The World’s Best Riders in the World’s Best Conditions
Day 3 of the NoveNove Maui Aloha Classic delivered once again at Ho’okipa. With logo to mast high waves and the WindAlert sensor hovering around 15mph all morning we started with round two of the women’s single elimination. The first heat of the day saw AWT tour director, Sam Bittner, putting aside her organizational duties to take to the water. Joining her was Nishida, Daida Moreno and Vickey Abbot, who advanced out of the first round. True to form, Moreno dominated the heat picking off the largest set waves. Abbot showed her local knowledge with some nice top to bottom riding to advance.
As we moved into the next heat, it was clear the swell was building with regular mast high waves and large walls of white water. Offringa, Ward, Hauser, and Alonso were all putting forth an impressive effort. The winds may have lightened a touch making it challenging to get through the massive swell that was breaking all the way through the channel. Head judge, Duncan Coombs made the call to put the women on hold and switch over to the pro men’s bracket after this heat.
After a transition period to give the men a chance to get their gear sorted, we saw Bernd Roediger and Ferdinando Loffreda putting on a show for the Ho’okipa crowd as the rest of their heat did not make it. Next up we had Miller and Bruch advance, each demonstrating how large the sets were. Boujmaa Guilloul led the next heat linking airs and bottom turns seamlessly in typical hard-charging fashion, followed by Mussolini.
Heat 27 was one to watch with Kai Lenny and Bryan Metcalf-Perez hoping their local knowledge could outdo 2-time world champion Philip Koster. Not to go unnoticed, 14-year-old Jake Schettewi waited for a wave his size to shred and put up a solid, leading Koster at one point. Lenny was the clear standout; after surfing Jaws all morning, he was fully warmed up. Not far behind him was Metcalf-Perez who scored a solid first wave and then impressed the judges with some rail to rail riding, getting underneath the lip. To end the heat Koster and Lenny had back to back bombs that were just massive, but Koster didn’t have enough to advance.
As the next heat shifted into gear, the winds started to shift a bit more to the south making aerials more difficult to land on the wave. Skye and Sanllehy advanced both sailing impressively with some radical slashing. The first round finished with heat 31 which had Victor Fernandez fighting to stay alive in the PWA tour championship hunt. With the swell reaching its peak size Fernandez went on a tear to win the heat. A close battle for second was underway between Faurot and Jaeger Stone. After taking what might have been the biggest beating of the day, Faurot launched onto a good wave at the end of the heat on a new kit, and crushed it to advance.
Right into the second round, the wind stepped down a notch, but the waves continued to produce steady mast high plus bombs leaving the full house on the hill on the edge of their seats. Bernd took first in the heat with full top to bottom shredding and Bruch claimed second to advance with strong rides and off the lip hits. Heat 33 was extended to 25 minutes and called as the last heat of the day at 4:00 PM as the trade winds continued to diminish.
Kai Lenny kicked out of the first wave in the set but quickly tacks onto the next one to get a solid score. Mussolini caught the third set wave and tore it apart. Guilloul and Metcalf-Perez each followed with the massive 4th and 5th waves in the set but couldn’t do anything with them. Kai and Metcalf-Perez each put up another score with smart wave choices as the crowd gasped as the riders tried to make it out over the looming seas. Guilloul hopped on one of the biggest waves of the day and got hammered by the lip after a good first section. Metcalf-Perez followed the same fate. Kai and Mussolini, making the most of their waves, advanced. Guilloul getting knocked out likely makes it tough for him to clinch his AWT title he was aiming for, leaving Pritchard and Camille to do battle.
More swell is in the forecast and the trade winds are expected to kick in again tomorrow for what is sure to be an epic Halloween competition day. Competition conditions like this have not been seen in years and if you can’t make it to Ho’okipa, be sure to follow along with Kai Katchadourian on the live stream at AlohaClassicMaui.com/live.
***RIDER NOTICE: 10:30 AM skippers meeting for all riders.
**Full photo album and video recap posted on our Facebook page.
**Tune into the live stream at AlohaClassicMaui.com
Words by Greg Stiegel/American Windsurfing Tour
Images by Si Crowther/American Windsurfing Tour