Kikas comes out on top at Haleiwa.
Portuguese surfer Frederico Morais will rejoin the world tour next year after winning the QS10,000 Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa yesterday. Already ranked 6th on the QS rankings coming into the event, Morais jumped to the top of the ratings following the win and has put himself in good stead to become the first-ever European to claim the Triple Crown of Surfing.
Following a week punctuated by multiple lay days and authentic Hawaiian-style surf, conditions faltered for the finals as the swell dropped, the direction shifted and the big open faces of previous days turned to racy close-outs. There were still good waves on offer but who they came to became a matter of pot luck, with Frederico falling into favour with Mother Nature at the right time. He only caught three waves in the final, but a 6 on his first ride combined with a 6.77 on his last was enough to see him outpoint his opponents.
Fellow European Leonardo Fioravanti scored the highest ride of the final with a 7.67 but was unable to back it up with anything substantial. Always smiling, he graciously transitioned from competitor to compadre after the hooter as he helped chair Kikas up the beach. He also shot 138 spots up the QS rankings to give himself an outside chance of requalifying with another strong result at Sunset. Considering he’s currently ranked 30th on the CT, and with Adriano De Souza and Mikey Wright both looking like stronger candidates for next year’s injury wildcards, there’s every chance he’ll need it.
South African Matthew McGillivray was the surprise package of the event, taking out the likes of Kelly Slater and Michel Bourez on his way to finishing third in the final. He also leap-frogged up to 6th on the QS rankings and could very well give Jordy Smith some company on the 2020 tour.
Ethan Ewing was the lone Aussie in the final but was unable to continue the stellar form he’d carried throughout rest of the event. Matching his flawless technique and rail-heavy style with the powerful Haleiwa walls, he looked a sure favourite coming into the decider, but a lack of waves and an uncharacteristic mistake early on killed his chances. Still, it was a welcome return to form for the talented youngster, who shot up to 17th on the rankings, which puts him well within striking distance of a return to the tour where he so obviously belongs.
Coming into the last event of the year, Cronulla boy Connor O’Leary is the only Aussie currently positioned inside the qualification cut-off, with Matt Banting, Morgan Cibilic, Ewing, Liam O’Brien, Stuart Kennedy, Jack Robinson and Jacob Wilcox all within reach should they land big results at Sunset.
The waiting period for the Vans World Cup of Surfing at Sunset starts today.