Maui’s Payne Wins “Best-In-Class” Competition
By MauiNow Staff
In addition to the points race to qualify for the 2015 World Championship Tour and rankings points for the Vans Triple Crown, Hawaiian Airlines added another contest to the stakes this season in Hawaii: The Best-in-Class competition, which awards 250,000 air miles to the surfer with the best two-wave total at the end of Triple Crown.
The 2014 World Title was decided Friday, Dec. 19, as were the season-ending Pipeline Masters and the Vans Triple Crown.
After all the titles were decided, Lahaina’s Dusty Payne claimed the Hawaiian Airlines “Best-In-Class” competition, with his two-wave total of 19.64 from the final of Reef Hawaiian Pro he won in mid-November.
Payne’s two-wave score held up by .01 hundredth of a point to the winning score from the final of the Pipe Masters today.
In total, Payne’s heat total held up through two events — Vans World Cup and Pipe Masters — and 114 heats.
1. Maui’s Dusty Payne — 19.64 Final
Wave 1: Payne showed a tremendous amount of power under the lip for a 9.87, an event-high 9.87.
Wave 2: On his followup, Payne overtook the lead from Wilson, earning a 9.77 for his signature power-surfing.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Here is how writer Jeff Mull of Surfermag.com describes Payne’s winning final against Julian Wilson, Jeremy Flores, and Adam Melling, respectively, on Nov. 15:
While conditions on the opening day were marked with precision rail work and the thundering sets that have forged Haleiwa’s fearsome reputation, as the swell subsided, the vast majority of the best-scoring waves came from high-tech airs. Throughout the final day, both Julian and Dusty brought the crowd and the announcers to their feet on more than one occasion, stomping one massive air after another. In the final, Julian drew first blood, dropping a quick 9-point ride to set a blistering pace. Ten minutes later, Julian boosted a stratospheric slob to combo the entire the heat. With 20 minutes remaining, and with the bulk of both pundits and surf fans alike assuming that Julian had already written his name across the event, Dusty would counter, but this time, without taking to the air. First, he posted a solid 8-point ride. Moments later, he tore the living hell out of an overhead set to drop a 9.87. Suddenly, things became very interesting. It was clear that both Melling and Flores were too far back to make a push, but Dusty was surfing with a kind of raw determination. And just when it seemed outside the realm of possibility, Dusty did the impossible. On a wave ripe with potential, Dusty went slightly bigger, carved slightly harder. This time, he’d posted 9.97. He’d taken back the lead. “I threw everything I had at that wave,” he would later say.
After coming back into the final with a vengeance and combo-ing the rest of the field with a 9.87 and a 9.77, you were left with the feeling that Dusty could really do it, but Julian still couldn’t be counted out. And although Julian would fire back in an attempt to counter time and again—taking to the air and linking a slew of unblemished carves together at every opportunity—it wouldn’t be enough. This day belonged to Dusty.
“At first, I kind of figured Julian wrapped it up and we were fighting for second. Then two magical waves showed up and I got really lucky,” Dusty said through tears while standing on the winner’s podium. “I was asking myself what would Andy do? He would throw everything he had it and that’s what I attempted to do. I didn’t give up on myself; I just kept fighting.”