|Pictured: North Shore competitor Shion Crawford powered through opening day and is into Round 3 with plenty of momentum. Credit: © WSL / Heff
Ball’s fellow countryman and CT hopeful Callum Robson delivered in his Round 2 debut, as did former CT competitor Jesse Mendes (BRA) who also notched two solid scores with a 15.17 heat total. It was Mendes’ opening performance alongside compatriot Joao Chianca as 2015 event victor Wade Carmichael (AUS) was eliminated.
North Shore’s own Shion Crawford made a forceful statement in his opening day campaign, coming into the event as an alternate, ending with a Round 2 heat win to secure his place into Round 3. Crawford’s power surfing and huge off the tops led to the elimination of 4X Jaws Challenge victor Billy Kemper (HAW) in Round 1 and CT hopeful, 2020 Olympian Lucca Mesinas, in Round 2.
“I did not expect to be in this contest,” said Crawford. “I was way back on the alternate list at the start and thought there’s no way I’m getting in so this all just amazing. It was a slow second heat and just to be in a heat with guys like Jack (Freestone) was great.”
South Africa’s Shane Sykes found his rhythm by starting off brilliantly, garnering a 7.27 and 6.57 on his way to eliminating one of Hawaii’s most beloved surfers Mason Ho, in addition to fellow North Shore competitor Finn McGill.
“It felt nice to finally get a heat win as I haven’t gotten one in all of these Challenger Series events,” said Sykes. “Waves are pumping, boards are feeling really good and once I got out there I knew what I was looking for to get it done. I’ll just stick with my routine that I have going on and I’m stoked to make it through that first heat.”
CT competitor Conner Coffin (USA) led the charge to start Round 2 Heat 1 with a dominant display of his signature forehand power surfing that left his fellow competitors in a battle for second-place that ultimately went to France’s Charly Quivront. Coffin’s fellow CT contender Jack Robinson (AUS) blasted through his first heat in Round 2 Heat 7 alongside West Australia threat Jacob Wilcox, who earned the runner-up spot.
A 7:30 a.m. HST call will determine a possible 8:00 a.m. HST start for either men’s Round 2 or women’s Round 1.
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