HONOLULU — Ezekiel Lau, 14, of Honolulu, has won stop No. 4 of the Hard Rock Cafe Surf Series, presented by the Hawai‘i Surfing Association, to finally break out of a victory drought that spanned “forever” and qualify for the state championships.
Surfing at Rennicks this weekend, Lau found himself in a winning groove at his home break to outpoint fellow juniors Kylen Yamakawa, Matty Costa and Buddy Wiggins in 2-foot surf.
“I just kept busy, caught every little wave around and tried to get lucky,” said Lau about his heat strategy. “I haven’t won a contest in forever. It feels great.”
Lau boosted tail-free turns and airs without hesitation in the final.
He opened up the heat with an eight-point ride out of a possible 10. The Kamehameha School freshmen also surfed with out a leash in the final, allowing him to surf faster in the small waves.
“I usually don’t surf out here with a leash anyways and it’s tiny,” Lau said. “You go faster because there’s less drag.”
Surfing leash-less helped Lau surf with speed, but it also hindered him in the final. After dominating the whole heat, Lau had an opportunity to solidify his victory on a fast, right breaking wave in the last few minutes. The regular foot was setting up for a huge aerial maneuver when he accidentally caught a rail, fell and lost his board.
“I just did a little check turn off the top and when I came off the bottom I saw the line just stretch,” said Lau of his last ride. “I was just going to pump and do a fat air, but I don’t know. I think my back foot slipped off. Sickening. Then I lost my board.”
Lau was left standing on the shallow reef, wondering if he just threw away a win. As he swam for his board, the horn blew to end the heat.
“I thought that would seal the deal right there,” said Lau about his last wave in the final. “I saw Kylen get two good ones so I thought I blew it.”
Luckily for Lau, his previous two waves, an 8 and a 6, were enough to capture the win.
“This is only my second (HSA) contest (this year),” Lau said. “I only did the two events that were here so I think this bumped me up so I made states.”