For the second year running the NoveNove Maui Aloha Classic has been blessed with exceptional waves as a new swell pulsed through during the night to turn Ho’okipa into an XXL playground — or nightmare depending which side you were on — with solid double mast high walls rolling in.
The start had to be slightly delayed with the whole of the North shore closing out first thing, but once Camille Juban (Quatro / Simmer / MFC) volunteered to be the first guinea pig, Head Judge Duncan Coombs soon made the decision to resume the men’s single elimination, while the women were released for the day.
Given the size of the swell the Ho’okipa rocks didn’t claim as many victims as they were possibly expected to as the world’s best wave sailors tamed the huge swell to deliver a day of epic action — although there were some monster wipeouts along the way — and wave selection was crucial with some set waves being a bumpy, choppy mess ready to air drop you into a pit of doom, while others were butter smooth and opened up to offer the real scoring potential.
Men’s Title Race
Victor Fernandez (Fanatic / NorthSails / MFC / Shamal Sunglasses) is another step closer to being crowned the 2016 Men’s PWA Wave World Champion despite being eliminated in the second round today as Alex Mussolini (RRD / RRD Sails) — who is the only man who can deny Fernandez — was later eliminated in the quarterfinals. In order to deny his fellow countryman, Mussolini has to win the event and it will now take a monumental effort to battle back through the double, although mathematically the title race is still alive.
The opening heat of the day — Heat 11 — produced a blockbuster start to the action as Camille Juban took on Marcilio Browne (Goya Windsurfing /MFC), Jason Polakow (JP / NeilPryde) and Pascal Hardy (Sailworks). Juban stole the show with one of, if not the performance of the day as he continually attacked the lip with critically late turns and massive aerials to deservedly win the heat, while posting the highest scoring heat of the day — 18.5 points. Once back on land Juban added that it was pretty scary out there, but you wouldn’t have known given the way he assigned himself to the task at hand. Meanwhile, Browne secured second place with two 7.12 point waves. Polakow linked together a 7.88 point wave, but was unable to find a backup score as the Australian took an early than anticipated exit given the conditions on offer.
Heat 12 saw reigning two-time Aloha Classic Champion Morgan Noireaux (JP / Hot Sails Maui) in action for the first time and the Hawaiian did enough to advance into the quarterfinals without doing anything exceptional — given the exceptionally high expectations he has set for himself over the last few years. Moritz Mauch (Severne / Severne Sails / MFC) also progressed at the expense of Bryan Metcalf-Perez and Aleix Sanllehy (Tabou / GA Sails).
Graham Ezzy (Tabou / Ezzy) picked up where he left off yesterday to claim a commanding win in Heat 13 as he mixed powerful turns and aerials to post a heat score of 15.88 points. Meanwhile, Alex Mussolini edged out Klaas Voget (Fanatic / NorthSails / MFC) by less than a point to keep the title race alive.
Heat 14 was one of the heats of the day featuring — Kauli Seadi (99NoveNove / Hot Sails Maui / MFC), Robby Naish (Naish / Naish Sails), Kevin Pritchard (Starboard / Ezzy / MFC) and Ross Williams (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic / Shamal Sunglasses). Over the course of the heat, KP staked his claim as a serious contender for the event title as the numbers are slowly whittled down. The 40-year-old was rewarded with 9.25 points for one outstanding wave, consisting of a gouging first turn, before punting a massive aerial off the lip and then finishing it off with a fully engaged rail turn, which deservedly resulted in him winning the heat. However, behind him, there was a colossal battle between Seadi and Williams with the places swinging back-and-forth on several occasions. With two minutes to go it looked as though the Brit had done edged the duel, but Seadi produced a buzzer beater to advance by just 0.14 of a point.
Just like Seadi, Campello produced a buzzer beater in the very next heat — Heat 15 — and will be thankful that Diony Guadagnino (AHD / Loft Sails /MFC) was on hand to sail him a new set of equipment after his board and rig separated upon landing an aerial mid-way through the heat. Campello made an excellent start to the heat with an 8.38 point wave, but left it incredibly late to eventually win the heat ahead of Kai Lenny (Naish / Naish Sails / MFC), who as predicted excelled in the massive swell.
The final heat of the second round saw current world tour leader — Victor Fernandez — eliminated as John Skye won the heat after stomping a critically late aerial to earn 9 points. Meanwhile, Bernd Roediger continued to look dangerous as the 20-year-old qualified for the quarters in second place. 16-year-old Loick Lesauvage (Goya Windsurfing / MFC) also held his own and looks to be one of the brightest talents for the future.
2013 Aloha Classic Champion — Levi Siver (Quatro / Goya Windsurfing / MFC) — continued his march through the single elimination by making it three wins out of three in the heats he has sailed so far. Siver looks to be in top form and will now be one of the favourites heading into the semifinals. Also qualifying from Heat 17 was Robby Swift (JP / NeilPryde / Mystic / SWOX) after the Brit responded immediately to Leon Jamaer’s (JP / NeilPryde) 9 point wave, which consisted of one of the biggest aerials of the day. Swift retaliated with an 8.12 point wave and with Jamaer carrying a 5.75 point wave as his backup swift advanced by 0.8 of a point.
Morgan Noireaux burst into life on his penultimate wave in Heat 18, which proved to be the difference between advancing and not advancing. The 22-year-old hadn’t looked quite in sync with the conditions throughout the day, but finally pulled out a vertical late aerial and a powerfully slashy turn to book his place in the semifinals. Meanwhile, Juban, who had been the standout up to that point narrowly missed out to Browne by just 0.13 of a point.
Ezzy teammates Kevin Pritchard and Graham Ezzy were in a different league in Heat 19 as they continued to rip the conditions apart, while Alex Mussolini and Kauli Seadi appeared to struggle in the tricky conditions. Both Ezzy and Pritchard continued to punt massive aerials, while taking maximum risk which was deservedly rewarded by the judges.
The final heat of the day saw the winds ease back, but as a result, the waves cleaned up and local boys Kai Lenny and Bern Roediger delivered a masterclass at their home break to end the hopes of Campello and Skye. With his final wave, Lenny, recorded the single highest scoring wave of the day — 9.88 points — as he worked a bomb from the outside all the way to the inside with a combination of super fluid turns and a monster aerial and both he and Roediger will be well fancied for the title.
Wipeout of the Day
Throughout the day there were several big takedowns as the Pacific Ocean unleashed its raw power, but Boujmaa Guilloul (Starboard / Severne / Mystic / MFC / Shamal Sunglasses) takes the award for the wipeout of the day after being ejected upside down from his kit after attempting an aerial too late off the lip.
The forecast looks solid again for tomorrow, which should ensure another action packed day and both the men’s and women’s draws are now at the semifinals stage. Skippers’ meeting tomorrow will be held at 10am with the action commencing from 11am (GMT-10) onwards. Make sure you tune into www.pwaworldtour.com to follow all of the epic action as it happens via the PWA live stream.
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