringdal, Josh Stone, and possibly 5 time Aloha winner Robby Naish. Prizes this year will be in form of windsurfing equipment and total around $10,000.
"In our vision, this years Aloha Classic will be the stepping stone to a full on pro contest to be add on the tour next year for an historical 20th edition. We are actually already making history this year, having for the first time ever, the worlds top Junior sailors and the first Kids Division for riders under 15 years of age", says Pietro Porcella, who has been a pioneer windsurfing world-travel journalist since 1978, before organizing events in Europe for the last 15 years and then moved to Maui in 2000.
Marc and Pietro can count on the collaboration of local event veterans that have helped pull this event together including event founder, Paul Ehman of Haiku, who is taking care of the TV production and distribution with extensions in Europe and Japan, as well as other industry luminaries who are coming out to support the event. The judging panel includes windsurfings first world champion Matt Schweitzer of Launiopoko, Rob Funk of Paia, Doug Hunt of Haiku, Sailboard Maui's head shaper Dave Mel, veteran CBS Sports announcer Tom Pace, and Australian Luke Hargraves.
So far one of the biggest success of the event has been the support from the community with out-of-industry sponsors like Maui Tacos, Fly.Com -- Hawaii, Mac Net, Gillo Design, MFC Optics, Fred Haywood Realty, Live Wire Cafe, Charlies Restaurant, Sandbar Restaurant, Jacques Bistro, and Ale House of Kahului. Local and worldwide media sponsors that will carry the message of the Aloha Classic includes Surf a Vela Spain, Windsport Magazine Canada, Wind Magazine France, Windsurf Italia Magazine, Pacific Radio Group, The Maui Weekly, and Media Fun Promotion.
The rally from the local windsurfing industry includes Neil Pryde Maui, Hi-Tech Surf Sports, Hawaiian Island Surf, Second Wind, Simmer Style Hawaii, Windsurf School of Maui, and Sailboard Maui. In addition to these great shops, manufacture support has come from Dakine, RRD, Hot Sails Maui, Star Board, Powerex, Chinook, Quatro, and WindsurfingClassifieds.Com.