Sunday, Aug. 7, 2022 |
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Despite the majority of Hawaii surfers exiting the event rather early, a pair of the state’s best surfed their way into the final foursome Saturday at the Hawaiian Pro in Haleiwa. Ezekiel Lau delivered on so much of the promise he’s displayed in his young career and Dusty Payne came within one heat win of winning back-to-back Hawaiian Pro titles as the duo finished in third and fourth place, respectively.
But it was Australia’s Wade Carmichael who took the top prize, earning 10,000 Qualifying Series points to vault him 41 places up the rankings and into 12th for the year. This was Carmichael’s first career victory after taking a third place at Lowers earlier this season, which sets himself up for a chance at qualifying for the 2016 world tour.
The final heat started off strong but experienced a major lull of about 10 minutes with no ridden waves. Carmichael was able to hold off some late attempts by runner-up Filipe Toledo, Lau and Payne, getting chaired up the beach by his small but enthusiastic posse.
The result for Lau bumps him into 19th place on the QS, within range of his first legitimate attempt at qualification with some more points available this week. Payne is now slightly higher at 17th place and needs to re-qualify through the QS because of his low Championship Tour ranking.
Lau and Payne were Hawaii’s only two competitors to even reach the quarterfinals. Though CT standouts Sebastian Zietz, John John Florence and Keanu Asing all made the fourth round, all three were eliminated there, leaving the field with mostly international hopefuls.
Conditions were very contestable on finals day, though the waves remained small for the most part. It seemed like a perfect formula for Toledo to take command of the Triple Crown. He excels in these conditions and can show off his air game when given the opportunity. He was the favorite heading into the final and pulled off a beautiful air with full rotation to earn a 9.50 score. But he needed a 5.90 backup and came up just short with a pair of lower fives to keep Carmichael on top.
With the first jewel of the Triple Crown now complete, attention will shift to the World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach and there isn’t too much time to reflect. The waiting period will begin Tuesday as much of the same group of competitors gets back in the water to try to continue building points on the Triple Crown leaderboard.
David Simon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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