Outer Island Groms Gain Free Entry Into Sponsor Me Ala Moana Bowls

Ian Bowman from the Big Island of Hawaii.

Ian Bowman from the Big Island of Hawaii.

$25,000 Sponsor Me Hawaii at Ala Moana Bowls 2-star World Qualifying Series event will feature two promising surfers—Ian Bowman (Big Island) and Taoa Paoa (Molokai).

The $25,000 Sponsor Me Hawaii at Ala Moana Bowls 2-star World Qualifying Series event will feature two promising grommets from the outer islands. Ian Bowman, 18, of Hilo, Hawaii and Taoa Pou, 13, of Molokai are receiving free entry courtesy of Sponsor Me into the 2-day surf contest that is being held at Ala Moana Bowls on the south shore of O‘ahu.

“For my career aspirations I will and am doing all I can do. I’ve been trying to get exposure through surfing as many contest,” said Bowman who is a senior at Kamehameha Schools Keaau Campus and is planning to attend the University of Hawaii at Hilo next year. “Coming from Hilo it’s pretty hard to become a professional surfer.”

Taoa Pou from Molokai where he claims, "There's not much good surf."

Taoa Pou from Molokai where he claims, "There's not much good surf."

The holding period for the two-day event is June 14-26, and is open to both amateur and professional surfers. As an ASP Hawaii WQS event, The Sponsor Me Hawaii is a critically important contest for local surfers on three levels: international ratings points, the opportunity to win prize money and the chance to claim a spot in the coveted year-end $1,000,000 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing series.

It will be broadcast live on transworldsurf.com, the leader of online surfing culture in connection with Ubiquity Broadcasting Corporation.

The mission of Sponsor Me is to bring the spotlight to the best undiscovered talent in action sports. Bowman and Pou epitomize Sponsor Me’s mission because they are unsponsored with professional surfing aspirations. Both teenage surfers know that a good result at the Sponsor Me Hawaii at Ala Moana Bowls 2-star WQS event will get them exposure to the mainstream surf industry, which is lacking on the Big Island and Molokai.

“The surf scene on Molokai is limited,” said Pou of the almost non-existent surf scene at home. “There aren’t many kids that really surf and there are just a couple of good spots. Competing in the Sponsor Me Hawaii Ala Moana Bowls 2-start WQS event means that I get exposure to something that most kids my age have never get to experience– I get to surf with great surfers and hopefully learn a lot!”

In addition to the free contest entry, both groms will receive coaching sessions on Friday, June 11 from Pancho Sullivan and Myles Padaca of Progressive Surfing at Ala Moana Bowl. Sullivan is a former World Championship Tour (WCT) competitor and Padaca won the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing in 2001.

“Our main focus of Progressive Surfing when we’re working with the kids is helping them understand that they can do this and their goals are totally attainable,” said Padaca who also will be competing at Ala Moana Bowls.

“It’s about putting in the hard yards: practice and repetition. But, it’s also having that mindset.”

Padaca, 39, is originally from the Big Island and moved to the North Shore of O‘ahu to pursue a pro surfing career. He knows firsthand the challenges of hailing from a neighbor island and is excited to share his wealth of knowledge with the next generation of talented surfers.

“We have so many good kids coming out of Hawaii and it’s really exciting coaching and it’s crazy to see how good they are when they are so young,” said Padaca. “They can do an air reverse before they can do a proper roundhouse and it’s exciting to see that technical aspect of surfing.”— Daniel Ikaika Ito