The Hawaiian Island Creations (HIC) Pro got under way Friday in some challenging surf at Oahu’s Sunset Beach. The first round and much of the second round were completed in 6- to 8-foot surf, according to the Association of Surfing Professionals. With so many of the 112 surfers from Hawaii, the HIC Pro is always a golden opportunity for local talent to not only qualify for the Triple Crown, but to showcase their ability in front of a home crowd.
In the opening round, a few of the better known surfers survived their four-man heats. Maui’s Ian Walsh and the Big Island’s Myles Padaca — the 2001 Triple Crown champion — came through the first heat of the contest, though Padaca barely survived by just three-hundredths of a point. The second heat featured Kauai’s Stephen Koehne, but he took third in a wave-starved heat that did see Koa Rothman, a big-wave specialist, advance in first place.
TJ Barron made it through his first-round heat, as did young Team Hawaii members Noa Mizuno and Ulualoha “Ulu Boy” Napeahi. Not so fortunate were Kahea Hart, Liam McNamara, Sean Moody and former HIC Pro Cinderella story Gregg Nakamura.
The second round began with the field narrowed down to 96 competitors and 11 of its 16 heats were completed before action was called for the day. Walsh, Padaca and Rothman kept their good surfing going, each coming through in the first three heats of round two. Maui’s Billy Kemper, a former HIC Pro champ, also made it to round three, as did big waver Tom Dosland and youngster Imai Devault. Sunny Garcia had little trouble winning his heat as he looks to duplicate his 2012 HIC Pro championship run.
Kauai surfers Chris Foster and Reef McIntosh were together in their second-round heat. Both managed to survive, though neither was prolific in terms of scoring waves. Foster had the two highest point totals but still managed just an 8.00 two-wave score. McIntosh took second on a 5.63 total to move on to the Round of 48.
Makua Rothman later showed his stuff with a second-place finish to move on. Barron took third in that heat and was eliminated. Those two have a history and reportedly had some drama in the water a few years back, getting into a confrontation on the beach and perhaps beyond.
Kamalei Alexander managed to win his heat in what turned out to be the final foursome of the day. Falling out of the competition throughout round two were Isaiah Moniz, Elijah Gates, Kain Daly, Love Hodel and Jason Shibata, among others.
The top seeds will see their first action in the third round. Kauai’s Evan Valiere will open up in the fifth heat, taking on Americans Kilian Garland and Jake Davis and Hawaii’s Mikey Bruneau.
Kilauea’s Koa Smith will have a star-studded heat taking on Japan’s Arashi Kato, as well as Garcia and McIntosh. Koa’s older brother Alex will paddle out with Taylor Clark, but his additional two opponents are not yet known.
Kauai’s Dylan Goodale knows two of his three opponents in Alexander and Japan’s Kaisa Kawamura with one more still undetermined. The Garden Isle’s Kaimana Jaquias will take on Mitchell James, Kekoa Cazimero and one more competitor. Foster goes against World Championship Tour regular Freddy Patacchia, Aussie Jeames Young and another qualifier.
But before any of that occurs, round two needs to be completed. The next heat in the water will feature Hawaii’s Kekoa Bacalso and Edrick Baldwin, along with Aussies Saxon Lumsden and Harrison Mann. All action will be shown live on Oceanic Surf channels 250 and 1250. After Saturday’s lay day, organizers will make today’s call at 6:45 a.m.
David Simon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.