Surfers score big with the swell up at Reef Hawaiian Pro

The swell came down Saturday after a few big days at Haleiwa for the Reef Hawaiian Pro, the first jewel of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. With strong sets rolling in Thursday and Friday, competitors were making the most of the powerful North Shore waves on Saturday, which were consistent at one to two feet and some still peaking overhead. The water is supposed to be relatively flat for much of the upcoming week, according to the Surfline.com forecast, so Saturday was probably the last day of action before a heavy dose of lay days.

Starting with 128 competitors, the event has seen more than half the field eliminated as the Round of 64 got underway Saturday. Kauai’s Dylan Goodale was one of the first to make it through into the Round of 32, as he took second place in his early heat. Goodale’s 12.10 two-wave total was enough to edge out fellow Hawaii powerhouse Ezekiel Lau (11.70) and he advanced along with France’s Jeremy Flores (14.20).

Goodale’s path into the Round of 32 started with a win in his opening Round of 128 heat, advancing with second-place finisher Santiago Muniz of Argentina. It was then a narrow win in the Round of 96 for Goodale, whose 11.87 total bested a very tight heat. The North Shore’s Pancho Sullivan was the unlucky third-place finisher of that foursome, when his 10.50 was just behind a 10.63 combo score for Oahu’s Sean Moody. Saturday’s result now puts Goodale into the opening heat of the Round of 32, where he will paddle out with Hawaii’s Freddy Patacchia, 2013 World Championship Tour Rookie of the Year Nat Young and Spain’s Aritz Aranburu.

Coming off his third-place finish at the Hawaiian Island Creations Pro, Evan Valiere was the second Kauai surfer to make his way into the Round of 32. In an action-packed heat with some of the day’s steadiest and larger sets, Valiere used a pretty aerial reverse to back up his early 8-point ride for a 14.67 total. That was good for second place behind Australian Dion Atkinson, who posted a 16.50 performance with a very active display. Brazil’s David do Carmo had a few snaps on a sharp 8.13 wave, but was unable to back it up with a score to pass Valiere and finished third (13.46), while American Luke Davis showed great skill but did not have the wave selection to be a late factor and finished fourth (11.66).

Valiere began his event with a second place in a hotly contested Round of 128 heat. His 11.94 total was enough to get past Joel Centeio (11.17), always a tough out in Triple Crown events, and Brazil’s Heitor Alves (6.40), while Valiere and Brazil’s Messias Felix (11.96) moved on.

It was a similar script in the Round of 96, when Valiere grabbed another second place with an 11.10 total to stay ahead of American Dillon Perillo (10.06) and well ahead of Brazil’s Marco Fernandez (1.80). Argentina’s Leandro Usuna was the heat winner with an 11.13.

Defending Triple Crown champion and WCT surfer Sebastian Zietz, of Kilauea, was set to get his Haleiwa defense underway later in Saturday’s action. Results of Zietz’s heat were unavailable as of press time.

Kilauea’s Gavin Gillette, fresh off a final at the HIC Pro, had an unlucky outcome in his Round of 64 heat. Gillette, Brazil’s Filipe Toledo and Australia’s Mitchel Coleborn all finished within 0.10 points of one another, but it was Gillette who came up on the short end in third place. His massive 15.53 total could not surpass a 15.63 from Toledo and a 15.60 from Coleborn.

Gillette took second in his opening heat, then second again in his Round of 96 heat, which saw the elimination of Sunny Garcia.

Kilauea brothers Koa and Alex Smith each took second places in their opening Round of 128 heats, but each came up short of advancing in the Round of 96.

If you missed any of the proceedings, there should be plenty of time to catch up on the action thus far. Event announcers remarked on how Haleiwa is going to be a better snorkel than surf spot for the next few days, so expect the remaining competitors to be back in the water late this week.

• ‘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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