Top seeds made their stunning debuts at The Hawaiian Islands Present the Sunset Pro, a Hawaii/Tahiti Nui Qualifying Series (QS) 1,000, to raise the bar of competition in four-to-five foot waves at Sunset Point. Men’s Round of 96, Heats 13 - 16, and Round of 64 were finished in their entirety with women’s competition called OFF for the day. Competition has been called OFF for Tuesday, October 31, and event organizers will reconvene to determine a possible start for Wednesday, November 1.
Pictured: Shion Crawford (HAW) found a gem and capitalized for near-perfection in his Round of 64 debut. Credit: © WSL / Heff
The Hawaii/Tahiti Nui’s newest competitive threats put on a showcase led by one of North Shore’s standouts, Shion Crawford (HAW). Crawford’s dynamic and powerful forehand earned an event-best, single-wave score so far of a near-perfect 9.00 (out of a possible 10) and 15.50 (out of possible 20) heat total. Haleiwa’s own, Crawford, now eyes down a big Finals Day to push himself up the rankings early in the season.
“I just had to choose the right waves and that wave just came right to me, and just wanted to surf it to my best,” said Crawford. “It feels good to be back home and get on a good program. My goals are to win this event and take that into Haleiwa to try and win there too. I learned a lot on the Challenger Series from my losses and that good result in Brazil to finish on, and just to believe in myself and that I can make heats.”
Crawford's fellow North Shore standout, Finn McGill (HAW), surged into the Round of 32 with a 15.10 heat total of his own in an impressive debut. Pictured: Jackson Bunch (HAW) brought his talent to the world on the 2023 Challenge Series and now looks to return with a big result near home. Credit: © WSL / Tostee
Joining Crawford on the Challenger Series earlier this year and making noise of his own, Jackson Bunch (HAW) represented for Maui in stunning form. Maui's own, Bunch, earned the Hawaii/Tahiti Nui QS Regional Title after his first-ever QS win in Rangiroa, Tahiti, and looks to continue building his young career with more success.
“It’s a bit tricky but it’s really nice with no wind on it and a pretty fun size where you can go to Sunset Point or the wide bowl,” said Bunch. “I got the really good wave at the point and then I moved to the middle. I had a rough event at Ala Moana Bowls and so I’m stoked to show some good surfing here, as well as take it to Haleiwa. I just want to surf good and get back on the Challenger Series since I missed it by three spots.”
2024 Championship Tour Competitors Thrive
Alongside Hawaii/Tahiti Nui’s rising contenders clashing with proven competitors, some of the region’s Championship Tour (CT) elite stepped into the Sunset Beach arena and put on a showcase. Defending event winner, multiple Sunset Beach victor, Barron Mamiya (HAW) and fellow CT competitor Seth Moniz (HAW) both earned debut heat wins.
“It’s nice to be back home and surfing Sunset, hopefully get some waves for Finals Day but I’m just stoked to be out there with the jersey back on,” said Mamiya. “There’s not too much pressure being a defending winner, I’m just having fun and working on a few things to better my surfing. I’m just trying to stay healthy and try to win this event and Haleiwa, not trying to over surf or anything, but I want to do good in these events.”
“I’m stoked to be at home and surfing an event, this event means a lot to the up-and-coming kids trying to qualify for the Challenger Series,” said Moniz. “It’s a really important event and as I’m competing with a lot of them, I’m rooting for them too to get on the Challenger Series and get some more Hawaiians on Tour. I’ve had a break and now it’s good to stay warm, and take it seriously because there’s some good competition here.”
Moniz is joined into the Round of 32 with both of his brothers after their debut heat wins including current Hawaii/Tahiti Nui No. 1 Isaiah Moniz (HAW) and QS veteran Joshua Moniz (HAW).
Also earring their way into the Round of 32 with big heat wins are multiple Sunset Beach victor, and multiple WSL Big Wave World Champion, Billy Kemper (HAW), QS veterans Shayden Pacarro (HAW) and Sheldon Paishon (HAW), former event victor Cody Young (HAW), rising threats Kai Martin (HAW), Diego Ferri (HAW), Kai Paula (DEU), and Robert Grilho III (HAW).
Competition has been called OFF for Tuesday, October 31. Event organizers will reconvene to make a call Wednesday, November 1, at 7:00 a.m. HST. About the WSL
The World Surf League (WSL) is the global home of competitive surfing, crowning the World Champions since 1976 and showcasing the world’s best surfers on the world’s best waves. WSL is comprised of the Tours and Competition division, which oversees and operates more than 180 global competitions each year; WSL WaveCo, home of the world's largest high-performance, human-made wave; and WSL Studios, an independent producer of unscripted and scripted projects.
For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.