HALEIWA, Oahu/Hawaii (Thursday, November 18, 2021) - The World Surf League (WSL) 2021 Challenger Series (CS) prepares for its final stop at the men's and women's Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold Haleiwa Challenger, November 26 - December 7. World-class competitors will make their return to one of surfing's proving grounds at Haleiwa, the world-renowned reef break nestled in Oahu, Hawaii's iconic North Shore. Competitors are hunting for critical qualification points as they look to fulfill their dreams of joining the elite Championship Tour (CT).
This event marks the first time the women have put a jersey on in Haleiwa's lineup since 2010, and an impressive field including five-time WSL Champion Carissa Moore (HAW), World No. 2 Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA), recent Roxy Pro France victor Luana Silva (HAW) and confirmed 2022 CT Rookie Gabriela Bryan (HAW).
"We're ecstatic to have the final stop of this year's Challenger Series back at one of the dream destinations for our competitions," said Travis Logie, WSL Senior Manager of Tours and Competition. "The level of talent coming to the proving grounds of the North Shore is outstanding and it's going to be amazing seeing the women get their deserved opportunity at it. There are plenty of scenarios to unfold with one of the more exciting qualification races to date and we're grateful to the local government, sponsors, and local Hawaiians for having us back."
Kauai's Bryan solidified her position on the 2022 CT after an impressive run through the Challenger Series season, including runner-up finishes at both the US Open of Surfing and Roxy Pro France. The 19-year-old is no stranger to heavy waters with an appearance at Pipeline in 2017, nor the world's best after a wildcard at the Freshwater Pro in 2019 and now looks to finish her year strong before preparing for her dream begins next season.
"It feels great going into Haleiwa already qualified," Bryan said. "That was the main goal for me going into the Challenger Series this year, so to already accomplish that and have one event left feels so good. Now that I don't have any kind of pressure for qualifying, my goal is to win Haleiwa and win the Challenger Series this year."
"It is so amazing to have a challenger series event at home in Hawaii," added Bryan. "I'm really looking forward to competing there this year, and hopefully we get some good swell to showcase our surfing."
Former event finalist and Oahu's own, Ezekiel Lau comes into this event looking for his first-ever win on the site's hallowed grounds. Lau, 27, claimed his title as ‘The Ultimate Surfer' before taking his place at No. 2 on the Challenger Series ranking with a massive win in Portugal. Now, the Hawaiian returns home to complete his phenomenal 2021 year among the likes of 11-time WSL Champion Kelly Slater (USA), two-time WSL Champion John John Florence (HAW), and a plethora of Challenger Series threats looking to solidify their spot on the 2022 CT season.
"I forget sometimes that I'm already qualified and going into this event it's nice not having to rely on it," said Lau. "I'm going to try and put on a good performance, so I can finish strong and be there on finals day. The last few years I've had some pretty lackluster performances at Haleiwa which is hard to comprehend because I love that wave so much. Last year I've really put even more time into it and hopefully it all pays off."
Watch LIVE The Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold Haleiwa Challenger will be broadcast LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com, the WSL app, and on WSL's YouTube Channel. Also, check local listings for coverage from the WSL's broadcast partners.
For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.
COVID-19 Updates The health and safety of athletes, staff, and the local community are of the utmost importance and the WSL has been working closely with local authorities to put a robust set of procedures in place. This includes testing and advance screening protocols, physical distancing, and limited personnel on-site.