While we wait for the swell to materialize and the storm clouds to clear, we're taking a deep dive into what the next day of competition holds in store for the Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold Haleiwa Challenger. With the 2022 Championship Tour coming down to this moment, the stakes couldn't be higher for the men and women looking to make the jump to the big leagues next year. Here are five heats you are most certainly not going to want to miss:
The Qualification Race Continues
Men's Round of 32, Heat 2: While several surfers across the men's and women's draws have now clinched qualification for the 2022 Championship Tour, there are still plenty of spots up for grabs. There are surfers, such as Australia's Callum Robson, who are in contention in a situation where they need to continue making heats to keep the dream alive.
Robson won't have an easy task though. He's set to face Ezekiel Lau -- a local whose already locked in his 22 CT spot -- as well as an in-form Crosby Colapinto. France's Charly Quivront rounds out the mix.
Robson is currently ranked 12th on the Challenger Series, so he's in a good spot. Failing to progress past this heat won't necessarily mean it's impossible to qualify for the CT, but a lot more things would need to go his way.
Moore Up Against The Next Gen
Women's Round of 32, Heat 1: The final Challenger Series event of the season is packed with top-level Championship Tour athletes, including five-time World Champion Carissa Moore. When the event resumes, she will have a heat which includes one of the brightest up-and-coming talents in surfing, Alyssa Spencer.
Spencer is currently 8th on the Challenger Series rankings, meaning she could qualify for the 2022 CT with a good result at Haleiwa -- not that having a five-time World Champion with plenty of experience on the North Shore makes that task easier. Either way, it will be an exciting heat.
Keep in mind that two athletes progress from each Round of 32 heat to the Quarterfinals, so both Moore and Spencer could keep moving through the draw.
John John And Haleiwa Are A Perfect Match
Men's Round of 32, Heat 3: John John Florence might be famous for his relationship with the jewel of the North Shore, Pipeline, but he's got a serious connection with Haleiwa which always makes for compelling viewing.
Last year, during the Digital Vans Triple Crown, he laid down some of the more searing carves ever recorded out there, and when he last surfed in this event -- his return to competition after recovering from injury -- he racked up an almost-perfect heat.
Florence in a heat at Haleiwa would be enough for a special mention, but the fact he's also up against two of Australia's most exciting surfers in Jack Freestone -- another athlete with a special way of reading this wave -- as well as Jacob Willcox means this will be one you don't want to miss. And just when you thought it couldn't get any more exciting, former CT surfer Jesse Mendes rounds out the four-man heat.
Local Knowledge Up Against CT Excellence
Women's Round of 32, Heat 8: This round features CT phenomenon Caroline Marks, who is warming up for 2022 by competing at Haleiwa, against North Shore local, qualification hopeful and former CT mainstay Coco Ho, as well as another surfer out of Hawaii, Bettylou Sakura Johnson.
Ho and Sakura Johnson are 8th and 13th respectively. They both need to progress if they want to qualify. But that means getting past Marks. Only two surfers can progress, and they need to contend with Amuro Tsuzuki, too. Tsuzuki has competed on the CT and is one of the best surfers in the world, so this really is a stacked heat.
Another Intergenerational Firecracker
Women's Round of 32, Heat 5: This heat will see perhaps the most dynamic, progressive and well-rounded young surfers Australia has produced in recent years, Molly Picklum, up against one of the Championship Tour's fiercest competitors, Tatiana Weston-Webb.
Weston-Webb is coming off one of her best seasons on the CT, which saw her compete for a world title at the Rip Curl WSL Finals at Trestles, while Picklum is another athlete with her eyes on qualifying, so that she can start competing with the best in the world full-time.