ITSA Tandem surfers: Duke should be proud

Chuck Inman and Tiffany Rabacal have conquered the 2011 Duke’s OceanFest World Tandem Tour Contest for the third time in four years. The former ISA world champions have now increased their lead on the WTT and are one step closer to a second championship win that will culminate in less than two weeks at Cocoa Beach, Florida.

"We were happily surprised when we found out we won", said Rabacal. "The final was intense with teams catching waves all around us, but we kept calm and focused. We think it’s awesome that we get to celebrate a win on Duke’s birthday".

The single-day event showcased some of the best teams in the world from Hawaii, Florida and Australia who wowed onlookers on the beach with their athleticism, grace and acrobatics on water. As the 8th stop on the 2011 International Tandem Surfing Association (ITSA) World Tandem Tour, the contest has a $2000 prize purse and is one of several critical stops on the tour.

The action packed 30-minute final featured wave after wave of difficult acrobatic lifts balanced high atop challenging surf maneuvers that had the cheering crowd on their feet. Runners-up Pauly Chambers and Krystl Apeles (HAW) staged an impressive comeback after placing second in both their semi and repo heats before advancing to the final.

Placing third were Fred and Lily Branger, first-time competitors on the ITSA WTT, who combined skillful surfing with difficult lifts and innovative transitions. In fourth place were reigning ASP longboard world champion Duane DeSoto and his partner Kathy Terada, who happily waved to the crowd despite being in a lift called the Cobra where she was in a full split held high above the breaking wave.

Inman and Rabacal live and train in Waikiki year round and were highly favored as one of the teams to win this year.

Final results:

1st - $700 – Chuck Inman/Tiffany Rabacal (HAW) – 17.10 points
2nd - $600 – Pauly Chambers/Krystl Apeles (HAW) – 15.05 points
3rd - $300 – Fred Branger/Lily Branger (AUS) – 13.91 points
4th - $200 – Duane DeSoto/Kathy Terada (HAW) – 13.45 points