Kaua‘i’s Awesome Wahine Surfers

Kaua‘i’s Malia Manuel, pictured here at the 2012 U.S. Open of Surfing, again will be among the ASP Top 17 for the 2013 season. Photo courtesy Association of Surfing Professionals

“This place was like the Roman Empire. And the Wild West. And war-torn Poland. And Poland. There was just a lot going on.” — Dwight Schrute, “The Office”

There’s a lot going on right now, as well. We’re right smack in the middle of the KIF fall sports season, we’re approaching the middle of the NCAA football season, it’s the end of the Major League Baseball regular season, the beginning of the NBA preseason and about a quarter of the way through the NFL season. Not to mention that the women’s surf season has just concluded and that the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing kicks off in just a month. So rather than choosing one topic this week on which to opine, I’m giving off a number of quick hitters.

• The population of Kaua‘i makes up about one-thousandth of 1 percent of the world, so having roughly 12 percent of the ASP women’s Top 17 from Kaua‘i is as impressive as it is disproportionate. Malia Manuel and Alana Blanchard both will be back among the Top 17 for the 2013 season after Manuel finished sixth in the 2012 World Championship Tour rankings, and Blanchard clinched a spot in the Top 17 with her semifinal appearance at the 6-Star Azores Pro to close out the Women’s World Tour season. They’ll join fellow Hawaii riders Carissa Moore and Coco Ho, which gives Hawaii a quarter of the world’s most successful wahine.

• I’m done trying to predict what the KIF football season has in store for us. From now on, I’ll just sit back and enjoy the action, because trying to figure out what’s to come on a week-to-week basis is senseless. Kapa‘a, which looked every bit the defending champion with a 43-point outburst in its first battle against Kaua‘i, has put up just seven points in its two games since, including a shutout at the hands of the Red Raiders. Since losing its second game by four touchdowns, Kaua‘i (3-1) has climbed back to the top of the standings and put both Kapa‘a (1-2) and Waimea (1-2) in a precarious position if either hopes to hoist the 2012 title. The Warriors and Menehune played what could amount to an elimination game this past weekend (results unavailable at press time).

• The University of Hawaii has had an awful start to its season. There’s no reason to sugarcoat it. They’re 1-3 through four games and have been outscored 165-34 by anyone not named Lamar. However, there’s also no reason to give up. Head coach Norm Chow has a track record of piecing together offenses that are not just successful, but prolific. Once he is able to bring his type of players into the Warrior program, I have no doubt that he’ll rebuild UH into an offensive juggernaut. As a side note, I was glad to see that defensive tackle Siasau Matagiese (Waimea) was released from the hospital and that X-rays were negative following a neck injury against BYU. My thoughts and well-wishes go out to the Matagiese family.

• With the MLB playoffs here, my long-shot team to win it all is the St. Louis Cardinals. They face the toughest path as a Wild Card and may not even get to the Divisional Round, but their win total is not indicative of their talent. The Cards have the third-highest run differential (+118) in the league, trailing only the Washington Nationals and New York Yankees. If they are able to get past the Atlanta Braves in the Wild Card game, look out for St. Louis to do what it’s done before and charge from the back of the pack all the way to the World Series.

• What had been just a nightmare for us non-Laker fans is now a reality as Steve Nash and Dwight Howard appeared in their new L.A. jerseys for the start of NBA training camp. I’m sure that Dwight Howard, who takes criticism about as well as Kanye West, will have no problems being on the receiving end of Kobe’s patented eye-roll and scowl. At least that’s how I comfort myself into thinking this season isn’t over before it begins.

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