5 Major Moments from the 2016 Hawaiian Pro

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Surprise, surprise. (Not.) Photo: Sherm

The Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa just ended in dazzling fashion.
An increasing swell and crispy trade winds graced the harbor with a day full of exciting surfing. The best surfer (by a Country mile) won, and he now takes the early lead in the coveted Vans Triple Crown. More importantly, the QS rankings are looking spicier than ever going into the last event of the 2016 season. Without further adieu, let’s check out the five most important happenings at Haleiwa this week.

1. Griffin’s air
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Mama Colapinto would be proud. Photo: Heff/WSL

This air almost got me in trouble with HR. Needing a mid-5 with low priority and seconds left in the heat, my passion pick for this event — Griffin Colapinto — had all but lost. Then it happened. One massive closeout, one massiver rotation, and just like that he was back on his feet.

This was too much for me to process in the moment. I let out a way-too-loud “WHAT THE F*@$”, prompting my boss to ask, “What just happened? You scared the crap out of me.” I proceeded to show him and my other coworkers the air, and they finally understood. It was that big. See below.


In all its glory. Video: WSL
2. Rich get richer
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Leo ain’t going nowhere. Photo: Cestari/WSL

Going into the Hawaiian Pro, 4 of the top 5 surfers on the QS made it to the quarters or beyond. Surfers 6 through 21 didn’t. This is huge in terms of the 2017 qualifiers because those bottom five slots remain incredibly open, while the top 5 are all but guaranteed. That means Kanoa I., Leo F., Connor O., Ethan E. and Joan D. are basically non-stories for the last event at Sunset Beach. Meanwhile there are 30+ guys who could qualify with a big result at the Vans World Cup.

3. Kelly
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Still got the moves, but will he get the results? Photo: Cestari/WSL

I can only assume that Kelly decided to surf Haleiwa (and apparently Sunset) for one of two reasons: either he was forced by the WSL (CT surfers are obligated to surf at least two QS 10,000 events over the course of the season, although Kelly could probably wrangle his way out of that with one of his mystery “injuries” that conspicuously pop up around contests with shitty waves) or he wanted another Triple Crown. The first point is kinda boring, so let’s dig into the second.

Kelly has won two Triple Crowns in his career: 1995 and 1998. In the past two decades, Kelly has showed little interest in winning Triple Crowns, often showing indifference during heats or skipping Haleiwa and Sunset altogether. So why now? Well, he’s trying to build momentum. Kelly recently states his intentions to make one last run at a world title in 2017. The best way to do that? Get the ball rolling at the end of this season. A Triple Crown victory for Kelly could very well propel him to a year of success, much like John’s Eddie victory did for him in 2016.

4. Making moves
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Fede receives some last minute advice that would leave .01 points short, two times. Photo: Sherm

Four people forged noteworthy ascension in the QS ranks thanks to the Hawaiian Pro. Federico Morais jumped 19 spots to retain the ninth slot, thus leaving him on the qualification bubble come Sunset. Marc Lacomare leapt 31 spots to the 21st rank, leaving him in need of a first or second at Sunset to even have a chance of qualification. Next is Jadson Andre, who hopped 10 QSers en route to a ranking of 12. He’ll likely need a semi to requalify through the QS, or a quarter at Pipe if he wishes to fight another year on the CT. Lastly is Griffin Colapinto, whose ascension occurred over the last two competitions — the Hang Loose and the Hawaiian Pro. Now Griffin sits at 26th on the rankings, meaning he’d need a win at Sunset to have any chance at qualfying for the 2017 CT. More than likely, this year will simply be used as a set-up season for Griffin’s real push next year. This kid is ready.

5. Winner, winner
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I wonder if this was even hard for him… Photo: Sherm

Let’s be frank. John looked roughly 3 1/2 levels above the competition all week long. The other guys rip, undoubtedly, but John’s board control is beyond comparison — his post-final turn was proof of that. That said, the final was a little questionable. At the end of the heat, Frederico Morais needed a 7.34. His last two waves were scored at double-heart-breaking 7.33s. Even without seeing the waves, that reeks of questionability. Hell, one could even make the argument that Marc Lacomare won the heat.

So should John have won the Hawaiian Pro? If you take the whole competition into consideration, definitely. That particular heat? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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John drops his wallet but picks up a hefty paycheck in the process. Photo: Cestari/WSL