|Pictured: Australian CT hopeful and event threat Liam O’Brien before entering the Haleiwa arena for a vital heat. Credit: © WSL / Brent B.
The Australians held their ground to end the Round of 32 with event threat Kalani Ball relentless in his tear through each additional heat. Ball, along with CT hopeful Samuel Pupo (BRA), powered through to the Quarterfinals after an amazing comeback in 2021 dealing with a serious injury in 2020.
Fellow Aussie and current Challenger Series No. 9 Liam O’Brien put on a dominant showcase to keep his spot secure and move forward in the competition along with Ian Gentil (HAW), who earned runner-up. However, O’Brien’s compatriot and CT hopeful, Jordan Lawler, fell short of advancing.
“I was pretty anxious the last few days with all the lay days and wasn’t sure if it was going to run today or not,” said O’Brien. “Every heat is a hard one moving forward, but I found my rhythm and got a few good ones. Those are tough too when you want guys like Jordy (Lawler) to do well and see it fall apart, so it turns into just focusing on yourself and wanting to perform.”
Also advancing with decisive heat wins were Australia’s Connor O’Leary who continued surging with a brilliant 14.67 heat total and Griffin Colapinto (USA), who secured his spot into the Quarterfinals.
Event organizers will reconvene for a 7:35 a.m. HST call on Sunday as they look toward a possible 8:00 a.m. HST start.