The opening day of the World Surf League Sunset Pro witnessed Maui native and big-wave specialist Ian Walsh easily advancing in his heat.
This is the first QS event of the 2019 WSL Hawaiʻi/Tahiti Nui 2019 season and wave faces ranged from six-to-eight foot at the iconic Sunset Beach on Tuesday.
Walsh has been victorious at Sunset before, and his seasoned experience was evident from the start.
“It was challenging today to be in the right place when a set came, and with a new swell building it’s a bit of time in between the good sets,” reflected Walsh after his heat win. “If you’re out of position for a set you might not get another really good opportunity, so you really have to maximize whatever you stand up on.”
“I think the biggest thing that keeps me motivated is just the feeling of competing, and trying to figure out the ocean as best you can in such a short amount of time,” Walsh said. “I just enjoy surfing though; if the conditions and the forecast look really good, then I get really excited and I just want to surf. I guess the biggest thing is just putting on a jersey – I don’t put it on too much during the year, so it’s fun to have that little internal pressure to perform in a certain amount of time.”
Kauai’s Cole Frye (HAW) and Peru’s Sebastian Correa (PER) turned in top performances. Also making the most of the conditions was Peru’s Sebastian Correa, who dropped a massive 9.00 in his Round 2 heat for the highest wave score of the day.
The event was a blend of faces old and new, including Luke Swanson (HAW), who, along with Levi Young (HAW), was the youngest competitor at the age of 14.
Swanson bested Young to advance out of the Round 1 draw, but surfed his way into a tough Round 2 heat against 2015 Big Wave World Champion Makuakai Rothman (HAW), Eli Hanneman (HAW), and Ulualoha Napeahi (HAW).
Sunset Open Day 1 Results
All surfers from Hawaiʻi (HAW) unless otherwise noted.
Round 2 (Round of 96)
1st & 2nd advance. 3rd=65th place. 4th=81st place.
Heat 1: 1st Turo Ariitu (PYF), 2nd Taro Watanabe (USA), 3rd Coconut Willie, 4th Like Adolfson
Heat 2: 1st Robert Grilho, 2nd Ocean Macedo, 3rd Lennox Chell, 4th Kyle Tester
Heat 3: 1st Kainaru Kato, 2nd Kala Willard, 3rd Max Beach (USA) 4th Sandon Whittaker (AUS)
Heat 4: 1st Kan Watanabe (JPN), 2nd Kaito Kino, 3rd Kekoa Cazimero, 4th Brodi Sale
Heat 5: 1st Guy Sato (JPN), Sam Neiger (USA), Gavin Hogan, Luke Adolfson
Heat 6: 1st Eli Olson, 2nd Joaquin Del Castillo (PER), 3rd Ezra Sitt, 4th Chase Rasse
Heat 7: 1st Sebastian Correa (PER), 2nd Love Hodel, 3rd Chris Foster, 4th Sammy Gray
Heat 8: 1st Taishi Kume (JPN), 2nd Herbert Moreno (BRA), 3rd Sage Tutterow, 4thDaiki Matsunaga
Heat 9: 1st Gregg Nakamura, 2nd Logan Bediamol, 3rd Makana Pang, 4th Elem Ben Zvi (ISR)
Heat 10: 1st Makuakai Rothman, 2nd Eli Hanneman, 3rd Ulualoha Napeahi, 4th Luke Swanson
Heat 11: 1st Vitor Ferreira (BRA), 2nd Cole Frye, 3rd Remy Juboori (USA), 4th Also Chirinos (CRI)
Heat 12: 1st Ian Walsh, 2nd Maddy Job (AUS), 3rd Kalani Rivero, 4th Bjorn
Men’s Round 1 (Round of 112)
1st & 2nd advance. 3rd=97th place. 4th=105th place.
Heat 1: 1st Coconut Willie, 2nd Lennox Chell (AUS), 3rd Lucas Godfrey, 4th Zac Hedemann
Heat 2: 1st Kainaru Kato, 2nd Kan Watanabe (JPN), 3rd Mo Freitas, 4th Taua Pou
Heat 3: 1st Gavin Hogan, 2nd Chase Rasse, 3rd Achraf Marzouki, 4th Derek Ho
Heat 4: 1st Sammy Gray, 2nd Taishi Kume (JPN), 3rd Jake Riccobuano, 4th Riley Morgan
Heat 5: 1st Gregg Nakamura, 2nd Luke Swanson, 3rd Levi Young, 4th Max Lockwood
Heat 6: 1st Cole Frye, 2nd Kalani Rivero, 3rd Eimeo Czermak (PYF), 4th Sage Burke (USA)
Heat 7: 1st Robert Patterson, 2nd Tyler Newton, 3rd Jin Suzuki (JPN), 4th Mitchell Salazar (MEX)
Heat 8: 1st Gavin Gillette, 2nd Roi Kanazawa (JPN), 3rd Taichi Hagita (JPN), 4thLorenzo Avvenenti (PYF)