Ian Gentil (Maui), 16 years young but incredibly not short on experience here. Photo: ASP/Cestari
Sunset Favors Experience at the Vans World Cup of Surfing
1354076637 - Vans World Cup of Surfing 2012
HONOLULU - (Tuesday, November 27, 2012) -- The Vans World Cup of Surfing - the second jewel of the 30th anniversary Vans Triple Crown of Surfing hydrated by vitaminwater - hit the waves at Sunset Beach today in a new double-overhead swell. At this size, Sunset can be even more challenging than on the giant, life-threatening days, and a 30-minute heat can dissolve faster than salt in water.
Early casualties were claimed by the shifty lineup; surfers who found themselves short on a back-up ride and out of time: Dane Reynolds (USA); Aritz Aranburu (EUK); and Stu Kennedy (AUS) were among them.
It's the kind of day that lends itself to local knowledge and a long history with the break. Among those who fit that bill were Sunset local Pancho Sullivan - the day's high scorer with 15.5 points; Australians Tom Whitaker and Nathan Hedge; and Maui's Ian Walsh and Ian Gentil.
"You've got to approach Sunset everyday for what it is," says Ian Walsh, 29. "You can't really plan too much ahead... even right before your heat you've got to make an adjustment, adapt to every little thing, you can't really premeditate everything."
Despite having dashed his hopes at a Triple Crown win back at the REEF Hawaiian Pro, Walsh says he's here to win and to keep climbing the ladder that will hopefully lead to a Vans Triple Crown title one day.
"The Triple Crown is obviously one of the goals that are looming up here above me that I've been looking at for years and I had kind of a rough start at Haleiwa, but I think it's still something that I have a lot of respect for. The winner that comes out ahead on all three of these events is someone we all know deserves it."
Nathan Hedge (AUS), on a comeback and looking for valuable seed points for 2013, reveled in the conditions today.
"I really love Sunset Beach, it's always the last event on the (qualifying tour) so it's a lot of high drama and emotions and ratings points at stake so it always creates for an epic environment.
"I've been coming here for 20 years, so I think that will help. I've put a lot of time in out here and I have had heats where I've needed to get through to qualify but I'm not in that sort of situation (now), so I can just really relax and enjoy the experience... just go for it."
Caddies play an important role in the Vans World Cup of Surfing. Photo: ASP/ Cestari
The last word on the day came from Pancho Sullivan, who has powered to five wins here at his home break of Sunset Beach, but won't go home happy until he can put a Vans World Cup on his mantlepiece. This is the one win that has eluded him for more than a decade.
"'I absolutely love this wave it's got so many looks - from 2 feet to 15 feet it's so much fun," said Sullivan. " It's a high performance wave. You can really push your surfing and I try to attack it like you would a small wave even in the bigger 8-10 foot surf. It's home, I grew up, started surfing the little inside wave shores and eventually graduated out to the point and it's a wave that I think you just have to put a lot of time into learning the different lineups depending on the direction and size."
Pancho Sullivan knows Sunset like few others do. Photo: ASP/ Kirstin
When competition resumes it will be with the Round of 96. Today's swell is definitely on the decline and it may be a day or two before the event moves ahead. When it does, the talent will include Tanner & Dane Gudauskas (USA); Jamie O'Brien (HAW); Gabe Kling (USA); Jack Freestone (AUS); Mark Occhilupo (AUS); Nat Young (USA); and Joan Duru (FRA).
Surfers listed in order of 1st through 4th
Round of 128
H1 : Ian Gentil (HAW) 14.43pts ; Alex Smith (HAW) 11.17pts ; Stu Kennedy (AUS) 10.50pts ; Hodei Collazo (EUK) 8.36pts
H2 : Tom Whitaker (AUS) 15.00pts ; Kai Barger (HAW) 12.57pts ; Nic Von Rupp (DEU) 6.83pts ; Derek Ho (HAW) 5.84pts
H3 : Mitch Crews (AUS) 9.97pts ; Jano Belo (BRA) 9.27pts ; Nathan Carvalho (HAW) 6.86pts ; Davey Cathels (AUS) 2.67pts
H4 : Chris Ward (USA) 12.50pts ; Peterson Crisanto (BRA) 8.83pts ; Tanner (HAW) 7.43pts ; Chris Foster (HAW) 3.00pts
H5 : Nathan Hedge (AUS) 12.60pts ; Tim Reyes (USA) 9.70pts ; Eala Stewart (HAW) 6.63pts ; Kevin Sullivan (HAW) 0.97pts
H6 : Ian Walsh (HAW) 10.56pts ; Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 9.10pts ; Kiron Jabour (HAW) 8.43pts ; Chris Friend (AUS) 4.33pts
H7 : Love Hodel (HAW) 12.40pts ; Cory Arrambide (USA) 10.43pts ; Aritz Aranburu (EUS) 9.67pts ; Caio Ibelli (BRA) 7.57pts
H8 : Makai McNamara (HAW) 12.80pts ; Lincoln Taylor (AUS) 11.60pts ; Dylan Goodale (HAW) 9.36pts ; Torrey Meister (HAW) 8.33pts
H9 : Billy Kemper (HAW) 11.03pts ; Evan Valiere (HAW) 9.90pts ; Alain Riou (PYF) 9.00pts ; Billy Stairmand (NZL) 8.50pts
H10 : Dale Staples (ZAF) 12.37pts ; Myles Padaca (HAW) 9.83pts ; Cory Lopez (USA) 6.76pts ; Dege O'Connell (HAW) 6.34pts
H11 : Matt Banting (AUS) 14.84pts ; Hank Gaskell (HAW) 14.00pts ; Koa Rothman (HAW) 6.56pts ; Blake Thornton (AUS) 5.04pts
H12 : Kekoa Bacalso (HAW) 13.83pts ; Ricardo Dos Santos (BRA) 11.17pts ; Roy Powers (HAW) 9.80pts ; Michael Dunphy (USA) 6.10pts
H13 : Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR) 14.50pts ; Gavin Gillette (HAW) 10.60pts ; Joshua Moniz (HAW) 9.60pts ; Thiago Camarao (BRA) 5.90pts
H14 : Garrett Parkes (AUS) 12.57pts ; Marc Lacomare (FRA) 12.50pts ; Shaun Joubert (ZAF) 10.10pts ; Flynn Novak (HAW) 4.66pts
H15 : Pancho Sullivan (HAW) 15.50pts ; Heath Joske (AUS) 10.87pts ; Dane Reynolds (USA) 9.67pts ; Adrien Toyon (FRA) 8.03pts
H16 : Koa Smith (HAW) 12.84pts ; Mason Ho (HAW) 12.63pts ; Joel Centeio (HAW) 12.33pts ; Nic Muscroft (AUS) 12.07pts