For whatever reason, Maui’s group of young talent just continues to blow up harder than anyone expected. The latest of the Valley Isle’s rippers to officially make his claim as one of the elite under-22 surfers in the world: 19 yr. old Kai Barger.
Word of Barger’s victory at the Billabong ASP World Junior Championships came as a surprise to most of us, probably even all of us. If a surfer from Maui was going to become the new ASP World Junior Title holder, chances are it was going to be Dusty Payne or even Granger Larsen. And Barger apparently felt the same way. “I’m as high as Saturn’s kite baby!” Barger said after his monumental victory. “Out of all the incredible surfers in this event, like Dusty and Granger and Julian Wilson, I probably had the least amount of confidence, but I guess this goes to show that every dog has his day and today’s mine!”
The fact that Kai was an afterthought as far as Maui’s surfers go is a testament to how stacked the line-ups must be over there. As far as making names for themselves, you would be hard-pressed to find two surfers who did more to announce their arrival in 2008 than Dusty Payne and Clay Marzo. Payne’s win in Bali and nearly becoming the youngest Triple Crown of Surfing winner went right along with Andy Irons and Kelly Slater labeling Marzo as the best 18 yr. old surfer in the world in Marzo’s Just Add Water. Now, Barger’s huge win to kick-off 2009 will keep the spotlight firmly on Maui’s young crew for years to come.
There’s something special going on over on Maui. If anyone has any idea just what it is, I would love to hear why…..
Posted by Shaun on Thursday, January 8th, 2009 in Surfing.