Massive Sunset Beach Greets The Xcel Pro Day 2
Huge, challenging Sunset and a sharp, focused Pancho Sullivan were the standouts today as the 2009 Xcel Pro Presented by Honolua completed another day of competition through the quarterfinals.
Sunset began the day at 15’+ with the occasional 18′ set, as strong currents challenged competitors in the earlier heats, with takeoff primarily from the west bowl.
Four-time Xcel Pro champion Pancho Sullivan came out firing from the very first wave of his Round 3 heat. Riding against 3X world champion Andy Irons, ’07 Xcel Pro champion Joel Centeio, and Maui’s Luke Walsh in Round 3, Sullivan found a picture-perfect line into a barrel and racked up a 9.80 just minutes into the heat.
The high-scoring wave would prove to be insurmountable as Irons and Walsh were eliminated, with Centeio advancing thanks to his own 9.33.
Centeio was later eliminated in the quarterfinals, falling just shy to Waianae’s Charlie Carroll and Sunset local Myles Padaca.
Asked what he did to prepare for the Xcel Pro this year, Sullivan talked about his focus on performance during the tough heat. “For the last month I’ve been training a lot and focusing on surfing at the highest level that I’m capable of, on a consistent basis.”
“Sunset’s probably the most challenging wave I’ve ever surfed,” Sullivan continued. “It forces you to take risks, a really high performance wave. Surfing here is a pretty spectacular feeling.”
After scoring high early in another strong surf advancing him through the quarters, Sullivan will meet Carroll, Padaca, and lone goofy-footer Sean Moody in the first semi-final heat. An all-Hawaiian semi-finals is rounded out by the second heat of Danny Fuller, Shane Beschen, Hank Gaskell, and Daniel Jones.
Today’s delayed start means that the ’09 Xcel Pro champion will likely be crowned tomorrow (Monday, November 2), with two semi-final heats still to run, building up to the 4-man, 30-minute final. Conditions are expected to drop slightly for Monday morning but should remain contestable should forecasts hold.
This year’s winner receives $5,000, 500 ASP WQS points, and a Tahiti trip with entry into the 2010 VonZipper Teahupoâ€™o Trials – an opportunity to earn a wild card spot at the WCT Billabong Pro Tahiti.
Heat results, photos, and daily video recap are all available at the official event Web site at xcelpro.xcelwetsuits.com.
Official Xcel Pro merchandise is available exclusively online via presenting sponsor Honolua’s Web shop at store.honoluasurf.com.
About the Xcel Pro
Celebrating its 26th anniversary this year, the 2009 Xcel Pro Presented by Honolua is a 2-Star ASP WQS event with a $25,000 purse, drawing pros and amateurs alike to world-class Sunset Beach along Oahu’s North Shore.
Honolua Surf Co. is the presenting sponsor of the event and is joined by associate sponsors VonZipper, Kustom, and Surfline. Surf News Network also supports the event as the official contest hotline (808-596-7873).
For more, please visit the contest Web site at xcelpro.xcelwetsuits.com.
Xcel Pro Past Champions
1984 Kerry Terukina
1985 Denton Miyamura
1986 Hans Hedemann
1987 Ronnie Burns
1988 Michael Ho
1989 Richard Schmidt
1990 Michael Ho
1991 Michael Ho
1992 Sunny Garcia
1993 Kaipo Jaquias
1994 Derek Ho
1995 Kaipo Jaquias
1996 Michael Ho
1997 Andy Irons
1998 Pancho Sullivan
1999 Bruce Irons
2000 Pancho Sullivan
2001 Gavin Beschen
2002 Fred Pattachia
2003 Pancho Sullivan
2004 Fred Pattachia
2005 Ian Walsh
2006 Evan Valiere
2007 Joel Centeio
2008 Pancho Sullivan