This is a 4 day event. It was this time last year, at the HIC Pro surfing tournament at Sunset Beach, that Honolulu high school senior Ezekiel Lau (Honolulu) captured a win that earned him a wildcard into the prestigious Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. Since then, Lau has turned 18, graduated from Kamehameha Schools, finished second in the ASP World Junior Championships last month, and is now preparing for a full-blown assault of the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) world tour in 2013.As defending champion of the 4-star rated, $95,000 HIC Pro, presented by Vans, Lau is looking to put the mental, physical, and competitive growth he has gained over the past 12 months to work.
The HIC Pro holding period officially started on Monday, October 29, and will run on the best four days of surf through November 10. The HIC Pro offers critical points for surfers looking to elevate their international ranking, and is a local qualifier for the $1million Vans Triple Crown that will commence November 12.
"The HIC Pro helped jump start my career," said Lau of his 2011 win. "This is where I get to dust off my big boards, see what works and get ready for the Triple Crown events. I got a start in both Haleiwa and Sunset last year after winning the HIC wildcard. I got to surf against a lot of guys I look up to, so to experience that was great.
"The HIC supports all the guys here at home that can't travel so much, or are just getting started like I was.
"I grew up surfing the North Shore, so I'm pretty comfortable surfing out here. Not saying that I'm a crazy daredevil in huge surf, but I feel comfortable enough to go out there no matter what the size is.
"I'm not approaching (the HIC Pro) as defending champion. It's a brand new year, so it's time to start all fresh and do it all over again. But I'm comfortable at home, I'm feeling relaxed, and I'll just do what I have to do.
"I plan on going full time on the world tour next year with the goal to qualify (for the elite tour).
"I feel like I've grown a little more in my competition mind, in my body. I'm a little more confident so hopefully I won't be too nervous or excited when I get those big names in my heats. I'm full time surfing after graduating earlier this year and it feels great to focus on what I love to do."
With the second major batch of winter swell filling in today and persisting through the weekend, there is a high likelihood that the HIC Pro will get underway first thing Monday morning. Another swell is expected on its heels later next week.