Maui News

Haleiwa Challenger is called OFF on Opening Days due to unfavorable swell direction

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Pictured: Opening day awaits as impending swell could bring Haleiwa to life in coming days. Credit: © WSL / Heff

The Haleiwa Challenger presented by The Hawaiian Islands, the final stop of the World Surf League 2023 Challenger Series, has been called OFF for the first two days of the event window. Impending swell has event organizers eyeing down a start in ideal, Haleiwa conditions with unfavorable swell direction today, Nov. 26, and tomorrow, Nov. 27.

“Day one of the waiting period we have a decreasing northeast swell and it’s the wrong direction for Haleiwa,” said Hawaiʻi/Tahiti Nui Event Director Marty Thomas. “The forecast is looking really good for next week with two, solid west, northwest swells ideal for this iconic lineup.” 

Haleiwa Challenger presented by The Hawaiian Islands. PC: World Surf League

Maui competitor Ian Gentil is on the verge of qualifying alongside fellow Maui competitors Billy Kemper, Jackson Bunch, Eli Hanneman, and Nora Liotta.


When competition ensues, the men’s event begins with 4x Jaws, Big Wave victor Billy Kemper (HAW), facing one of North America’s top-tier talents, Michael Dunphy (USA), alongside Mexico’s rising threat Alan Cleland, and Santa Cruz, California’s, John Mel in Round of 80, Heat 1. 

The women’s event starts with newcomer, recent Sunset Pro presented by HIC QS 1,000 finalist and Oahu’s own, Eweleiula Wong (HAW), Kauai’s former WSL World Junior Champion Keala Tomoda-Bannert, one of Portugal’s emerging talents Mafalda Lopes, and Japanese contender Rina Matsunaga in Round of 48, Heat 1.

Event organizers will reconvene at 7:30 a.m. HST, Nov. 28, to determine a possible 8:05 a.m. HST start for competition.


The Haleiwa Challenger presented by The Hawaiian Islands is proudly sponsored by At Home in the Hawaii Islands, Hawaiian Tourism, Shisiedo, Havaianas, Specturm, 805, Alaska Air, Turtle Bay, Fu Wax, and Hydro Flask.

Watch LIVE

The Haleiwa Challenger will be streamed LIVE beginning Nov. 26 – Dec. 7. The contest will be broadcast LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.comWSL’s YouTube channel, and on the free WSL app.


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