2006 Kona Classic Day 7: And the Winner is…

Filed under: — Anastasia @ 10:27 am

We briefly considered squeezing in one last dive Saturday morning, but laziness and a desire to travel with dry scuba gear won out. Most of the day was spent sitting around, eating, or shopping – Hawaii is one place where I love to shop. I loaded up on fishy earrings at the shops downtown, Jeff added to his collection of Aloha wear at the local Ross, and my small library of Hawaiian pop music grew a little larger at the Kona Borders.

Best of all, I found a dress to wear to the awards banquet – with fish on it! To match my earrings! For $10! Check it out:


The last bits of the afternoon we spent attempting to consolidate our stuff into packable piles, to save time the following morning. I should have taken a picture of our hotel room during the week we occupied it – it looked like the SCUBA fairy threw up all over. Or possibly the computer fairy, with all the laptops, external drives, and cables lying around…

I was surprisingly nervous going into the Awards Banquet. The thing was: I really wanted to win. I’m not usually a very competitive person, and this was something I didn’t really expect to have that great a chance at, given the competition. But I feel like I’m a pretty good editor, and I had a nifty idea for the basic storyline of my video, so I was more confident than a first-time competitor really should have been.

We managed to squeeze most of our boat buddies into one table, though there was a bit of overflow to the next table over. Eric Cheng, one of the photo/video pros for the week, joined us for dinner, proving that he’s just as fun to sit and talk with as he is to dive with. Jeff chatted him up about how to get started publishing photos in magazines, and I pestered him about his diving life (he’s only 30! And he takes amazing photos and videos AND is making a career out of it!), and about video equipment. He’s good people, and I’m not just writing that because he knows how to find my blog.

After everyone finished scarfing down dinner, they got down to the business of giving out awards. Our boat made a very respectable showing – I think we wound up with more than 15 awards (including honorable mentions). Jeff picked up a 3rd place in wide angle, an honorable mention in macro, and then – the one he was really psyched about – a 1st place in Photo Journalist! What was especially cool about the Photo Journalism category is that all the winners were from our boat, and they were all FANTASTIC photo sets.

Photo Journalists: Bonnie, Jeff, Dee and Jim, presented their awards by Ty Sawyer


Up next was the video category. First came an honorable mention – Jeff Leicher, owner of Jack’s Diving Locker. It was amazing footage as always, but not quite as polished as his usual submissions. I suspect he intentionally recused himself from placing in the category, so as not to compete with his customers!

Next was third place, and I was getting nervous. I wanted to be one of the three so people could see my video, so I was hoping to see my movie show up… but on the other hand, what I REALLY wanted was first place, so I didn’t want to see it yet!

And I didn’t – 3rd place was, again, amazing footage by a local. This guy goes out on black water dives at night – basically floating around under a boat in the open ocean. He shot video of all the little translucent and glowy critters that float around out there. Did I mention it was amazing? Now I was starting to worry I wouldn’t place at all.

2nd place, and I held my breath – Dave Husted! Whoah. Dave has won several years running, and he’s been my mentor for the last year (and loaner of much equipment). I was sad to see him dethroned, terrified that I wouldn’t place at all since it seemed unlikely I’d beat Dave, and still a smidge excited that 1st place was still available. Dave’s movie was hysterically funny as always: he dressed up like a conductor and “conducted” all the fish in the ocean, to some really fun music. Good stuff.

And finally they were up to 1st place. There were three other folks and myself left as possible winners, and I wasn’t familiar with any of their work – so I really couldn’t say how good my chances were. So imagine my delight when I saw the familiar titles for my video pop up on the screen!

Here I am surrounded by crazy-talented people:

(That’s a better shot of the fish dress, too!)

There was something awfully poetic on winning my first time out, just like Jeff did last year. Pretty cool.

We finished off our evening by closing down the bar next door (not hard; it closed at 11:30), along with a bunch of our new buddies from the Kona Classic. Jeff and I then crawled to bed for a bit of sleep before a day of packing and traveling.

The traveling part was not so bad, but packing was a bit of an adventure, thanks to Jeff’s prize in the photojournalism category. He won an Aqualung limited edition Mistral (double-hose regulator: think Jacques Cousteau), which came in TWO BOXES, one of which was a fancy wooden display case that’s notoriously breakable during shipping.

Enter the Husteds, YET AGAIN, to rescue us. They invited us to breakfast at their house, which is just up the street from the airport, and took the monster off our hands to ship or carry themselves. And we finally had an excuse to see their house! Which is beautiful! That’s it; we’re packing up and moving to Hawaii.



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