HIC Pro surfing heats up

Things are officially underway for Hawaii’s winter surf season, as the Hawaiian Island Creations Pro got underway on its opening day Tuesday at Sunset Beach.

The HIC Pro is a highly anticipated and prestigious event that lets Hawaii surfers show their local prowess on a tough wave. The field also includes contestants from eight additional nations with the grand prize being a spot in the upcoming Triple Crown of Surfing.

Last year’s HIC Pro champion, Sunny Garcia, said in an event release that Monday, the day before the waiting period, “was one of the best days I have ever surfed at Sunset. Six to eight feet, no wind, really good. I’m ready.”

Garcia, 43, is obviously one of the old-schoolers still competing with the young guns, but the veteran had some friendly(?) advice for those surfers about half his age.

“Hawaii’s the place where real men come to do real surfing, on real boards and real waves,” he said in the Ocean Promotion release. “All these kids who show up with their small boards thinking they’re going to do aerials … get a bigger board. They make the same mistake every year and just end up getting in the way.”

The 2013 HIC Pro began with a pair of trial heats for eight youngsters hoping to surf their way into the main draw of 144. That worked out well for Kauai’s Gavin Klein, a Waimea High School grad, who won both his heats against some top talent including Kauai’s Dorian Blanchard and young Team Hawaii member Imaikalani Devault. Klein was then unable to advance with a shortage of waves in his round of 144 heat.

Seedings dictate in which round surfers begin and the top seeds will not have to compete until the round of 64. Those 32 top seeds who don’t have to sweat out the early rounds and get the longest wait include Garcia, Dusty Payne, Ezekiel Lau, Freddy Patacchia, Gregg Nakamura, Kauai’s Gavin Gillette, Mason Ho, Joel Centeio and Australian powerhouse Jack Freestone.

Kauai will have a big presence in the round of 96, with four seeded surfers already slated to compete. Alex Smith, Kaimana Jaquias, Dylan Goodale and Bruce Irons are all lined up to begin in that third round, with more possibly joining them.

A pair hoping to do just that are Koa Smith and Evan Valiere, who were unfortunately paired in the same four-man heat for their opening round of 128. Results from those round of 128 heats and beyond were unavailable as of press time.

A pair of former Triple Crown champions were also matched up in the same round of 128 heat, with Kauai’s Kaipo Jaquias, the 1996 Triple Crown champ, and Myles Padaca, the 2001 champ, each hoping for a good HIC Pro result.

Kauai surfers Chris Foster, Pancho Sullivan and Nathan Carvalho also begin their weeks in the round of 128.

With that much representation, hopefully the Garden Isle gets some deep runs at this Association of Surfing Professionals 4-Star event that holds a $95,000 prize pool. Check back later in the week for further results and follow live at vans.com/eventsites/hicpro/ and on Oceanic Time Warner channels 250 and 1250.

• Wong’s major mistake: I felt terrible for Kolten Wong after he was picked off at first base for the final out of Game 4 of the World Series, but I can’t totally say I was surprised. Going back to Game 2, after Wong notched a pinch-hit single in the eighth inning, there was a throw over to first base in which Wong was caught leaning toward second base and only got back without a close play because the throw was a bit lackadaisical and to the home plate side of the bag.

At the time, I remarked to a friend that Wong was caught there and lucky to have made it back safely. So when he was needlessly caught leaning for the final out with Carlos Beltran at the plate on Sunday, it didn’t come as a shock.

While the Cards are in a tough spot, now down 3-2 and playing the final two games in Boston, I do expect St. Louis to win today behind starter Michael Wacha. Then it comes down to a Game 7, where anything can happen. So enjoy the final baseball of 2013.

• ‘My Thoughts Exactly’ appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays in The Garden Island. Email David Simon your comments or questions to dsimon@thegardenisland.com. Follow David on Twitter @SimonTGI

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