Hawaii's juniors enter HIC Pro to make mark on North Shore competitive season
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 12 October, 2017 - A dominating millennial generation has emerged just in time to rule the HIC Pro, a World Surf League Qualifying Series 3,000 event taking place October 27 – November 9, with over 40 percent of the 112-man field aged twenty years old and under.
One of the youngest includes WSL Hawaii/Tahiti Nui Regional Junior front-runner Barron Mamiya, 17, who has won three out of four regional Pro Junior events this year, including at Sunset Beach. As a world-class big wave venue, Sunset will provide the canvas for competition and rumbles to life this October to kick off a charged succession of professional surfing events that will deliver the year’s final awards.
For nearly a decade, Vans has partnered with the HIC Pro to host the only official local qualifier for the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing (VTCS), a coveted series now in its 35th year of crowning World Champions and celebrating the heritage of professional surfing in Hawaii. The QS3,000 will qualify nine surfers from the Hawaii/Tahiti Nui region into the first two VTCS events – The Hawaiian Pro and Vans World Cup – and allows many local athletes the opportunity to compete professionally in their own backyard.
Mamiya, and North Shore standouts Billy Kemper, Finn McGill and defending event winner Mason Ho, will compete alongside Championship Tour (CT) athletes Ezekiel Lau (HAW), Kanoa Igarashi (USA) and Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) in an epic clash for points, prize money and qualification. This will be Mamiya’s second time competing in the HIC Pro and he is eager to prove his place in the lineup.
“I think it's cool that those big-name guys are doing the contest, but I'm just going to go out and surf my game, I've got a few magic boards so I'm feeling pretty good,” said Mamiya. “This winter I want to show everyone that I'm not a little kid anymore, that I can get scores and make heats on the QS.”
Lau, one of three Hawaii athletes on the CT, comes into the winter season on a high note after winning the QS10,000 in Cascais, Portugal. That victory shot him up 93 spots on the International QS rankings to no. 12 and in close range of re-qualifying for a sophomore year on the CT. Lau is entered to compete in the HIC Pro pending the MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal, CT Stop. No. 10 of 11, which has a holding window of October 20 – 31.
Meanwhile, Honolulu’s Keanu Asing sits 6 spots above Lau on the International QS and has solidified his place in the VTCS. Asing is fighting for a spot on the CT after his maiden run in 2016 saw him fall short of re-qualification, but after three wins on the QS this year in Australia, Barbados and Virginia Beach, he is within earshot to joining the world’s best again in 2018. For Asing, it is the QS points and the warm-up to the Hawaiian winter waves that he will be looking to gain.
Nearly 20 different countries from 6 different continents will be represented in the HIC Pro including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, France, Indonesia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Peru, South Africa and Uruguay. As a QS3,000-rated competition, a variety of international contingents seeded straight off the QS rankings will have the opportunity to sample Sunset alongside Hawaii’s best, creating a true mixing pot of talent, age and ethnicity.
Vans athlete Patrick Gudauskas (USA), a seasonal migrator to the North Shore, has gained a seed into the Round of 64 as a top-ranked athlete on the International QS among Hawaii athletes Asing, Lau, Josh and Seth Moinz, Koa Smith and Dusty Payne. Gudauskas sits in the No. 11 spot on the QS and, like Asing, is in fighting reach of qualifying for the 2018 CT, which is comprised of the top ten surfers off the QS, top 22 off the CT and two wildcards. A solid performance in Hawaii is essential for Gudauskas’ climb up the rankings.
The HIC Pro will run three days within the 14-day holding period; contest organizers will assess conditions each morning to determine the biggest and best days of competition. Visit WorldSurfLeague.com for the official call and to catch the action LIVE, or tune into Spectrum SURF Channel, which will televise the 2017 HIC Pro and 2017 Vans Triple Crown events LIVE and in replay on digital channels 250 SD and 1250 HD, across the state of Hawaii.