Mark Healey. Photo courtesy XCEL Pro
October 29, 2008: – – Haleiwa — Day 1 of the 2008 Xcel Pro Presented by Honolua provided plenty of action in large but challenging Sunset Beach, as the North Shore’s winter surf season got underway today.
A north swell kicked off the morning, bringing 8′ to 10′ (Hawaiian) faces at Sunset. Slightly disorganized and shifty peaks tested early-round riders looking to advance through into later heats, as conditions showed improvement through the day.
Lacking tradewinds and coupled with relatively high humidity, volcanic smog (or “vog”) from Kilauea – the world’s most active volcano on the neighboring Big Island – settled in at the beach, producing hazy skies that made an atypical Sunset day look all the more challenging.
Local knowledge of Sunset proved invaluable, as North Shore regulars like TJ Barron were able to navigate through and work hard to make waves. Barron, who grew up at Sunset Beach, posted one of the day’s best-scored waves in his first round heat, then came back to win his second round heat a few hours later. Barron will next face 2007 Xcel Pro finalist Makua Rothman in Round 3.
Day 1’s best-scored wave was a 9.25 by Kanoa Chung of Hawaii, who nabbed the high score on one of the few barrels seen today in his Round 2 heat. The ride helped propel Chung through to the Round of 64.
2007 Xcel Pro champion Joel Centeio (Hawaii) advanced through his first and second round heats, after entering the contest as a last-minute alternate, having quickly returned from the Estoril Coast Pro in Portugal. Watch for the defending champion Centeio as he returns in the first heat of the Round of 64 on Day 2.
The winner of the 4-Star 2008 Xcel Pro Presented by Honolua, to be decided on the third and final day of competition, will take home $10,000 and valuable late-year ASP WQS points. Day 1 recap clips, photos, and results are all available at xcelpro.xcelwetsuits.com.
Still to surf are 2007 Xcel Pro finalists Mason Ho, Makua Rothman, and Alex Gray, as well as 2006 Xcel Pro champion Evan Valiere. Day 2 is expected to run tomorrow if the current north swell holds as forecast, and will begin with Round 2 (Round of 96), Heat 11.
Check the Live Action.
About the Xcel Pro
Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, the 2008 Xcel Pro Presented by Honolua is a 4-Star ASP WQS event with a $80,000 purse, drawing pros and amateurs alike to world-class Sunset Beach along the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii.
Honolua Surf Co. is the presenting sponsor of the 2008 event and is joined by associate sponsors Kustom, VonZipper, and Fuel TV. Fuel TV will produce the official Xcel Pro television special airing exclusively on their network. Surfing Live produces this year’s Webcast, streaming live action and results to viewers around the world. Vitamin Water and Surf News Network, Oahu’s local surf forecasting service and the official contest hotline, also support the event.
Founded in 1982, Xcel International, Inc. (Xcel) is a global wetsuit brand distributed throughout the Americas, Europe, Asia, and the Pacific Rim. Headquartered on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii, Xcel’s core wetsuit business focuses on the cutting edge of material and design development. Xcel’s primary markets include surf, dive, wakeboard, paddle, and sun (UV Performance Gear).
In addition to its North Shore office, Xcel has retail stores on Oahu and Maui, and a warehouse/repair facility in California.