WSL Press Release
Hair-raising, 15 to 20-foot surf set a dramatic stage for the opening day of the HIC Pro Presented by Vans. The solid NW swell, strong easterly trade winds and warm sunny weather at world famous Sunset Beach challenged all yet favored local knowledge. Among those who set the pace were defending champion Danny Fuller (Kauai), Billy Kemper (Maui), and Bruce Irons (Kauai).
The official local qualifier for the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, the HIC Pro provides a platform for Hawaii athletes to compete for points, prize money and a place in the world’s most prestigious surfing series.
Billy Kemper (HAW) wowed the beach crowd with an aggressive off the lip attack, garnering a 9.00, which was the one of the highest single wave scores of the event. Winning the HIC Pro back in 2010, Kemper has grown up competing at Sunset and felt confident on his board in today’s waves.
“It’s such a big playing field … it’s you against the ocean, and I just wanted to have fun and feel my boards out and start the winter off right,” says the 24-year-old. “I felt good. I felt comfortable. I surf out here a lot and put a lot of time in the North Shore. I’ve been living over here since I was eight and bouncing back from Maui.”
Bruce Irons (HAW), 35 years old, showed expert knowledge in wave choice, which landed him the second highest wave score of the day and advancement into the next round.
“It’s not easy, Sunset… it’s victory at sea,” says Irons. “My strategy is to catch waves and not sit. I figure if I ride waves I can win the heat.”
Irons clocked an 8.00 in a stacked heat against fellow islanders Isaiah Moniz and Kahea Hart, and 15-year-old East Coast surfer Stevie Pittman. Irons will compete again once the competition resumes against an all-Hawaii heat including North Shore’s Kona Oliveira and Kai Mana Henry and Ewa’s Davin Torres-Jaime.
“This contest always has crazy competition,” Irons continues. “I remember being one of those young 14 year old kids surfing against Johnny Boy and Occy. It’s a mix of everybody and the kids are the ones you have to worry about, cause the stuff they can do... there’s no limit. I like watching them.
Defending HIC champ Fuller had a strong opening appearance in Heat 5 of the Round of 112, with smooth bottom to top carves on clean wave faces, despite the bumpy conditions.
“I love surfing Sunset, but really anything can happen out there and I was fortunate enough to stick to my game plan and stay on the inside and just get into a rhythm,” said Fuller. “Honestly I haven’t surfed waves like this in a really long time and I guess it’s a matter of tapping back in.”
The highest score and best wave of the day went to Jack Robinson (AUS), who managed a 9.60 ride in the second to last heat of the day, followed by a perfect 10-point wave. An exciting finish to the day, the 18-year-old put on an impressive performance in the giant waves of Sunset.
The contest is looking to resume tomorrow morning, October 29, at 8am. According to the official Surfline report, the waves will be in the head high range as the NNW swell drops off. A solid WNW swell is expected to build in through the day with lighter trade winds.
Round of 96 – 1st and 2nd to next round. All surfers from Hawaii unless noted.
Surfers shown in order of 1st through 4th
H1: Kalani Chapman; Robbie Rickard (AUS); Takayuki Wakita; Kaisa Kawamura (JPN)
H2: Kan Watanabe (JPN); Ezra Sitt; Joao Marco Maffini; Nolan Rapoza
H3: Billy Kemper; Sheldon Simkus (AUS); Skip McCullough (USA); Nate Dorman
H4: Imaikalani deVault; Barron Mamiya; Finn McGill; Nick Vasicek (AUS)
H5: Cristobal De Col (PER); Brandon Todd (USA); Tyler Gunter (USA); Cole Houshmand (USA)
H6: Myles Padaca; Guy Sato (JPN); Ulualoha Napeahi; Alex Pendleton (USA)
H7: Noa Mizuno; Evan Valiere; O’Neill Massin (PYF); Cody Young
H8: Kylen Kamakawa; Lucca Saldivar (PER); John Mel (USA); Cody Canzoneri (USA)
H9: Kamalei Alexander; Landon McNamara; Danny Fuller; Rob Kelly
H10: Jack Robinson (AUS); Schuyler Allen; Quinn McCrystal (USA); Joh Azuchi (JPN)
Round of 112 – 1st and 2nd to next round
H1: Kalani Chapman; Ezra Sitt; Kaoliopuuwai Kahokuloa; Pancho Sullivan
H2: Skip McCullough (USA); Finn McGill; Love Hodel; Edrick Baldwin
H3: Tyler Gunter (USA); Alex Pendleton (USA); Eli Olson; Kaulana Apo
H4: Cody Young; John Mel (USA); Jeames Young (AUS); Reef McIntosh
H5: Danny Fuller; Joh Azuchi (JPN); Laka Burgess; Frank Chenault (USA)
H6: Martin Jeri (PER); Gavin Sutherland; Jonah Morgan; Taichi Wakita (JPN)
H7: Bruce Irons; Stevie Pittman (USA); Isaiah Moniz; Kahea Hart
H8: Benji Brand; Sean Moody; Sheldon Paishon; Jason Shibata
Hawaii News Now
420 Waiakamilo Road, Suite 205
Honolulu, HI 96817
Main (808) 847-3246
News (808) 847-1112