25-yr old Brazilian Kauli Seadi (JP / NeilPryde) thundered into the event lead with a skilled display in tricky, light wind conditions, to give an instant return on his new sponsor’s investment.
Day 2 started with smaller surf and light breeze meeting the early high tide. The head judge chose to run the early heats of the double elimination first to give the finalists the best conditions later in the morning.
Eventually he opted for a 40-minute heat duration for that final, counting the best two wave rides from each of the final four.
The fluky wind truly tested the finalists’ fitness and ability to catch waves and not get caught inside on the razor sharp reef.
Jason Polakow (JP / NeilPryde) went for it with his aggressive vertical attack, but paid the price for pushing it with a couple of trips to the rocks.
Polakow’s big-wave partner Robby Swift (JP / NeilPryde) pressured his teammate hard for third position with a smoother style, but in truth he also struggled in the smaller swell.
Josh Angulo (MauiSails) was always going to be a major threat here after his historic victory last season.
‘It was a total battle out there’ explained Angulo. ‘I tried to go for a really powerful and vertical attack and look for the shorter rides and big hits on the main peak where I was hanging out.
Everyone was scratching around to catch the good sets and outdo the other to lock into a decent wave.
I know it was close and I didn’t even look at the scores. It’s tough you know. You always strive for first, and it kind of tastes a little strange to come second, especially after last year, but its not over yet and there’s more swell coming later in the week so we’ll see what happens.’
Seadi chose different tactics to Angulo to wrap-up the victory, including one spectacular aerial over Swift who was swimming in the impact zone.
‘I tried to go for the ones that opened-up into longer bowlier sections and do a mix of turns and connect the ride all the way down the reef’, said the 2007 World Champion.
‘It was so tricky to catch the waves out there, and I’m happy to start the season this way and take the lead.
I hear there’s some more surf coming but I’m not sure what the wind will do so we’ll be waiting and watching the next few days to see how it pans out.’
After the final some early heats of the double elimination were run and there were a few big names spewed out by up-and-coming talent.
Levi Siver (Quatro / NeilPryde) was the first victim of an on-form Jonas Ceballos (Fanatic / Simmer), and Marcilio Browne (Mistral / Gaastra), who fully made-up for a stuttering start in the single elimination.
Next to fall was Nik Baker (Mistral / North) who had a tough time in the fading conditions against light wind specialists Thomas Traversa (Tabou / Gaastra) and Camille Juban (Quatro / GUN).
Boujmaa Guilloul (Starboard / Severne) was also ejected in that heat despite throwing some outrageous Goytas right onto the rocks.
But Traversa scored wave of the day with perfect timing and a flowing rhythmic groove connecting all his turns together.
By mid afternoon the waves were too small and breaking dangerously close to the rocks, and the head judge decided it was too unsafe to continue.
After staying on hold until the end of the day, competition was called off and skippers’ meeting was set for 10.00 tomorrow.
The forecast is not that great until later in the week, but it’s likely the crew will scout around the island for some alternative spots in the morning. You can follow every stroke of action at www.pwaworldtour.com