End of Year Wrap Up

 

The Haleiwa Pro was contested last week, ending the challenger series and the professional competitive year as a whole.

Hawaii’s favorite son John John Florence was in peak form, winning the event once again and ending the year on a high note after suffering an injury mid-season that caused him to miss a number of events and his chance at fighting for the world title at Trestles. It was great to see Florence back in form and healed up from his knee injury. Hopefully he can stay healthy this coming season!

On the women’s side, Australian Sophie McCulloch surfed her way through through the event from the early rounds, ending the year with a fairy tale finish that saw her not only win at Haleiwa, but earn enough points to qualify for the championship tour in 2023. The result was a dream come true for the young surfer, who faced down a stacked field and a huge amount of pressure to take home the trophy and claim her spot on surfing’s biggest stage next season.

Sophie McCulloch joins fellow qualifiers Betty Lou Sakura, Macy Callaghan, Molly Picklum, and fellow Oneill teammate Caitlin Simmers.

The five newcomers will face off against Steph Gilmore, Carissa Moore, Johanne Defay, Tatiana Weston-Webb, Brisa Hennessy, Lakey Peterson, Courtney Conlogue, Tyler Wright, Gabriela Bryan, Isabella Nichols, Caroline Marks, and Sally Fitzgibbons when the championship tour kicks off at Pipeline in January.

On the men’s side, challenger series qualifiers Leonardo Fioravanti, Ryan Callinan, Rio Waida, Maxime Huscenot, Ramzi Boukhiam, Michael Rodrigues, Ian Gentil, Joao Chianca, Liam O’Brien, and Ezekiel Lau join Felipe Toledo, Italo Ferreira, Jack Robinson, Ethan Ewing, Kanoa Igarashi, Miguel Pupo, Griffin Colapinto, Caio Ibelli, Connor O’Leary, Callum Robson, Samuel Pupo, John John Florence, Matthew McGillivray, Jordy Smith, Kelly Slater, Barron Mamiya, Nat Young, Jake Marshall, Yago Dora, Kolohe Andino, Jadson Andre, Seth Moniz, Jackson Baker, and Gabriel Medina on the 2023 championship tour.

While many of the new crop are already tour veterans who needed to requalify (such as Ezekial Lau and Leo Fioravanti), a few of the fresh qualifiers are big stories in and of themselves.

Rio Waida is the first Indonesian to qualify for the world tour, and Ramzi Boukhiam will be the lone Moroccan on tour. Meanwhile, Frenchman Maxime Huscenot has spent the past decade working his way up the qualifying series rankings and will be a crowd favorite on tour this year.

Now that the WSL season is complete, all eyes turn toward Pipe and the Vans Pipe Masters, which is adopting a new format this year. An invitation-only event, the Vans Pipe Masters will be both a barrel and air contest, with a stacked field of specialists who are just as talented in the air as they are in the barrel. The waiting period for the event is currently running, but thus far the conditions have been poor and the event has not yet run. With an XL swell and light wind lining up for this weekend, there’s a good chance the event will run Friday through Sunday. Check it out!

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