Things got serious Monday during Round Two of the QS10000 Hawaiian Pro, one of the most important Qualifying Series events of the entire 2016 season. With careers in the balance, Haleiwa cranked up the pressure, producing solid 8 to 10 foot surf that forced surfers to reach deep into their board bags for their seldom-used step up boards.
Haleiwa is one of the trickier lineups on the QS. At size, which it was during all of Round Two, there's a river that sucks surfers into the lineup, but if not careful, it can easily drag them out of position too. There's no resting at Haleiwa. Surfers rarely have a chance to sit on their boards. You're basically paddling on a treadmill just to stay in position.
For that reason alone a little extra foam is required. The problem is this: Haleiwa's wave faces are highly rippable. Even when it's pumping it's a very high performance wave because of its hollow pocket, racy wall, and ample power. It's a wave that chews up the timid and spits them out. To succeed at Haleiwa you need to match its speed and power, and then some.
On that note, the powerful Portuguese pair of Frederico Morais and Vasco Ribeiro delivered on Monday. Both surfers dominated their heats with commanding performances, and two of the day's highest scores.
Morais got straight into it during his Round Two heat, earning a huge 9.77 on his first wave. Brett Simpson and Marco Giorgi battled back midway, and ended up fighting it out for second place, with Simpson getting the nod thanks to a 9-point ride of his own.
A couple of heats earlier, Vasco Ribeiro used a buzzer-beater to get through his grueling match, which ended up being the highest of the day. Sitting in third place with less than a minute remaining against Tanner Gudauskas, O'Neill Massin and Carlos Muñoz. Ribeiro headed for an early exit with 30 seconds left, but he bagged a solid set and gouged his way to the highest score of the heat, a 9.37, which was enough to take the win over an on-fire Tanner Gudauskas.
Of the many other standouts, one was San Clemente upstart Griffin Colapinto. The 18-year old Californian, who's pulling double duty these days by surfing both the QS and the WSL Junior Tour circuit, took the win over powerful Aussie Mitch Coleborn in their close, midday heat. Colapinto's radical, carving style recalls echoes of a young Andy Irons, and he looks to be an early contender in the race for the Triple Crown Rookie of the Year honors.
Later in the day, once again the vague mysteries of heat seeding pitted a talented gang of friends against each other. In an all-American affair, Hawaiian Josh Moniz took on mainlanders Ian Crane (California), Michael Dunphy (Virginia) and Evan Geiselman (Florida). Geiselman, who is precariously sitting on the Championship Tour qualification bubble at #14 on the QS, clearly had the most on the line out of the group. After his frightening brush with death at Pipeline last winter, it was good to see Evan battle back from a shaking start and progress through the heat with a strong backhand attack on the bowling inside section at Haleiwa.
As good as Monday's action was, Tuesday's promises to be even better with the big seeds arriving, including John John Florence, Kelly Slater, Jordy Smith and Matt Wilkinson, not to mention this year's rookie standouts Caio Ibelli, Stuart Kennedy, and Conner Coffin.
With the swell dropping back into the playful zone on Tuesday we'll expect performance levels to rise even further for the money matches. Be sure to tune into worldsurfleague.com to watch as 8:00 am HAST.