The big names made some deep runs as the Surf into Summer Pro crowned a champion at Ala Moana Bowls over the Memorial Day weekend. Kauai’s top two Qualifying Series surfers each made the final eight and Haleiwa’s Joel Centieo took the top prize in a star-studded final heat.
Though 112 surfers began the QS 1,000 contest, the last few remaining were all very familiar to those on the beach. Centeio notched the win, which was a well-deserved crowning as he earned the highest heat scores in the quarterfinals and semifinals before again coming in first in the final. He managed to hold off Sunny Garcia in second place, Maui’s Hank Gaskell in third and Kauai’s Kaimana Jaquias in fourth place.
Surfing his way into that final heat moves Jaquias up 21 spots in the QS rankings to number 104 for the season. He is eighth in the Hawaii regional division.
Jaquias started out in the Round of 64, thanks to his previous Hawaii ranking. He needed a late score to survive that opening heat, but he came up big with an 8.00 on his final wave to move into second place and advance with Kai Mana Henry.
He had a rather slow heat in the Round of 32, but he did enough to scrape by against some heavy hitters. While Kai Barger took control early and separated himself, Jaquias held off both Mikey Bruneau and Mason Ho for another second and a place in the quarterfinals.
He only managed two waves, but they were enough for his third straight runner-up performance as Jaquias and heat winner Makai McNamara moved into the semis ahead of Seth Moniz and Sheldon Paishon. The young Moniz needed a 5.11 to jump ahead of Jaquias, but his final wave score came in at a 4.90.
It was a similar story in the semifinals as Jaquias survived a late charge by Barger, who was by far the most active surfer of the heat. Needing a 6.65, Barger came very close on his 10th wave but ultimately earned a 6.35. Jaquias took second once again and Centeio nabbed the heat win.
The final saw Centeio highlight his day with a 9.00 wave, but he struggled to find a suitable backup. He settled for a 4.25, which was just enough to best Garcia (12.90) and Gaskell (11.50). Jaquias (6.15) had only a few small scores for the fourth-place finish.
Hanalei’s Evan Valiere barely missed out on the final four. His 13.75 total in the semifinals was just shy of Gaskell’s 13.90. Also starting in the Round of 64, Valiere won his opening heat to advance alongside Kalani David. He followed that with a second place behind Gaskell to move into the quarters.
That quarterfinal heat was one of the closest of the contest as first and fourth place were separated by just 1.25 points. Valiere was on the fortunate side of that battle and a late charge earned him second place behind heat winner Luke Shepardson. David had the highest single wave, but he and Kevin Sullivan finished in third and fourth, respectively.
The result bumps Valiere up into 12th place for the year in the Hawaii region. The regional rankings aid in the seeding and entry process for Hawaii events, namely the year-ending Triple Crown of Surfing.
The next Hawaii QS contest won’t be until the end of October with the HIC Pro, which is the official Triple Crown qualifier. Kauai’s Danny Fuller won last year for his first career title.
David Simon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.