Following an intense day of action packed drama here at Hookipa, eight men and eight women remain in contention in the opening single elimination of the PWA Hawaii Pro, presented by Severne Sails. With a 10-15 feet wave faces pounding the north shore of Maui and 10-20 knot squally trades, the conditions provided the perfect stage for the worlds elite sailors to show why Hookipa is the most spectacular wave venue on the PWA world tour. In the men's competition Rick Steinick, Keith Teboul, Kauli Seadi (Naish, AHD), Fabrice Beaux, Kevin Pritchard (Gaastra, Starboard), Matt Pritchard (Gaastra), Francisco Porcella and Josh Angulo were the eight remaining sailors when competition was finally put on hold this evening due to diminishing winds. Meanwhile in the women's single elimination Sato Motoko, Iballa Moreno (Mistral, North), Jennifer Henderson (Starboard), Karin Jaggi (F2, Arrows), Ana Benchimot, Anne Marie Reichman (Naish), Jenny Ellefson and Noriko Hubs advanced through to the quarter finals leaving both fleets poised for a sensational climax in the opening eliminations!
Head wave judge Duncan Coombes opted for a two wave, one jump competition format this morning with additional marks factored by the judges for overall impression. With cranking winds blasting across Hookipa and up to mast high sets conditions were ideal for down the line wave riding and rocket airs. The first major upset of the day was the elimination of British former Aloha Classic winner Nik Baker (Mistral, North) who went down in the opening round to Mariano Estivill (F2, Arrows) of Argentina. Estivill knew he needed to produce something special to take down a sailor of Nik Bakers caliber and opened up his heat with a sensational double loop which he then consolidated with two solid waves. Baker struggled to find the form that has made him a previous winner here in Hawaii and will now have to fight back in the double elimination if conditions allow.
Ex world champion Jason Polakow (JP, Neil Pryde) was also on disappointing form today after taking an early exit in the second round at the hands of Maui local, Rush Randle (Neil Pryde). Randle advanced into the third round but then fell to young Francisco Porcello who was the dark horse in today's fleet having already defeated experienced PWA sailors, Kevin Ponichtera and Victor Fernandez (Fanatic) in his opening two heats.
Other key confrontations today included the third round battle between Aussie wave guru Scott Mckercher (Starboard) and ex wave champion Kevin Pritchard (Gaastra, Starboard). Pritchard opened up the heat with a solid first wave landing a rail grab aerial, another air and then milking the white water right in front of the rocks. Mckercher clocked up one solid wave, cranking a huge aerial but then failed to tune in with the sets and failed to find another wave to complete his scorecard. Kevin will now face his brother Matt who advanced into the quarter finals after taking down Mariano Estivill of Argentina.
Contest favorite Levi Siver (Starboard) also failed to advance past the third round at the hands of Maui local Rick Steinick. Steinick who was smacking some of the biggest lips today is now set for a head to head with Maui wave specialist Keith Teboul in his next heat. Meanwhile, reigning PWA wave champion Josh Angulo advanced comfortably through his heats today against Jake Miller, Baptiste Gossien (JP, Neil Pryde) and Diony Guadagnino (Neil Pryde) and is all set to face Francisco Porcella when action continues.
In today's women's competition the major upset of the day was the elimination of world champion Daida Moreno (Mistral, North) in her opening heat against Canadian sailor Noriko Hubbs. Meanwhile her sister Iballa advanced into the last eight after taking down American sailor Morgan Fisher. The big line up in the women's quarter finals looks like the heat between Maui local Jennifer Henderson (Starboard) and Karin Jaggi (F2, Arrows) of Switzerland after both sailors posted excellent performances in their opening heats today.
The forecast is calling for a bigger swell due to hit Mauis north shore late tomorrow afternoon. With the trades set to blow right through the weekend it looks like we are all set for a compelling battle for the PWA Hawaii Pro . Stay tuned to the PWA web site for all the news, pictures and results brought to you daily here from Hawaii.
Severne Sails, Da Kine, The Islands of Aloha, Maui Windsurf Company, Neil Pryde Maui, Hi Tech, Second wind, 101.1