|Event Wildcards and Injury Replacements Pose Threat
The event wildcards have been announced and each will go to Hawaiian surfers. Oahu’s Zoe McDougall (HAW) and Keanu Asing (HAW), along with Maui’s Kai Lenny (HAW), will enter the event with a wealth of knowledge garnered from the lineup at Sunset.
McDougall, the highest-ranked Challenger Series surfer from the Hawaii/Tahiti Nui region, will enter her third CT, hoping to progress further than her Round of 16 finish in 2023. The 24-year-old will undoubtedly draw on the competitive experience gained during her 2017 Sunset Pro Junior win. It will be the second CT for Lenny, the all-around waterman internationally renowned for his big-wave abilities while Asing returns as a former Tour stalwart with a CT event win under his belt.
Additionally, North Shore’s Brodi Sale (HAW) will take the place of João Chianca (BRA) while the 2023 World No. 4 continues to recover from injury. Though it will be Sale’s very first CT event, it will not be the 2020 Sunset Pro Junior champion’s first time in the jersey at Sunset Beach. Asing and Sale both receive their wildcards through their Challenger Series rankings as representatives of the Hawaii/Tahiti Nui region.
As a result of Filipe Toledo (BRA) taking time away from the 2024 season and Carissa Moore (HAW) stepping away from competitive surfing, Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR) and Sophie McCulloch (AUS) have the opportunity to surf in each of the remaining events before the Mid-Season Cut.
Boukhiam can draw from his extensive competitive history at Sunset as he continues his rhythm from the Lexus Pipe Pro, while McCulloch’s season will begin at the Hurley Pro Sunset Beach. It will be McCulloch’s first event at Sunset after she withdrew in 2023 due to injury, but the Australian has proven herself as one to watch on the North Shore thanks to an impressive victory at the 2022 Haleiwa Challenger.
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