An all-important event awaits at the World Surf League (WSL) Local Motion Surf Into Summer At Home In The Hawaiian Islands, a Hawaii/Tahiti Nui Qualifying Series (QS) and Longboard Regional Qualifying Series (LQS) 1,000, beginning June 12 - 19.
This marks the start of the 2023/24 QS season while it will conclude the 2022/23 LQS season to determine who joins the world’s best on the 2023 Longboard Tour (LT). The famed break of Ala Moana Bowls will provide the ultimate venue for some of the region’s best contenders ready to make their respective statements.
Pictured: Opening day of the Local Motion Surf Into Summer awaits at the iconic wave of Ala Moana Bowls with Hawaii/Tahiti Nui's best contenders ready. Credit: © WSL / Andrew Nichols
Reigning Hawaii/Tahiti Nui Regional QS Champion Jackson Bunch (HAW) returns to Ala Moana Bowls with unfinished business. The Paia, Maui, competitor earned a runner-up finish in 2022 behind Eli Hanneman (HAW) before winning his first-ever WSL event in Rangiroa, Tahiti to close the season. Now, a fresh start and more confidence gained from competing among the world’s top contenders on the Challengers Series sets up Bunch for another big year ahead.
“I'm excited and just to surf [Ala Moana] Bowls, and just to surf more contests is a better thing for me to do,” said Bunch. “A second-place in my first Final of a QS was so sick. To be able to go back and hopefully get some good waves, hopefully I can go one better. [The regional title] is a big thing to carry on my shoulders heading into the first event, but I'll just take it heat-by-heat like I do at every contest.”
Also, the likes of former Championship Tour (CT) competitors Keanu Asing (HAW) and Ezekiel Lau (HAW) are joined by regional heavy-hitters Mason Ho (HAW), Billy Kemper (HAW), Shion Crawford (HAW), Cody Young (HAW), and plenty more including the Local Motion Surf Into Summer amateur victors from the 18-24 age group and 15-17 age group who will earn their place as wildcards.The women are back to start their 2023/24 QS seasons with reigning Hawaii/Tahiti Nui Regional QS Champion Moana Jones Wong (HAW) leading the charge. But, a very capable field of talented competitors are ready to strike with 2022/23 No. 2 Puamakamae DeSoto (HAW) back for her chance to claim a win after her runner-up in 2022. DeSoto’s quick rise through the rankings put her amongst the world’s top contenders on the 2023 Challenger Series and now returns to kickoff her QS season.
“It's one of my favorite events and it's nice to events at Bowls, it's such a fun wave,” said DeSoto. “It's a progressive wave and there's a lot of growth [to be learned], and there's a lot of different things to be done on each wave. Last season was one of my favorite seasons so far and I feel like I learned a lot. I'm looking forward to using that this year and not putting as much pressure on myself.”
But, Desoto will have to fend off former CT competitor Luana Silva (BRA), regional standouts Zoe McDougall (HAW) and Brianna Cope (HAW), and more. Joining the region’s best Challenger Series qualification threats, the first-ever WSL Longboard Regional Qualifying Series (LQS) event brings some world-class longboard competition to Ala Moana Bowls. Taking the opportunity to compete in home waters, 2022 Longboard Tour (LT) World Title runner-up, Kaniela Stewart (HAW), is ready to showcase his style. This event marks the final competition to decided the 2023 Longboard Tour qualifiers from Hawaii/Tahiti Nui.
“I can't wait, especially to have a qualifier at Bowls which is one of the best waves on the South Shore,” said Stewart. “I'm stoked that it's a part of Local Motion's event, it's been going on for so long and now that it has a regional longboard qualifier, it makes us all happy because we don't have to travel far. It's super cool to see all the local surfers at Bowls, they're all my friends and family so I'm excited to see who hops on Tour with me and Kai [Sallas].”
Current Hawaii/Tahiti No. 1 Kai Sallas (HAW) heads into the Local Motion Surf Into Summer already double-qualified for the 2023 Longboard Tour and looks to stay there against the likes of Micah DeSoto (HAW), Kaimana Domen (HAW), Tony Brigante (HAW), and more. Sophia Culhane (HAW) finished the 2022 Longboard Tour with a massive, runner-up at the Cuervo Classic Malibu Longboard Championships, after earning her maiden WSL victory in Pismo Beach just days prior. Now, the current Hawaii/Tahiti Nui No. 1 looks to close the season the way she started and return to the Longboard Tour a Regional Longboard Champion.
“I'm super excited because a WSL regional event in Hawaii is so good to be at home turf,” said Culhane. “Especially to be at Bowls which is only a five-minute drive away and also to see some of the home talent that don't get to travel to events. I'm really happy they get the opportunity to surf in a WSL contest and just to see some good surfing. Winning at home would be amazing in front of all my friends and family.”
But, Culhane will have to deal with fellow, regional standouts including current No. 2, and former Longboard Tour competitors, Haley Otto (HAW). Keani Canullo (HAW), Sally Cohen (HAW), and more.
The Local Motion Surf Into Summer At Home In The Hawaiian Islands QS and LQS competitions will take place over the best four days of the June 12 - 19 holding period, and is made possible through the generosity of Local Motion and the Hawaii Tourism Authority. The WSL Hawaii/Tahiti Nui Regional QS tour will also determine the region’s 2024 World Junior Championships qualifiers, representing the best up-and-coming, 20-and-under surfers fighting for a World Junior Title.
For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.
About Local Motion
For 45 years, Local Motion has been committed to supporting the community by supplying the best in authentic, premium surf wear in the islands. From a small surf shop in Kailua, Oahu in 1977 to an ‘ohana of 7 stores across Oahu, Maui, and California, Local Motion has grown to be more than a surf and lifestyle brand.