Exclusive Photos and Recap from the Late Rounds of A Legendary Event
As the ole’ saying goes, “All good things must come to an end.” While the opening rounds of the 2016 Sunset Beach Pro served up some of the best surf in the break’s competitive history, conditions for the final rounds weren’t quite as climactic. Sunset still produced solid swell, but the prevailing onshore winds hampered the showcase on finals day.
Neither competitors nor winds were able to stop Brazilian Caio Vaz from claiming victory in the season-opening round to the 2016 Standup World Tour. The defending world champion looked unstoppable in both the quarter and semifinals, winning both rounds handily on his way to the competition’s closing heat.
Unfortunately, the final round featured the worst conditions of the entire contest with strong winds inducing blown-out waves. While some thought the rough conditions would even the playing field, Vaz came out fast with well-executed rides on two solid waves, impressing judges for an opening score in the excellent range followed by a mid-range ride finishing with a 13.33 overall, while none of the other finalists managed to break beyond single-digit heat totals.
While Vaz was the star, the final round was full of rising stars like the rejuvenated Tour veteran James Casey, who had his breakout Sunset performance with an impressive second-place finish. The Australian had his work cut out for him in a stacked quarterfinal heat and barely edged out 4x world tour champ, Kai Lenny.
Continuing his momentum from winning the 2015 US Open of SUP at Huntington Beach, Poenaiki Raioha put in a very strong effort during the closing day of the contest. The Tahitian was in proper form and received the highest heat score of the day with an impressive 15.9 in the quarterfinals. However, the windy conditions in the final round limited Raioha from fulfilling his potential and finished in third at the final hooter.
Rounding out the group in the finals was young Maui SUP star Bernd Roediger. The multi-sport athlete rode his unmistakable style all the way to the finals and turned heads in the process. It was a strong showing for the emerging talent who is expecting to be a major force on the Standup World Tour this year.
Oahu’s Fabled North Shore provided a thrilling opening round to the 2016 Standup World Tour with Caio Vaz proving he’s still the man to beat. But the field is deeper than ever before and young stars are eager to knock off last year’s champ. It is shaping up to be the most competitive year in Tour history and we’ll be bringing all the action and in-depth analysis to you.
Check out our full gallery from the earlier rounds at the Sunset Beach Pro.
See all the action and who won last year’s 2015 Sunset Beach Pro.
Video Highlights from Final Rounds at Sunset Beach Pro