Brutal ruling doesn’t shake Zietz’s attitude, resolve

There are some athletes you happily point to as examples, while there are also those you hope kids see through as frauds they won’t emulate. Sebastian Zietz showed just a little bit of why he’s in that first category with how he both performed and then reacted to Friday’s circumstances at the Hurley Pro at Trestles. Zietz had what he said was one of his best heats of the year in a great performance against Michel Bourez, but was called for an interference on the final wave after the horn sounded.

According to the letter of the law, it seems to be the right call. It wiped out Zietz’s second wave score completely and knocked him out with a disappointing equal 25th-place result. But the spirit of the rule seems flawed, especially in this case. Seabass held priority at the time, so his actions would not have been considered interference prior to the horn sounding. So why should that change afterward? He was actually penalized for holding priority until the very end of the heat. If Bourez is entitled to ride the wave, Zietz should be entitled to maintain his priority.

But while he was obviously disappointed with the ruling, Zietz gave a great interview afterward where he was very gracious about the decision and actually felt like he could take the event as a positive moving forward to Europe. He felt like his surfing was on point and he’ll be confident heading into the last three contests. But the difference between winning and losing that heat is a big one in terms of his re-qualification efforts.

Hopefully this creates some good karma for Seabass in the year’s final months, because we need to keep as many people like him in the spotlight as possible.

Saturday’s action at Trestles left eight men remaining, including both world No. 1 Adriano de Souza and No. 2 Mick Fanning.

The women’s side cut the field down to just four, including Carissa Moore. Hoping to chase down Courtney Conlogue for the top spot in the rankings, Moore survived against Johanne Defay and Tyler Wright. Conlogue suffered one of the quarterfinal round’s big upsets in a loss to Lakey Peterson. Dimity Stoyle also continued her improbable run with a win over Sally Fitzgibbons.

Bianca Buitendag will take on Peterson in one semifinal, while Moore gets Stoyle in the second matchup. Moore will wear the gold jersey at the next event, regardless of what happens on finals day.

UH shows better than score at OSU

Entering their showdown with defending national champion and top-ranked Ohio State, not much was expected from the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors on Saturday. But despite the 38-0 final score, there were actually a few things to take as positives.

With that number on the board, you wouldn’t typically think the defense played well. But the ‘Bows made things very difficult on the Buckeyes’ offense for most of the game. They allowed only 181 yards through the air and made life under center very uncomfortable for both Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett.

Hawaii had a lot of trouble moving the ball and that was reflected in Max Wittek’s final stat line. He finished just 7 of 24 for 67 yards and two interceptions. But he continued to battle all the way through and was hindered by a few drops along the way. Running backs Paul Harris and Melvin Davis each had some bright moments, but the air game was never a threat.

I was more impressed with the UH defense in this 38-0 defeat than in the 28-20 win over Colorado, so the ‘Bows can return home to face UC Davis as a confident group.

Kapaa leaves little doubt

If there was any question whether the Kapaa Warriors would be a huge favorite to win another KIF title, it was answered emphatically with their 68-0 win Friday over the Waimea Menehune. Having won their first KIF game and entering the game 3-1 overall, Waimea served as a potential spoiler for top-ranked Kapaa.

But things quickly went in the Warriors’ favor on their homecoming evening. Kapaa capitalized on a number of turnovers and was able to win the battle at the line of scrimmage, leaving Waimea with few options offensively. On the other hand, Kapaa opened up their playbook and was striking with precision through the air.

Kapaa has won its opening pair of KIF games by a combined score of 121-0 and has given up just 12 points in four games on the season. They seem eager to blitz through the rest of their conference schedule and are probably already eyeing their postseason seeding.

They’ll get Kauai High for the second time this Saturday in the first afternoon game of the season.

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

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