The cast of ABC’s “The Ultimate Surfer,” including Maui’s Kai Barger (middle row, first from left), is pictured. ABC photo

The Maui News

Haiku’s Kai Barger is among the 14 surfers who will compete for the title of “The Ultimate Surfer,” a new television show set to premier this summer on ABC.

According to a news release Thursday: ” ‘The Ultimate Surfer’ will gather some of the world’s greatest up-and-coming surfers to train and live together as they battle it out at (the World Surf League’s) state-of-the-art Surf Ranch in Lemoore, California, powered by Kelly Slater’s human-made wave technology, in the hope of competing amongst the best athletes in the world’s fastest-growing sport.”

The show is set to be hosted by former NFL quarterback Jesse Palmer, with sports anchor Erin Coscarelli and Joe Turpel serving as commentators. Eleven-time world champion Slater is the show’s lead consultant and will also serve as a special correspondent.

Barger, 31, is one of four Hawaii surfers in the cast, along with Oahu’s Zeke Lau and Koa Smith, and Kauai’s Brianna Cope. Barger has competed regularly on the WSL qualifying series, though not since 2016. He made two appearances in championship tour events, in 2009 and 2011.

“Alliances and rivalries will be front and center in ‘The Ultimate Surfer’ as men and women compete in individual and team challenges focused on specific surfing disciplines,” the release said. “Weekly eliminations will leave two men and two women as finalists who will vie for the male and female titles of the The Ultimate Surfer and the opportunity to compete on the elite WSL Championship Tour, the pinnacle of professional surfing.”

Other surfers in the cast include Anastasia Ashley, Mason Barnes, Tia Blanco, Austin Clouse, Luke Davis, Kayla Durden, Juli Hernandez, Alejandro Moreda, Malia Ward and Bruna Zaun.

The show’s two-night premier is set for Aug. 23 and 24.


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