KAI LENNY WINS SUNSET BEACH PRO
We’ve seen just about every mood Sunset Beach has to offer this week at the 2015 Sunset Beach Pro, but unlike last year’s final, conditions for today’s event weren’t ideal. If Day 1 of this year’s Standup World Tour season opener was Sunset’s mad face, today was its, “meh.” Can’t win ’em all, we suppose, though the Standup World Tour still came out on top today due to the salvation of its world-class athletes. The final day of the Sunset Pro kicked off in knee-high, clean and rippable surf, placing the versatility of SUP on full display as competitors shredded small potatoes with power surfing that made micro rides look impressive.
Parlez vous power surfing?
Round 3 highlights included Poenaiki Raioha comboing the field in heat 4 with a remarkable display of Tahitian rail work. He may not speak English, but he speaks power surfing. Further highlights include Kala Alexander being late to his heat due to a light altercation with police about his chosen parking spot. Silly police, Kala can park wherever he darn well pleases on the North Shore. Kody Kerbox topped his heat with a commanding performance, tallying the highest scoring heat-total of the event with a 18.5.
Zane Schweitzer prevailed against a stacked heat featuring runner up Mo Freitas, Robin Johnson and former world champion, Brazilian Leco Salazar.
Racks on racks on racks
The quarterfinals featured thoroughly stacked heats with the world’s top talent. Opening heats provided no shockers, with Kai Lenny and the Tahitian favorite Poenaiki Raioha winning in anticipated fashion and moving on to the semis along with runners up Justin Holland and Bernd Roediger. Young Hawaiian ripper Kody Kerbox also took his heat, with runner up Caio Vaz beating out the American favorite, Sean Poynter, in the closing seconds. Hawaiia’s Mo Frietas also advanced along with Beau Nixon, putting to rest our predicted shocker claim by ousting Zane Schweitzer.
Conditions improved for the semis as a bump in the swell period brought consistent, shoulder-high waves. The first heat featured Kai Lenny, Justin Holland, Poenaiki Raioha and Bernd Roediger. Those four went to battle in an improved arena of surf with anticipated favorites Kai Lenny and Justin Holland advancing to the finals. And remember that kid who wasn’t supposed to compete on account of his broken pelvis? Mo Freitas? He won his semifinal heat and advanced with runner up Caio Vaz.
Mind over manners
The final opened in the best waves of the day, and Brazilian champion Caio Vaz picked off the first. Kai Lenny—the ruthless contender that he is—employed his mental attack early on, and pushed Caio a little too deep for the wave. Caio missed the sweet spot on one of the best waves of the day, finishing the ride with a gesture to Lenny instead of his signature snap. Lenny gained the upper hand and carried it till the buzzer despite the worthy performances of all the contenders.
Main Event Draw