Ezekiel Lau Wins Vans World Cup at Sunset Beach

posted by / News / December 1, 2013

All Photos: Brent Bielmann

A dreary day for a dream run.

A dreary day for a dream run.

Zeke Lau represented Hawaii in the final, and represented well.

Zeke Lau represented Hawaii in the final, and represented well.

Frederico Morais surfed every round of this event, and with his fourth-place finish found himself atop the podium and named the 2013 Triple Crown rookie of the year.

Frederico Morais surfed every round of this event, and with his fourth-place finish found himself atop the podium and named the 2013 Triple Crown rookie of the year.

The old Hobgood hi-ya. The man can break dreams as well as boards with that thing.

The old Hobgood hi-ya. The man can break dreams as well as boards with that thing.

Damien Hobgood, stroking toward second place and a chance at requalification.

Damien Hobgood, stroking toward second place and a chance at requalification.

Raoni Monteiro has won at Sunset before, and looked to do so a second time on Sunday, before falling to a late surge by Lau and Hobgood.

Raoni Monteiro has won at Sunset, before, and looked to do so a second time on Sunday before falling to a late surge by Lau and Hobgood.

Zeke Lau hung out on the West Bowl for most of the event, and snagged tubes like this...

Zeke Lau hung out on the West Bowl for most of the event, and snagged tubes like this...

...and carved turns like this, unmolested by his  opponents.

...and carved turns like this, unmolested by his opponents.

To the victor goes the shaka.

To the victor goes the shaka.

Zeke will ride that chair all the way to Pipeline, where he'll battle for the Triple Crown.

Zeke will ride that chair all the way to Pipeline, where he'll battle for the Triple Crown.


 

When it rained on Sunday, it poured. And it rained all day. Black squalls of wind, water and lightning swept through Sunset Beach but with the swell forecasted to fade by Monday, event director Marty Thomas stood on the bow of the judges’ scaffolding, laughed in the face of the storm and called the contest on. A brave and wise decision. The waves poured in as steadily as the rain and competitors got barreled, laid rail and even leapt into the air. And while the day began with superstars like Kelly Slater, Dane Reynolds and John John Florence among the favorites, it was a motley crew of dark horses that was left standing. The tallest of them was 20-year-old Ezekiel Lau — looking like Hercules in his physique and aggressive approach — who took home the Vans World Cup and with it is tied with Michele Bourez for the Triple Crown going into Pipeline.

Other notable moments of the day:

  • —Kelly Slater still can’t manage a win at Sunset, a fact that’s almost as confounding as that left barrel he got on Saturday.
  • —Dane Reynolds is hungry. He is actually waking up early and practicing at the contest site, and that’s about as exciting of a development as any. (He’s still Dane though, as demonstrated in his burning Kiron Jabour who was hassling him toward the end of their Round of 32 heat.)
  • —John John nearly sticking that alley-oop, and other aerials throughout the day by several surfers, demonstrates a refreshing approach to what can sometimes be a boring wave to watch.
  • —Frederico Morais of Portugal, at just 21 years old, took down guys like Sunny Garcia, Mitch Coleborn and John John en route to a fourth place finish and a Triple Crown rookie of the year title. He’s one to watch on the ‘QS next year.
  • —Has Damien Hobgood surfed an event this year where he didn’t splash water or yell at someone? Call it fire, spice, passion or tantrums. Doesn’t matter. It’s entertaining as f–k and it’s fantastic. With this second place finish and a solid result at Pipe, Damo might requalify.
  • —With his third place finish, Raoni Monteiro might also requalify.
  • —Ezekiel Lau is a beast. He is fit and motivated and talented — the second coming of Sunny Garcia, but with better style and an air game. He will qualify for the 2015 world tour.

—Taylor Paul

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  • Mik

    Zeke rocks. Reminds me of Andy Irons: power/control/style.
    On Tour for sure.

  • Mark Heinze

    NIce win and a local too. Glad that Damien’s continuing temper tantrums didn’t change anyone’s minds… he didn’t deserve to win but “Eze” sure did!
    Way to go and mahalo for the great action in the water and nice coverage sponsored by Vans.

  • WES EASTRIDGE

    ALOHA…CONGRATULATIONS KANE ALOHA BRO CONGRATULATION.PUA MALU IS THE POLYNESIAN WORD FOR SUNSET BEACH HAWAII.THANK YOU!