- WSL / Tony Heff

The World Surf League (WSL) Hawaii/Tahiti Nui's opening day for the 2022/23' Qualifying Series (QS) season is set with the Priority Destinations Pro presented by First Hawaiian Bank and Mastercard. Event organizers will make the first call tomorrow, Friday June 17, with favorable swell on the forecast and an elite field of competitors ready to begin their campaigns toward Challenger Series (CS) qualification.

Bowls Ala Moana Bowls in all its glory. Some of Hawaii's top performers are ready and waiting for the opening horn to sound once more at this pristine reefbreak. - WSL / Tony Heff

A high-caliber field of women and men are set to battle for a valuable 1,000 points toward the regional rankings including HIC Pipe Pro finalist Brianna Cope. Kauai's own has gotten near-glimpses of CT qualification glory and remains hungry to join the world's best after making her national introduction on ‘The Ultimate Surfer.' Currently sitting at No. 33 on the Challenger Series, Cope knows the importance of backing herself up on the regional QS and has plenty of experience at the famed Ala Moana Bowls. (Full interview in video below)

"I love going over to Oahu and competing at Ala Moana Bowls and start the year off early instead of waiting all the way til Pipe in December (like last year)," said Cope. "After almost two years of not competing there was way more stress. You're surfing your best in 25 to 30 minutes that you possibly can."

Watch: Cope, deVault Talk Priority Destinations Pro Return To Ala Moana Bowls, Plus Past, Present And Future
Two of Hawaii's top competitors talk Priority Destinations Pro pres. by First Hawaiian Bank and Mastercard, ambitions, and more.

But, Cope will have to outmatch the likes of former Championship Tour (CT) veteran Coco Ho, 2022 Billabong Pipeline Pro victor Moana Jones Wong, world-renowned surfer Bethany Hamilton, and a plethora of hungry QS talents.

Recent 2022 Championship Tour (CT) rookie Imaikalani deVault will make his first-ever WSL debut at Ala Moana Bowls after missing the QS in 2015 and 2016. Only the second Maui competitor to qualify for the CT, deVault's competitive prowess reached that next level and now he looks to rejoin the Top 32 by season's end to prove it wasn't a fluke. The 24-year-old comes into the Priority Destinations Pro pres. by First Hawaiian Bank and Mastercard with a Quarterfinal finish in Sydney on the Challenger Series level as his confidence continues to climb. (Full interview in video above)

"I'm super excited and I've actually never been able to compete on the QS at Bowls," said deVault. "Both times I got super sick and wasn't able to do it. This event is super important for a lot of the Hawaiians and we don't have a set schedule yet that I've seen so you never know how many chances you'll get so you definitely have to take it pretty serious."

PENICHE, PORTUGAL - OCTOBER 18: Ezekiel Lau of Hawaii is eliminated from the 2019 MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal with an equal 33rd finish after placing third in Heat 4 of Round 2 at Supertubos on October 18, 2019 in Peniche, Portugal. (Photo by Damien Poullen While most of Ezekiel Lau's major wins have come on righthand reefbreak breaks, his backhand is not to be forgotten. - WSL / Damien Poullenot

A heavily-stacked field awaits the likes of deVault including former CT threats Ezekiel Lau, Keanu Asing, and Dusty Payne along with former event victor Eli Olson, finalists Billy Kemper and Noa Mizuno. Also, battle proven competitors including Ian Gentil, Cody Young, Eli Hanneman, Shion Crawford, and one of the world's most exciting surfers Mason Ho all are looking to earn a massive win.

"We are thrilled to partner with the WSL to bring Hawaii surfers to the South Shore for such an important contest," said Raoul Magana, First Hawaiian Bank Senior Vice President and Card Services Division Manager. "This is especially meaningful for fans who haven't had the opportunity to watch top tier surf competition up close. Best of luck to the competitors and mahalo to Mastercard, the WSL, event organizers, and volunteers supporting this historic event at Ala Moana Bowls."

Event organizers will convene for a 7:00 a.m. HST call to determine a possible start for competition on opening day before the opening ceremony will take place at 7:15 a.m. HST to bless the proceedings and pay homage to Hawaii's host culture.

The Priority Destinations Pro presented by First Hawaiian Bank and Mastercard will run on the best three days during the event event window beginning June 17 through 24 at Ala Moana Bowls.

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