Big heat wins for Garden Isle surfers at Sunset’s HIC Pro

Only a few days remain in the HIC Pro waiting period, which means action will certainly intensify through the weekend. Lay days were called both Wednesday and Thursday, but Tuesday’s most recent heats were good ones for Kauai’s participants. Evan Valiere, Koa and Alex Smith, Dylan Goodale and Kaimana Jaquias advanced into the upcoming Round of 32 by all taking first place in their respective third-round heats.

Oahu’s Sunset Beach was tricky on Tuesday but the organizers made the call early that we’d see some surfing. It seemed like a lot of the local knowledge is paying off for the Hawaii competitors as 17 from the Aloha State have already made it into the Round of 32. The final two heats of round three are still to be surfed and feature five more Hawaii surfers, including Kauai’s Danny Fuller and defending event champion Mason Ho. Fuller moved from Kauai to Oahu’s North Shore as a teenager, so he has a long history with this and the other Triple Crown waves.

Valiere was the first Kauai surfer in the water for round three and led things off in style with the highest single-wave score of the contest. A big set came through early in the heat and Valiere paddled right towards it. He later said that he had no strategy beforehand and just saw the set forming as he headed out, so it made the decision on where to line up an easy one. He dropped in to the overhead right and snapped a bottom turn all the way up to the lip, then got another big turn up the face. The two turns and finishing work earned him a 9.10, which hasn’t been matched yet. He backed it up with a 4.43 for a winning total of 13.53.

Valiere has his work cut out for him in the Round of 32, where he will take on six-time Triple Crown champ Sunny Garcia and World Championship Tour competitor Freddy Patacchia Jr., along with Tahiti’s Keoni Yan. Garcia and Patacchia each picked up second-place finishes to advance while Yan won his last heat.

The younger of the Smith brothers, Koa, was the next Garden Isle surfer. He had to deal with Garcia, who held the heat lead until the waning minutes. Smith then earned a 6.83 on his final wave to creep ahead with a 14.00 total. Garcia’s 13.60 was good for second place. Kauai’s Reef McIntosh was unable to crack the top two, needing a 6.11 that never materialized. He tallied a 12.27 score line.

Koa will be taking on Hawaii’s Joel Centeio and Eli Olson, along with young American Jake Davis in the next round. Centeio won his heat in which he and Patacchia eliminated Kauai’s Chris Foster.

Later in the round, Goodale got going with some strong carves and a soft float, earning first a 6.50 and then a 4.07. That was enough to advance with a 10.57 winning total. Unable to move on from the same heat was fellow Kauai North Shore surfer Kamalei Alexander, finishing fourth.

It was then Jaquias’ turn and he kept the Kauai success going. A quick 7.17 on his second wave put Kaimana in the driver’s seat and he backed it up with a 4.93. That kept him out of harm’s way and he moved on along with Aussie Mitchell James. Oahu’s Kekoa Cazimero stayed busy but just barely missed out on the necessary score, finishing two-tenths of a point behind James.

Goodale and Jaquias will now paddle out together in the Round of 32. They will be joined by the Aussie duo of Wade Carmichael and Ty Watson.

The final Kauai victor was Alex Smith, who had an interesting and competitive heat with the American trio of Andrew Jacobson, Dylan Kowalski and Taylor Clark. All four kept within reach of one another but Smith’s final wave was the backup he needed to attain some breathing room. After a 7.93 on his second ride, he scored a 6.27 on his fourth for a 14.20 heat-winning total. Jacobson squeaked through in second place, his 2.70 backup good enough for a 10.57 total to move past Kowalski.

Two of Alex’s next opponents are still to be determined, but he knows he’ll be taking on North Shore stalwart Pancho Sullivan.

The rest of the Hawaii surfers still in the mix are Billy Kemper, Ian Walsh, Hank Gaskell, Imai Devault – those four all competing against one another in the first Round of 32 heat – Joey Sadoy, Kalani David, Landon McNamara and Tanner Hendrickson. Fuller, Mason Ho, Josh Moniz, Kylen Yamakawa and Noa Mizuno still have their Round of 64 heats to try to join their fellow Hawaii competitors.

Action will be broadcast live on Oceanic Surf channels 250 and 1250. Today’s call is expected to be made at 8 a.m. The waiting period is scheduled to run through Monday.

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David Simon can be reached at dsimon@thegardenisland.com.

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