After having to settle for 3rd place overall in 2012, and narrowly losing to Bonga Perkins in the Finals of the 2012 Sunset Beach Pro, the young Kai Lenny (Naish) from Maui, Hawaii was a man on a mission this year at Sunset Beach, putting together a string of standout performances through the heats to make it all the way to the Final.
In the Final, he was not going to make the same mistake twice, as he notched up an impressive heat total with critical and high risk turns completed with skill and flair, impressing the judges and crowds alike and earning him the first notch on his belt towards the 2013 World Title. Kai Lenny is your 2013 Sunset Beach Pro Champion.
Robin Johnston takes advantage of his local knowledge
Robin Johnston (Mistral) from Oahu takes advantage of his local knowledge at Sunset Beach to make it to his second Final at this event (2011 was his last), as he battled it out to the bitter end in the heat to secure his well deserved finish behind Kai Lenny (Naish). In his early forties, Robin is still absolutely one of the dominant forces on Tour, as he holds his own in the face of the surgence of youth talent coming through the sport, and continues to develop progressive Stand Up Paddlesurfing boards in conjunction with his sponsor Mistral. Second place at Sunset is a great start to the year for Robin.
Kody Kerbox has the event of his career, finishing in 3rd
Kody Kerbox (Naish) from Maui, Hawaii put on the performance of his life in the 2013 Sunset Beach Pro, taking out some of the sport's biggest names on his way to the Final and putting on a display of critical and high performance surfing to secure a very worthy 3rd place. Kody was attacking the lip vertically, like Kai Lenny (Naish), pulling off high risk turns with ease and making his statement on the 2013 season. There is no doubt that we will see a great deal more of Kody Kerbox in 2013, as proud father and surfing great Buzzy Kerbox watches on.
Poenaiki Raioha reaches another Finals on the World Tour
The young Tahitian phenom Poenaiki Raioha (Naish) continues to turn heads on the Stand Up World Tour at just 16 years old, not only winning the Na Kama Kai Youth Challenge at Turtle Bay, but reaching the Finals of the Sunset Beach Pro amidst the toughest competition yet. Following on from his finals berth in the 2012 Sapinus Pro where he finished 2nd, Poenaiki is destined for great things and is already achieving unprecedented results on the Stand Up World Tour. Tahiti has a new Champion that can carry on the torch for the small island nation that legends such as Arsene Harehoe (Rogue) and Guillaume Bourliguex have been carrying so well for so long.
Exceptional performances across the board at Sunset
Not only did the 2013 Sunset Beach Pro see spectacular conditions, with the large swell through the first 2 days and then the high performance conditions in play for the last day, but it also saw unprecedented performances from all our international athletes.
Amongst those not making the Final, but standing out throughout the event were: the Vaz brothers (Art in Surf) from Brazil, Matt Becker from Santa Barbara, Mo Freitas (Focus/Body Glove) from Haleiwa, Beau Nixon (Naish) from Australia and local standouts Ikaika Kalama (Rogue) and Trials athlete Kekoa Auwae. It was also good to see the powerful Basque athlete Peyo Lizarazu back in action at Sunset Beach, not to mention a stand out performance through the first 2 days by Kala Alexander.
We can't mention everyone, but the performance level out at Sunset Beach this year was astounding, as the development of the sport continues to sky rocket and the wealth of new talent coming on Tour reaches a whole new level. We are excited about what we have in store for the 2013 season as Sunset Beach has once again set a high bar and kicked off the year in dramatic style.
Heat Scores, draws and highlights are online and available
Heat draws and detailed scores are available online as well as live broadcast and heat replays. Highlights from the final day of competition will also go live here in the next few hours, so stay tuned to sunsetbeachpro.standupworldtour.com. In the meantime, we would like to say a big Mahalo to our Event sponsors for making this event happen, to all our crew, media and judges and to all our athletes who put on a show to remember in the epic Sunset Beach conditions. We look forward to seeing you all at the next World Tour stop coming up soon in Brazil: the Ubatuba Pro Grand Slam.