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Nora Liotta and Shion Crawford Win The Hawaiian Islands Present the Sunset Pro

Pictured: Nora Liotta (HAW) (L) and Shion Crawford (HAW) (R) claimed their first-ever WSL wins at The Hawaiian Islands Present the Sunset Pro. Credit: © WSL / Heff

Nora Liotta (HAW) and Shion Crawford (HAW) claimed their maiden World Surf League (WSL) victories at The Hawaiian Islands Present the Sunset Pro, a Hawaii/Tahiti Nui Qualifying Series (QS) 1,000, over formidable fields.

Four-to-six foot waves provided moments of magic throughout Finals Day that witnessed Liotta and Crawford capitalize on opportunities, and hold their compusre under pressure. A runner-up performance from Hawaii/Tahiti Nui No. 1 Keala Tomoda-Bannert (HAW) kept her atop the rankings as Mihimana Braye's (FRA) Finals Day run garnered a runner-up finish and now places him as Hawaii/Tahiti Nui No. 1.

A big conclusion to women’s competition awaited featuring Hawaii/Tahiti No. 1 Keala Tomoda-Bannert (HAW), Challenger Series standout Eweleiula Wong (HAW), 2022 event runner-up Nora Liotta (HAW), and rising threat Haylee Boverman (HAW). Liotta stole the opening exchange with a 7.50 (out of a possible 10) with Wong earning a 5.65 to stay within reach. But, Liotta’s 5.00 extended her lead ahead of the Final contingent as Tomoda-Bannert worked her way back into the heat to accrue an 11.50 (out of a possible 20) heat total heading into final minutes. But, Liotta held firm and earned her first-ever WSL victory to garner 1,000 valuable points.

“It feels so good and I love this wave,” said Liotta. “I feel really good taking my first win near home. I've had a really tough year. I competed in some Challenger Series events and I didn't do too well so this is a really big confidence booster that I really needed. It took a lot of training at home, working on my heat surfing, and one of my goals is to now qualify for the 2024 Challenger Series.”

Maui, Hawaii’s, own Liotta started the day with an advancing position behind Tomoda-Bannert in their Semifinal bout to start their respective Finals Day surges. Liotta’s Quarterfinal victory on opening day helped kickstart her run atop the podium and now moves to No. 4 on the Hawaii/Tahiti Nui rankings. The men’s Final included some of the region’s 2023 standouts including reigning Hawaii/Tahiti Nui No. 1 Jackson Bunch (HAW), recent Corona Saquarema Pro Challenger Series finalist Mihimana Braye (FRA), rising threat Shion Crawford (HAW), and fellow emerging talent Diego Ferri (HAW). A slow start to the bout then gave way to Crawford’s powerful forehand putting on a display for a 7.25. Braye wasn’t far behind, posting a 6.00 of his own before Crawford answered back with a 6.00 to push himself further into the lead, recreating a Saquarema Quarterfinal battle between the two. Braye was able to find a 6.60 heading into the final minutes, but Crawford maintained composure with priority and held his lead until the end, solidifying his maiden WSL win.

“It feels really good and I'm just super stoked, kind of speechless right now,” said Crawford. “Everything hasn't really hit yet and it's just now starting to sink in that I really did win. Our bracket was pretty stacked and I just needed to do my surfing. I'm pretty confident right now and I believe I could win [Haleiwa] too, and I believe in myself so much now."

The North Shore’s own, Crawford now moves to No. 2 on the Hawaii/Tahiti Nui rankings after a flawless run through The Hawaiian Islands Present the Sunset Pro, not losing a single heat throughout the event. Crawford’s Finals Day surge began with a Round of 32 victory before posting some of the day’s best heat totals en route to the Final. Now, Crawford looks to maintain his position heading to his home break of Haleiwa beginning November 26 - December 7.

Pictured: Keala Tomoda-Bannert (HAW) remains at No. 1 on the regional rankings after a second Finals appearance in 2023/2024. Credit: © WSL / Heff

Tomoda-Bannert and Braye Lead Hawaii/Tahiti Nui Rankings Leaving Sunset Beach

Another impressive event for Tomoda-Bannert witnessed her overpower fellow contenders toward a third-straight Finals Day, her second Finals appearance of the 2023/2024 year. Tomoda-Bannert nearly earned her second win of the season and fell just short to Liotta after besting the Maui competitor in their Semifinal, Heat 1 clash. Kauai’s own, Tomoda-Bannert, now sets her eyes on the U.S. Air Force Super Girl Surf Pro before heading back to Hawaii to conclude the women’s season at The Hawaiian Islands HIC Haleiwa Pro.

"I just don't want to be satisfied with these results, and I'm hungry to get more wins,” said Tomoda-Bannert. "Heading into the Super Girl, I want to take the win there and I feel very mentally and physically ready for it. This year, I'm not looking to just qualify for the Challenger Series, I want to win the region and so far I feel like I'm doing a pretty good job of that but I want to keep it going."

One of Tahiti’s prominent competitors, Braye, stormed through Finals Day on his march toward a runner-up finish. Braye earned the day’s highest heat total, a 14.95, in his Semifinal, Heat 2, battle with eventual fourth-place finisher Ferri, multiple event victor Billy Kemper (HAW), and Hawaii/Tahiti standout Joshua Moniz (HAW). After a runner-up in Saquarema, Braye brought that confidence to Sunset Beach and now sits at No. 1 on the regional rankings.

