Surf Blog: Rain Swell and Last Contest of the Year

World Surf League Haleiwa Challenger 2021PHOTO CREDIT TO WSL

It has been a rainy, unruly week here in Hawaii, with a huge, super northerly swell intersecting with raging Kona winds and lots of rain.

The entire state has been put on a state of emergency, Big Island had a blizzard conditions at high elevations with upwards of a foot of snow, and a handful of surf spots fired under the rare conditions, while everywhere else was pretty bad.

But amongst all the chaos, the World Surf League got down to business, completing the last Challenger Series event of the year at Haleiwa. The Challenger Series is the new qualifying series, so there were a lot of people whose tour aspirations hung in the balance at this event. Despite the fact that the event was held in big, crazy conditions at Alii Beach Park, the cream ended up rising to the top. At the end of the day, Hawaiians and world tour surfers dominated, and a new crop of rookies earned their way onto tour.

 

PHOTO CREDIT TO WSL

 

In the men’s event, it was all John John Florence all the way through. No one surfs big, tricky, right-hand rip bowls better than Florence, and he peaked in the final with a perfect 10, linking a fins-free rotation, a big snap, a barrel, and a flawless air reverse. His performance was dominant and no one was bummed to see Hawaii’s favorite son win his second Haleiwa title.

John John was joined by two fellow world tour surfers and one last-minute qualifier in the final. Jack Robinson finished second, just narrowly missing out on his second big win in Hawaii (he qualified for the tour two years ago by winning Sunset). Kanoa Igarashi was the other tour veteran in the final and finished fourth, while Samuel Pupo finished third and earned his spot on tour, where he will join his brother Miguel Pupo next year. The other new qualifiers for the 2022 world tour include Hawaiians Ezekiel Lau and Imaikalani deVault, Australians Liam O’Brien, Connor O’Leary, Jackson Baker, and Callum Robson, Americans Jake Marshall and Nat Young, Peru’s Lucca Mesinas, Brazilian Joao Chianca, and Costa Rica’s Carlos Munoz.

World Surf League Haleiwa Challenger 2021 Finals

PHOTO CREDIT TO WSL

On the women’s side of the draw, the final was a mix of new talent and established legends, with five-time world champ Carissa Moore facing off against Hawaiian teenagers BettyLou Sakura and Gabriela Bryan, as well as Australia’s India Robinson—all of whom had already done the hard work and qualified before the final.

Many on Oahu have proclaimed BettyLou to be the future of women’s surfing, and she proved it today, taking down her hero Carissa Moore with a dominant win at Haleiwa. BettyLou cemented her spot on tour, where she will likely contest a lot more heats with Carissa Moore in 2022 and beyond. Joining BettyLou, Gabriela, and India in the 2022 rookie class are American Caitlin Simmers and Hawaiian Luana Silvers, as well as Costa Rica’s Brisa Hennessy, who requalified after falling off tour earlier this year.

Now that the world tour roster has been settled for 2022, we look forward to the start of the season, which will occur here in Hawaii with events at Pipeline and Sunset.

In the meantime, the rain should subside sometime soon and the swell looks like it’s going to drop down into the range that is palatable for the rest of us mere mortals. Let’s get some waves before winter officially starts on December 21!

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