Action and Scores from Sunset Beach
Sunset Beach, Hawai’i, Nov. 1, 2005–The 22nd Annual XCEL Pro presented by No Fear concluded today with high performance surf in the 3 to 6 foot range(8′ faces). Out of 132 International competitors only 4 surfed past the semi finals to don the contest jersey in the final. And, in the final it was the 2004 XCEL Pro third place finisher, Ian Walsh who came away with the prestigious win. The final five rounds of the $50,000 Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) 3-star World Qualifying Series (WQS) event was viewed live on www.xcelwetsuits.com. With a one of a kind wireless web water camera, two additional land cameras, interviews with competitors, and an instant replay option www.xcelwetsuits.com brought Sunset’s rolling peaks to your desktop.
The surf today was very challenging because of the 10-25 mph easterly winds, which made the takeoffs more difficult than a quantum physics class. Yet, like true professionals, the contestants were carving Sunset’s faces with surgeon like precision. The high scores were given for a tube or big opening maneuver at the takeoff, followed by a flurry of snaps into Sunset’s inside section.
Surfing well throughout the entire comp was seasoned competitor Rainos Hayes, who clawed his way out of the first round. Throughout the entire comp, the Hawaiian surfer made strong moves, winning all of his heats up to the quarter finals where Kaua’i boy Gavin Gillette and Maui charger Ian Walsh put a stop to Rainos’ run.
Walsh would advance past the semi final, with fellow Mauian Hank Gaskell, after they both beat Gillette and Aussie Matt Thompson with high scoring, long rides into the inside.
In the second semi final, Sunset locals Raymond Reichle and Nathan Carroll met veteran Sunset surfers Pancho Sullivan and Myles Padaca in the most stacked heat of the comp.
When most of the crowd put their money on the three time XCEL Pro champ Sullivan and the former Triple Crown champ Padaca, the young boys from Sunset spoiled the odds. Reichle and Carroll out surfed the two older competitors with lengthy, high performance waves, despite Pancho having the highest two-wave total of the contest, 17.25, in round 4.
Between the semis and finals, the $2,000 Lei Lei’s Longboard Expression Session featured the world’s most progressive longboarders in an exhibition of high-performance longboarding in big surf. Kekoa Uemura, Kai Sallas, Keegan Edwards, Ned Snow, Lance Ho’okano, Dino Miranda, and Bonga Perkins negotiated Sunset’s tricky lineup with their 9 foot plus sticks. Big floaters and off the lips replaced nose rides and helicopters during the Expression Session. And, when the 35 minute heat concluded it was the lone goofy foot, Kekoa Uemura who edged out the competition.
In the all Hawaiian final, it was Maui verses O’ahu. And, it was the Maui Boys, Ian Walsh and Hank Gaskell, who dominated the Sunset locals, Raymond Reichle and Nathan Carroll. Right off the bat, Walsh and Gaskell came out swinging with lengthy rides from Sunset Point into the inside. Reichle and Carroll seemed to be out of rhythm the entire heat, both surfers had a difficult time finding the high scoring rides, while Gaskell and Walsh traded the lead with every tail slide, roundhouse, and snap being thrown down. In the end, it was Walsh (2004 XCEL Pro third place finisher) who would emerge victorious, with a two-wave total of 16.00. Gaskell, who surfed loose and fast in the final, would claim second with 12.9, Reichle in third, and Carroll in fourth.
Ian Walsh – $7,000; 750 points
Hank Gaskell HAW – $3,500; 645 points
Raymond Reichle HAW – $2,500; 548 points
Nathan Carroll HAW – $2,000; 503 points
Lei Lei’s Expression Session Results
Kekoa Uemura – $1,000
Kai Sallas – $500
Ned Snow – $300