“this has been one of the best run's of my life in competitive surfing so far after getting my best result in Brazil and it felt good carrying that same rhythm here,” said Braye. “Sunset is a tricky wave on your backhand and to be the only Tahitian here, and make the Final, I'm very stoked. I'm just trying to keep my momentum moving forward and I want to try and qualify for both the Olympics and the Championship Tour. I'm going to make it happen.”

For the women, the U.S. Air Force Super Girl Surf Pro gets underway in Jacksonville Beach, Florida, beginning November 10 - 12 before rejoining the men’s QS 2023/2024 season at The Hawaiian Islands HIC Haleiwa Pro beginning November 26 - December 7.

Current Women's Hawaii/Tahiti Nui QS Rankings:

1. Keala Tomoda-Bannert (HAW)

2. Eweleiula Wong (HAW)

3. Zoe McDougall (HAW)

4. Nora Liotta (HAW)

Current Men's Hawaii/Tahiti Nui QS Rankings:

1. Mihimana Braye (FRA)

2. Shion Crawford (HAW)

3. Keanu Asing (HAW)

4. Isaiah Moniz (HAW)

4. Kai Martin (HAW)

6. Robert Grilho (HAW)

Women’s Final Results:

1 - Nora Liotta (HAW) 12.50 1,000 points

2 - Keala Tomoda-Bannert (HAW) 11.50 800 points

3 - Eweleiula Wong (HAW) 10.75 650 points

4 - Haylee Boverman (HAW) 6.85 600 points

Men’s Final Results:

1 - Shion Crawford (HAW) 13.25 1,000 points

2 - Mihimana Braye (FRA) 12.60 800 points

3 - Jackson Bunch (HAW) 10.20 650 points

4 - Diego Ferri (HAW) 9.85 600 points

Women’s Semifinal Results:

HEAT 1: Keala Tomoda-Bannert (HAW) 12.50, Nora Liotta (HAW) 9.65, Puamakamae DeSoto (HAW) 8.50, Isla Sexton (HAW) 5.00

HEAT 2: Eweleiula Wong (HAW) 12.50, Haylee Boverman (HAW) 11.10, Zoe McDougall (HAW) 9.00, Ellie Brown (HAW) 8.90

Men’s Semifinal Results:

HEAT 1: Shion Crawford (HAW) 13.60, Jackson Bunch (HAW) 10.60, Shayden Pacarro (HAW) 10.30, Rylan Beavers (HAW) 9.95

HEAT 2: Mihimana Braye (FRA) 14.95, Diego Ferri (HAW) 12.60, Billy Kemper (HAW) 12.50, Joshua Moniz (HAW) 12.15

Men’s Quarterfinal Results:

HEAT 1: Shion Crawford (HAW) 12.20, Ryan Beavers (HAW) 11.90, Brodi Sale (HAW) 11.05, Jackson Dorian (HAW) 10.45

HEAT 2: Jackson Bunch (HAW) 11.40, Shayden Pacarro (HAW) 11.25, Kai Matin (HAW) 10.85, Barron Mamiya (HAW) 7.55

HEAT 3: Joshua Moniz (HAW) 12.60, Billy Kemper (HAW) 11.15, Seth Moniz (HAW) 11.15, Sheldon Paishon (HAW) 11.10

HEAT 4: Diego Ferri (HAW) 13.40, Mihimana Braye (HAW) 12.25, Eala Stewart (HAW) 9.15, Robert Grilho (HAW) 8.60

Men’s Round of 32 Results:

HEAT 1: Brodi Sale (HAW) 10.80, Jackson Bunch (HAW) 10.75, Eimeo Czermak (PYF) 7.70, Isaiah Moniz (HAW) 7.45

HEAT 2: Shion Crawford (HAW) 11.00, Shayden Pacarro (HAW) 8.30, Shiloh Tenneburg (HAW) 8.25, Mason Ho (HAW) 6.25

HEAT 3: Kai Martin (HAW) 9.90, Jackson Dorian (HAW) 9.70, Coconut Willie (HAW) 9.40, Finn McGill (HAW) 9.35

HEAT 4: Barron Mamiya (HAW) 14.10, Rylan Beavers (HAW) 11.50, Cody Young (HAW) 10.10, Kala Willard (HAW) 3.00

HEAT 5: Seth Moniz (HAW) 11.40, Diego Ferri (HAW) 10.50, Nalu Deodato (HAW) 10.50, Logan Bediamol (HAW) 9.70

HEAT 6: Sheldon Paishon (HAW) 10.85, Eala Stewart (HAW) 8.90, Kai Paula (DEU) 8.15, Kalanoweo DeSoto (HAW) 5.90

HEAT 7: Robert Grilho (HAW) 13.75, Joshua Moniz (HAW) 10.85, Kalani Rivero (HAW) 7.35, Roran Miller (HAW) 7.30

HEAT 8: Mihimana Braye (FRA) 13.00, Billy Kemper (HAW) 10.90, Ezra Clark (HAW) 9.15, Sage Tutterow (HAW) 8.65


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