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Big NNE kicks off holding period this Saturday the 26th

Haleiwa Challenger Returns for Epic Conclusion to 2023 Challenger Series Season

The likes of Multiple World Champs like Carissa Moore and John John Florence will take part…

  • Final Qualification Spots for the 2023 Championship Tour on the Line
  • Sakura Johnson Back Within Striking Distance Of CT Hopes
  • Gentil Looks To Make His Long-Awaited Qualification Dream A Reality
Pictured front page: The lineup during the 2021 Haleiwa Challenger. Credit: © WSL / Heff

HALEIWA, Oahu/Hawaii (Wednesday, November 16, 2022) – The 2022 World Surf League (WSL) Challenger Series (CS) returns to Haleiwa, Oahu, for its 7th and final stop, the Haleiwa Challenger, which holds a competition window November 26 – December 7, 2022.

Some of the world’s best competitors and Championship Tour (CT) qualification hopefuls will converge for one last opportunity to secure their places on the 2023 CT.

Only a handful of spots remain for the men and women, making every heat high stakes.

Haliewa local, Bettylou Sakura Johnson (HAW), got her big win at this very event last season, which secured her first appearance on the CT. Unfortunately, the Mid-Season Cut was not favorable to the Hawaiian, and she spent the rest of the season competing on the Challenger Series to requalify.

Now, Sakura Johnson is once again in striking distance of rejoining the world’s best and is hoping for repeat performance to claim her spot on the 2023 CT.

“The moment to requalify again would mean a lot,” said Sakura Johnson. “This year has just been a big learning experience. Before the Challenger Series (last year) I wasn’t really competing as much. I’ve just put so much hard work and focus into my surfing to really just improve, and progress on it.”

Sakura Johnson’s road to requalification ends at the Haleiwa Challenger along with CT hopefuls looking to make their mark such as former CT competitors Bronte Macaulay (AUS), and Nikki Van Dijk (AUS), along with rising star Alyssa Spencer (USA), long-time qualification threat Teresa Bonvalot (PRT), and many more.

Pictured: Ian Gentil (HAW) during the 2021 Haleiwa Challenger. Credit: ©  WSL /  Bielmann

For the likes of CT hopeful Ian Gentil (HAW), this is the final opportunity to earn a big result and make a long-awaited dream become reality. The Maui, Hawaii, competitor stepped away from professional surfing earlier in his career and now sits at No. 5 on the Challenger Series.

“Points and rankings aside, Haleiwa means a lot to me,” said Genitl. “I’ve been looking forward to this event all year and all things considered, I’m exactly where I want to be. One thing I’ve learned this year is that pressure is a good thing. It helps keep me focused. So I hope I feel a ton of pressure at Haleiwa.”

Gentil will have to deal with the likes of recently confirmed 2023 CT surfers Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) and Ryan Callinan (AUS), as well as a plethora of those looking to make requalification moves of their own, including Hawaiian Ezekiel LauLiam O’ Brien (AUS), and Joao Chianca (BRA).

The Challenger Series athletes will get their taste of competing against the world’s best as reigning event winner and 2x WSL Champion John John Florence (HAW), 5x WSL Champion Carissa Moore (HAW), 2022 Rip Curl WSL Finalists Ethan Ewing (AUS) and Kanoa Igarashi (JPN), 2022 CT Rookie of the Year Gabriela Bryan (HAW), and more are all in attendance to get their time in the jersey.

World Surf League Announces Impact of Global ‘We Are One Ocean’ Initiative 

On Monday November 14, 2022, the WSL and WSL PURE announced the impact of the global We Are One Ocean (WAOO) initiative over the 2022 Championship Tour (CT) Season. Launched in 2021, WAOO is a global initiative of the WSL aimed at inspiring the global surf community to protect and conserve our one ocean and preserve the future of our sport. The focus of WAOO is to protect and conserve surf ecosystems around the world through coastal restoration, climate action, and reducing plastic pollution. To learn more about the impact of WAOO, click the link above.

For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.

Watch LIVE
The Haleiwa Challenger will be streamed LIVE beginning November 26 – December 7. The contest will be broadcasted LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.comWSL’s YouTube channel, and on the free WSL app. Also, check local listings for coverage from the WSL’s broadcast partners.

About the WSL
The World Surf League (WSL) is the global home of competitive surfing, crowning the undisputed World Champions since 1976 and showcasing the world’s best surfers on the world’s best waves. WSL is comprised of the Tours and Competition division, which oversees and operates more than 180 global competitions each year; WSL WaveCo, home of the world’s largest high-performance, human-made wave; and WSL Studios, an independent producer of unscripted and scripted projects.

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