Between the all-Kauai women’s final heat at Huntington Beach and the stellar final day by the men at Teahupoo, the Championship Tour has been making it clear why it’s such a sought after destination for the up and comers. Those who eye that possibility as realistic for themselves are back in action for this week’s Pantin Classic Galicia Pro in Spain.
Both Kauai’s Dylan Goodale and Koa Smith are in the field for the QS 6,000 contest. Neither has put up a signature result yet this season, but each are always capable of doing damage among the world’s best. Plus they’re both pretty entertaining social media follows, so hopefully we can vicariously get a decent glimpse of Europe.
Goodale opens his contest in a four-man heat with Brazilians Victor Bernardo and Yago Dora, as well as Reunion Island’s Brian Toth. Smith also takes on a pair of Brazilians in Thiago Camarao and Rafael Teixeira, along with Aussie Shane Campbell.
Both surfers currently reside outside the top 170 on the QS, so neither is in a position to think about qualification. But all it takes is one big result to get someone well outside the pack moving in the right direction.
Hawaii does have a number of competitors who are quite a bit closer to that cut-off line. A semifinal appearance at the Ballito Pro has Ezekiel Lau inside the QS top 10, which puts him in the best position of his career to qualify. Lau is building upon a 19th place finish on last season’s final QS rankings and he’s been steadily creeping up to where he can now make that all-important leap. He’ll get to start off in round two against Yadin Nicol and a pair of first-round winners.
Josh Moniz is also having by far the best season of his career, thanks to a quarterfinal appearance earlier this year in Newcastle, Australia. He comes in ranked 33rd and starts in round two with Joan Duru.
The rest of the Hawaii crew entered in this event includes Kaito Kino, Keoni Yan, Kiron Jabour, Mason Ho, Torrey Meister, Makai McNamara, Imaikalani Devault and Seth Moniz. All get started in round one, but that’s a serious crop of talent that made the trip to Europe for this event. Hopefully the jet lag has worn off by now and we can see some deep runs to set up an exciting sprint to the finish.
On a happy note, Evan Geiselman took home the title at the Vans Pro this week in Virginia. Geiselman, one of the best young surfers in the world, suffered a horrific wipeout at Pipeline this past December and barely escaped with his life. He required a water rescue and CPR from pro bodyboarder Andre Botha.
But the win at this QS 3,000 event made two victories on the year after quickly coming back from a stint in the hospital. He’s all the way up to 11th on the QS rankings with a real shot at qualifying for the 2017 world tour.
He’s one of the guys who clearly loves being in the water and I hope good things keep heading in his direction.
David Simon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.