Photo: Greg Panas

Photo: Greg Panas

Kai Lenny is back in form, ladies and gentlemen. The two-time Standup World Tour Champion clinched his third Sunset Beach Pro victory in four years yesterday in beautiful offshore conditions. Lenny started off slowly in the competition, posting lower heat scores than usual and making some uncharacteristic mistakes. As the contest continued, though, he picked up momentum and looked unflappable heading into the final. In his quarter final heat he threaded a long, technical barrel and came out clean. That would set the tone for the rest of the event.

Lenny finished 2012 with a third place finish and, it should be noted, didn’t win the Sunset contest to start the season. Years past, when Lenny won the first contest of the season, he won the title. Obviously, it’s far from conclusive evidence, but worth noting.

There were some early exits in the initial event of the season, including World Champ Leco Salazar bowing out in Round 4 and 2012 runner-up, Sean Poynter, in the quarterfinals. Robin Johnston, who finished fourth last year behind Lenny, made it into the finals though, and finished in second.

One thing that was abundantly clear is that there are some young talents on tour that are going to be shifting the traditional balance of power. Poenaiki Raioha and Kody Kerbox, both under 20, made the finals. Raioha won the Na Kama Kai Youth Challenge earlier this week at Turtle Bay and fellow junior Mo Freitas got second. Freitas was knocked out in Round 4 of the main event at Sunset. Look for these guys to have a big impact on the tour this year and for years to come.

The World Tour action will continue on April 15 when the Standup World Tour heads to Brazil for the Ubatuba Pro. Stay posted on Standup World Tour home page and here at SUPtheMag for the most up-to-date information.