As Hawaii’s final competitor, Kiron Jabour came through in the clutch to capture his biggest career result with a win at the HIC Pro. Jabour outlasted a huge field of 112 surfers all looking to perform at Sunset Beach and set themselves up for a Triple Crown spot. In the end, the boy from the North Shore took the title and gave now heads into the prestigious series on a hot streak at waves he knows as well as anyone in the world.
Jabour has long been a competitive member of the Qualifying Series scene, but like many of the other Hawaii names, his most notable sessions have come on high-performance waves during freesurfs around the globe. He put together a good string in 2013, finishing 48th on the QS, then equaled that same finish last season.
He should be able to best that, now moving into 56th this year with some prime opportunities at the Hawaiian Pro and World Cup ahead of him.
Jabour was fortunate throughout the event and realized every bit of scoring potential, which all turned out to be necessary. He was in a number of really close heats that could have swung many different directions. But his first scoring wave of the final netted him an 8.00, assuring that the three others in the lineup would need a big total in order to climb the ladder.
While this event always showcases so many of Hawaii’s best and less seen competitors, not many of them made it through the early and middle stages. Jabour and Luke Shepardson were the only two who reached the semifinals. Shepardson had the best wave of his heat but wasn’t able to find even a decent backup to push him into the final four.
Dusty Payne made it to the quarterfinals in his return, a fantastic achievement after his January wipeout at Pipeline that almost killed him. Payne was emotional prior to his first heat of the contest and spoke about paddling out and seeing some of the guys who literally saved his life that day. He’s scheduled to be in the Hawaiian Pro as one of Hawaii’s two wild card entries, along with Tanner Hendrickson. Payne is always easy to root for, but this year especially.
Along with Payne, a trio of Hawaii surfers made it to the quarterfinal round of 16. Cody Young, Hendrickson and Ian Gentil all seemed poised for deep runs and their results will still be nice boosts to their rankings. But none were able to reach those final few elite heats.
It was a breakout performance for Tahiti’s O’Neill Massin who finished in second place. Massin was truly dominant for most of the event and certainly performed better than anyone from his first to last heat. He began way back in round one and proceeded to win every heat up until the final, coming up just one spot shy of an astonishing achievement. He also had the highest point total in round four, in the quarterfinals and in the semifinals.
This is clearly a wave he enjoys and understands. In 2016, he did reach the fifth round at the World Cup of Surfing for what had been his best QS result to that point. He’s now bettered that with what would have been perfection if not for a slightly better showing by Jabour in the final. But the second-place result still gets him into the Triple Crown and he also jumped high enough in the local rankings to earn a wild card entry into all QS 10,000 contests next season.
The South African pair of Beyrick De Vries and Slade Prestwich also reached the final and took third and fourth place, respectively.
Qualification spots now take center stage for both the men and women. The Hawaiian Pro gets underway at Haleiwa on Nov. 12. Just prior to that, the Port Stephens Toyota Pro begins in New South Wales on Nov. 8. As the final QS 6,000 of the year, it’s the last chance for Brisa Hennessy and others on the qualification bubble to earn their spots on next season’s CT.
David Simon can be reached at email@example.com.