- WSL / Heff

HALEIWA, Oahu/Hawaii (Wednesday, November 16, 2022) - The 2022 World Surf League (WSL) Challenger Series (CS) returns to Haleiwa, Oahu, for its 7th and final stop, the Haleiwa Challenger, which holds a competition window November 26 - December 7, 2022. Some of the world's best competitors and Championship Tour (CT) qualification hopefuls will converge for one last opportunity to secure their places on the 2023 CT. Only a handful of spots remain for the men and women, making every heat high stakes.

Bettylou Sakura Johnson Is Almost Back Where She Belongs, The Championship Tour
With one event left on the Challenger Series, at her home break, Haleiwa, Bettylou Sakura Johnson now has the dream of rejoining the Championship Tour within her grasp... Will She make her dream come true at the Haleiwa Challenger? Tune in on November 26th on worldsurfleague.com to find out!

Haliewa local, Bettylou Sakura Johnson (HAW), got her big win at this very event last season, which secured her first appearance on the CT. Unfortunately, the Mid-Season Cut was not favorable to the Hawaiian, and she spent the rest of the season competing on the Challenger Series to requalify. Now, Sakura Johnson is once again in striking distance of rejoining the world's best and is hoping for repeat performance to claim her spot on the 2023 CT.

"The moment to requalify again would mean a lot," said Sakura Johnson. "This year has just been a big learning experience. Before the Challenger Series (last year) I wasn't really competing as much. I've just put so much hard work and focus into my surfing to really just improve, and progress on it."

Sakura Johnson's road to requalification ends at the Haleiwa Challenger along with CT hopefuls looking to make their mark such as former CT competitors Bronte Macaulay (AUS), and Nikki Van Dijk (AUS), along with rising star Alyssa Spencer (USA), long-time qualification threat Teresa Bonvalot (PRT), and many more.

Ian Gentil (HAW) during the 2021 Haleiwa Challenger Ian Gentil (HAW) during the 2021 Haleiwa Challenger - WSL / Bielmann

For the likes of CT hopeful Ian Gentil (HAW), this is the final opportunity to earn a big result and make a long-awaited dream become reality. The Maui, Hawaii, competitor stepped away from professional surfing earlier in his career and now sits at No. 5 on the Challenger Series.

"Points and rankings aside, Haleiwa means a lot to me," said Genitl. "I've been looking forward to this event all year and all things considered, I'm exactly where I want to be. One thing I've learned this year is that pressure is a good thing. It helps keep me focused. So I hope I feel a ton of pressure at Haleiwa."

Gentil will have to deal with the likes of recently confirmed 2023 CT surfers Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) and Ryan Callinan (AUS), as well as a plethora of those looking to make requalification moves of their own, including Hawaiian Ezekiel Lau, Liam O' Brien (AUS), and Joao Chianca (BRA).

The Challenger Series athletes will get their taste of competing against the world's best as reigning event winner and 2x WSL Champion John John Florence (HAW), 5x WSL Champion Carissa Moore (HAW), 2022 Rip Curl WSL Finalists Ethan Ewing (AUS) and Kanoa Igarashi (JPN), 2022 CT Rookie of the Year Gabriela Bryan (HAW), and more are all in attendance to get their time in the jersey.

We Are One Ocean 2022 Global Impact
As surfers and ocean lovers, the ocean is more than just our favorite place to play. It is our arena, our office, and our inspiration. The ocean, its waves and beaches, reefs and high seas, is truly our greatest resource and connector. Over the last two years we've worked to inspire world leaders to protect and conserve the ocean we love through our #WeAreOneOcean initiative. Once again, We Are One Ocean lived up to its name.

On Monday November 14, 2022, the WSL and WSL PURE announced the impact of the global We Are One Ocean (WAOO) initiative over the 2022 Championship Tour (CT) Season. Launched in 2021, WAOO is a global initiative of the WSL aimed at inspiring the global surf community to protect and conserve our one ocean and preserve the future of our sport. The focus of WAOO is to protect and conserve surf ecosystems around the world through coastal restoration, climate action, and reducing plastic pollution. To learn more about the impact of WAOO, click the link above.

Watch LIVE The Haleiwa Challenger will be streamed LIVE beginning November 26 - December 7. The contest will be broadcasted LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com, WSL's YouTube channel, and on the free WSL app. Also, check local listings for coverage from the WSL's broadcast partners.

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