- WSL / Kelly Cestari

We know that Haleiwa is an excellent, but temperamental right-hander that is positioned well to absorb the West and Northwest swells generated in Oahu's winter season. Below eight feet, it's a hollow, high-performance wave. But at 10 to 15 feet, it's a thicker version of itself with a higher-consequence closeout finish. So, what does it take to win there?

Well, the best data set to determine that is to look at the winners' list. That dates back to 1985 when the Haleiwa event became a mainstay in the Triple Crown. It does however only take into account the Men's results, with this year's Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold Haleiwa Challenger the first to include the Women's. After crunching the numbers we've discovered a few key ingredients that the winners at Haleiwa have in common. This are they.

It Helps To Be From Hawaii

In the 34 years that the event has been run a Hawaiian has claimed victory in 15. Sunny Garcia and Andy Irons claimed six of those and John John the last, but plenty of other lesser-known Hawaiians have stepped up at a wave that rewards local knowledge and big wave credentials. If you're not Hawaiian, being an Aussie is the next best thing. They dominated the early years claiming the first six titles, and have won another seven since. The rest are shared by the USA and Tahiti with two, and one apiece for Brazil and Portugal.

Florence Finds Early Form at Haleiwa
John John starts the morning off strong with a commanding Round Four win at the Hawaiian Pro.

It Doesn't Help To Be Goofy-Footer

Only two surfers, Barton Lynch in 1988 and Conan Haynes in 1999, have won surfing with their back to the wall. Given some of Hawaii's perennial performers include goofies like Derek Ho, Tom Carroll, Mark Occhilupo, the Hobgood brothers and Gabriel Medina, it is surprising that the wave is such a goofy graveyard. While the tube at Haleiwa, being both high and with steps, is difficult to negotiate backside, the wave isn't seen as one that favors one side over the other. Yet the winners' list doesn't lie and numbers-wise 2021 doesn't look to buck that trend. In the Men's there are only five goofy-footers in the top 32 seeds, in the Women just four of the top 16. If a goofy-footer does claim victory, it will go against history and the odds.

If You Win It Once, You Can Win It Again

Mark Richards, Sunny Garcia, Kaipo Jaques, Andy Irons, Michel Bourez and Joel Parkinson (in 2018) have all won at Haleiwa multiple times and between them have more than half of all victories. That's some good news for John John Florence, who won at Haleiwa back in 2016. The last surfer to go back-to-back was Mark Richards, in 1986!

Highlights: Carmichael Claims Hawaiian Pro
Wade Carmichael finds victory at Haleiwa, takes early lead of Triple Crown heading into the Vans World Cup of Surfing.

Win At Haleiwa and You Are CT Ready

In the last ten years, only four non-CT surfers have won at Haleiwa. Frederico Morais (2019), Wade Carmichael (2015), Dusty Payne (2014), and Sebastian Zietz (2012). Interestingly, all those surfers used the win to either gain CT status, which they invariably kept, or like Morais and Payne, the victory meant they returned to the CT. If you win at Haleiwa not only does it give enough points to qualify, it's a signifier that the surfer is good enough to stay there.

Winners List

2019: Fred Morais | PRT
2018: Joel Parkinson | AUS
2017: Filipe Toledo | BRA
2016: John John Florence | HAW
2015: Wade Carmichael | AUS
2014: Dusty Payne | HAW
2013: Michel Bourez | PYF
2012: Sebastian Zietz | HAW
2011: Taj Burrow | AUS
2010: Joel Parkinson | AUS
2009: Joel Centeio | HAW
2008: Michel Bourez | PYF
2007: Roy Powers | HAW
2006: Andy Irons | HAW
2005: Pancho Sullivan | HAW
2004: Sunny Garcia | HAW
2003: Troy Brooks | AUS
2002: Sunny Garcia | HAW
2001: Andy Irons | HAW
2000: Sunny Garcia | HAW
1999: Conan Hayes | HAW
1998: Kaipo Jaquias | HAW
1997: Tony Ray | AUS
1996: Kaipo Jaquias | HAW
1995: Richard Lovett | AUS
1994: Chris Brown | USA
1993: Sunny Garcia | HAW
1991: Tom Curren | USA
1990: Nicky Wood | AUS
1989: Cheyne Horan | AUS
1988: Barton Lynch | AUS
1987: Gary Elkerton | AUS
1986: Mark Richards | AUS
1985: Mark Richards | AUS

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