Friday 8 February
It was a magical day at Sunset Beach today, with a picture perfect Hawaiian day accompanied by giant but managable surf in the 12ft+ range (20ft plus faces). The perfect setting saw some spectacular action that took us all the way through the trials and through 6 heats of the 1st round in the Main Event. With mindblowing conditions and action to match, Sunset Beach once again legitimized itself as the ultimate opener for the Stand Up World Tour.
In a trials event that saw some of the most celebrated names in Hawaiian Ocean Sports history such as the Keaulanas face off against some of the premier big wave riders in the world such as Jamie Sterling from Oahu, Grant Twiggy Baker from South Africa and even Manoa Drollet from Tahiti, 8 lucky quarterfinalists ended up advancing through to the Main event to join the 36 seeded athletes and 4 wildcards.
Stand outs from the Trials were Kekoa Auwae from Makaha, Oahu, who put on an incredible performance to advance through to the Main Event, with one of the better barrels of the day, but also big wave charger Jamie Sterling, Big Island’s Mikey O’Shaughnessey and the Japanese legend, Kohei Shirakawa. Finally Peruvian athlete Tamil Martino put on an incredible performance, surfing with style and flow.
With the 8 Trialists completing the Main event draw, we went straight into the 1st Round to watch the world’s best do battle in magnificent Sunset Beach conditions. As expected, the action was intense, as some unexpected names made their presence felt, while local knowledge and experience paid off in the tricky and imposing Sunset line up.
Kody Kerbox (Naish) from Maui opened up his event campaign with a solid first heat, dispatching the new World Champion Leco Salazar from Brazil to the Repecharge, while 2012 Sunset Beach Pro Champion Bonga Perkins from Oahu made his way directly to Round 3 alongside an ecstatic young Danish athlete by the name of Casper Steinfath (Naish).
Kala Alexander from Kauai demonstrated exceptional wave lecture and knowledge in his Round 1 heat, finding the best barrel of the day, despite just catching a rail on exiting cleanly, and connecting swooping turns into the inside bowl to catch the judges eye and get the scores he needed to advance.
Likewise Ikaika Kalama (Rogue) and Kainoa Hauanio (Rogue), both from the Big Island of Hawaii put on clinics on how to negotiate the tricky Sunset lineup and each won their heats to advance directly through to the 3rd round.
With a confident performance in his Round 1 heat, Kai Lenny (Naish) from Maui advances directly through to Round 3 clearly making a statement of his goals for 2013.
Meanwhile, in a close second and also advancing, Australia’s Dave Muir puts on a strong performance, matching power with power to advance through to Round 3.
So next call will be at 7am tomorrow morning, as the High Surf advisory remains in effect, potentially providing even bigger surf than today, so the action promises to stun and entertain. Make sure you don’t miss it and tune into http://sunsetbeachpro.standupworldtour.com/stream.php to watch the live broadcast.
Also check back in to sunsetbeachpro.standupworldtour.com to view highlights from today’s action that will be online shortly.
Coming up next, heats 7 – 12 of Round 1, the repecharge and then Round 3, with such legends as Aaron Napoleon from Oahu, Arsene Harehoe from Tahiti and even Garrett McNamara, resident in Hawaii. We will also see World Tour regulars such as World #2 Sean Poynter from Florida and the Wildman Zane Schweitzer from Maui joined by surfing legend Makua Rothman from right here at Sunset Beach, Oahu.
A big thank you goes out to our sponsors of the 2013 Sunset Beach Pro: Amp Energy, GoPro, Starboard, Maui Jim, Turtle Bay Resort, Pacifico, Malibu Rum, Da Hui SUP and the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl.
A big thank you also to our World Tour Patrons: go to www.standupworldtour.com for more information on the leading brands in the industry helping to drive the sport of Stand Up Paddling forward.