The 2021/22' Hawaii/Tahiti Nui Qualifying Series (QS) season provided regional competitors a massive opportunity at the HIC Pipe Pro and those who rose to the occasion earned their place among the Challenger Series (CS) contingent for the 2022 season. Kauai, Hawaii's own Kainehe Hunt capitalized on that event and, with a fourth-place finish at Pipeline, found himself competing for a chance to qualify for the Championship Tour (CT).
While the Challenger Series season and the first stop of Hawaii/Tahiti Nui's 2022/23' QS season haven't gone Hunt's way, the rising talent keeps his spirits high with the love of surfing leading his way. The WSL caught up with Hunt ahead of the upcoming Sunset Pro presented by HIC to talk all things competitive surfing, ambitions, and more.
WSL: You finished fourth at the HIC Pipe Pro to get on the Challenger Series. What's something you noticed about that event versus your year so far?
Kainehe Hunt: Last year at Pipe I was in a really good mental space and I did really well in that event. I was just focusing on my surfing and having a good time, and just getting barreled. These other events, especially on the Challenger Series, there's a lot more factors that come into play with just surfing in general. I haven't done too well on the Challenger so I'm looking forward to surfing some heats and definitely ready to battle (at Sunset).
Now you've got Sunset. Close to home and a lot of familiarity with the wave. What's your mindset going in?
I'm super excited for this one. I've been working a lot at home just on some personal life stuff and nothing makes you more happy than getting to surf. Sunset is a good fit for me, I'm a big human so I kind of like being in the big playing field. It lets me just do my surfing
Ambitions on what the tour has to offer
It'll be good to try and get some prize money and some points here at Sunset, and it's a pretty sick season the way it's lining up. We had Ala Moana Bowls, now Sunset, then hopefully get barreled in Tahiti. But, just to be able to surf multiple events is pretty cool and I'm looking forward to getting in the water as much as possible around the events. There's a lot of barrels (laughs)
The Sunset Pro presented by HIC will run on the best three days during the event window beginning October 28 - November 6.