The North Shore season begins in earnest next week. There’s a massive swell in the pipes. Rumor of the Eddie running’s even swirled, but that call’s a bit premature. The swell is expected to pucker up on Wednesday (with some potentially ruinous winds) before cleaning up and becoming more manageable for Turkey Day.
Technically, the “official” start of the North Shore kicked off earlier in the week with the Triple Crown, but who knew the Hawaiian Pro had even begun? Two rounds are done and right now about the most exciting news coming out of the beach park is that Mikey Wright bombed out of Round 2 with an underwhelming five-point heat score while Griffin Colapinto is through Round 3 and getting closer to a result that will cement his qualification for the 2018 tour. Unfortunately, he has yet to uncork an air like he did last year.
Haleiwa is a funny place. At the west end of the North Shore, it’s easily forgotten if it’s not pumping…and it hasn’t been pumping. So what else can we tell you about the heats that have already gone down at the Hawaiian Pro and those have yet to take place? Well, Josh Kerr won a heat, that’s something. He beat local boy Seth Moniz, Peru’s Tomas Tudela and Brazil’s Lucas Silveira. In the heat directly after it was a brother-on-brother affair as Pat Gudauskas got the better of kid bro Tanner. Patty needs a result at Haleiwa to keep his qualification dreams alive. Currently sitting 16th on the QS, he has some ground to make up if he wants to give himself a shot at Sunset. Alejo Muniz, who was a Round 2 winner, is in almost the exact same spot. In 2015 Conner Coffin put a dream run together in the first two Triple Crown comps to graduate to the CT. Both Alejo and Pat are smart and seasoned enough to know exactly what they need to do. Now we’ll see if either one can get the job done.
As far as what’s to come, look at Keanu Asing go! Heart over height, right? Ranked sixth on the QS and into Round 3, his years on tour may not be over just yet. He’ll be the inspirational leader for a fired up Hawaiian contingent. Josh Moniz, Imaikalani Devault, Kiron Jabor, Benji Brand and Dusty Payne are all still rolling, as well as A-listers Sebastian Zietz, Zeke Lau and world title frontrunner John John Florence.
Bearded Wade Carmichael’s come close to the big dance in the past, but it’s looking like 2017 might be his year. There are no easy heats at Haleiwa, but in Round 3 he’ll have Moniz, Stu Kennedy and Thiago Camarao, which is winnable. Frenchman Jorgann Couzinet is another who’d love to be the belle of the ball next year. Sitting 12th on the QS, he could come out of nowhere and qualify. He’s got Miguel Pupo, Wiggolly Dantes and Ricardo Christie in his Round 3 heat, another fairly winnable heat.
So maybe the Hawaiian Pro has been more like the U.S. Open so far, the Pacific has a way of making things right. A little swell to get through the money rounds would do this comp a world of good, and hopefully, there will be some careers made (or at least resurrected) soon-ish.