Caio Vaz Wins Sunset Beach Pro
The SUP magazine breakdown of the finalists at the fifth anniversary edition of the Sunset Beach Pro.
With his win at the Sunset Beach Pro, Caio Vaz just sent a warning shot across the paddles of every surfer on the Standup World Tour: he’s here to win. Vaz, who took second place in the title chase last year, came out strong, surfing powerfully and drawing clean lines through Sunset Beach’s powerful bowls despite less-than-ideal conditions for the final day.
Before the contest we wrote, “Don't let his constant smile fool you, Vaz wants that title. He should definitely be considered a contender when he paddles out at Sunset.” He obviously did more than contend.
Kai Lenny, the three-time Sunset winner, was hot on Vaz’s heels in the final but couldn’t come up with the scores he needed in the sloppy, disorganized surf in the final. In fact, Lenny almost lost out in the semifinals to charging Tahitian Poenaiki Raioha (who we also predicted would do well) but Lenny pulled some last-minute magic and got the score to tie Raioha and advanced with a higher single-wave score. Even though runner-up is a strong season opener, Lenny isn’t happy with second place finishes. Expect him to have fire in his eyes in Brazil.
Zane Schweitzer also came out hot from the off season, easily taking honors as the sharpest backside surfer in the event, surfing Sunset like it was two-foot beachbreak. Schweitzer’s competitive fire seems to be blazing at the moment and if this event is taken as an indicator, he’s going to be a dangerous draw in every single event of the 2014 schedule.
Keahi de Aboitiz has made his mark as a kite surfer (he’s a two-time world champ) and free-surf standup paddler. Although this wasn’t his first Standup World Tour final (he got fourth at Location X in 2012), this is a big result for him. Aboitiz is a preternaturally-gifted athlete and it’s only a matter of time before he strings together consistent results. Watch for his casual style to leave a lasting impression on this year’s tour.