Rising and falling from the Championship Tour can be as common as the ocean's tides. To be among the world's best is no easy task with the spotlight amplified and microscope on every heat magnified even greater. But, a warrior mentality will separate you from the Challenger Series pack and Ezekiel Lau found exactly what it took to rejoin the elite after officially qualifying for the 2022 Championship Tour.
Now, the former CT competitor heads into the Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold Haleiwa Challenger a made man which could spell disaster for his opponents in a stress free environment. The WSL caught up with him to hear exactly what he's thinking before the Challenger Series heads to his home on Oahu.
WSL: What's your mindset already being qualified for the CT healing into the final Challenger Series event of the year?
Lau: I think I forget sometimes that I'm already qualified and still in the zone that this is the last event, let's go and get it and try to finish strong. It definitely feels good not having to rely on it as much but I still want to put on a strong performance and be there on finals day. Hopefully the waves are good.
You've taken down a major event at Sunset and had some standout performances at Pipe, what would it mean to notch a result at Haleiwa? I've been working on trying to improve my performance at Haleiwa. I feel like I've had some pretty lackluster performances the last few years here. It seems like I tend to struggle in this event which is hard for me to even comprehend because I love this wave. I've put in a lot more time out there over the last year and hopefully it all pays off.
Looking back at your season on the Challenger Series in this new format and having strong performances at US Open, winning Portugal, what are some takeaways you can take and build upon?
Portugal was obviously a really strong showing and I kind of knew that going into it because that style of wave really suits my surfing. But, for me, the biggest event that I felt I put the most focus on was the U.S. Open. I wanted to try and start the year off with something solid and go into Europe with a little bit of cushion.
That way I only needed on of those places to bank on and then hopefully have it come down to Haleiwa to finish the job. But, I exceeded my expectations and everything worked out really good.