“All these guys are insane,” Van Zyl commented of his fellow finalists. “Obviously Zeke, he’s won this event before, he’s so powerful and he knows this wave really well. Jack Robbo, he’s a master out here, he’s so good. He’s not Hawaiian but he pretty much is, he just rips this wave. And Barron is probably top 3, 4 guys out there, he’s really good and rides small boards. So coming into that Final I was just so happy to have made it and it’s just really special.”
Van Zyl is staying on the North Shore for two months with friend and countryman Benji Brand (HAW), who earned the event’s first perfect 10-point ride, and is looking to gain experience at Pipeline, Sunset and Haleiwa.
Runner-up Lau had a marathon five-heat day but stayed composed and strong all the way through the Final. With multiple wins at Sunset Beach – in 2018 and 2013 at the Vans World Cup, 2011 at the Vans Pro and 2013 at the Pro Junior – Lau was the man to beat.
“I was finding comfort in that I’ve been here more times than these guys and I feel comfortable,” said Lau. “I’m ready, this isn’t anything new to me, I surfed five heats today and a warm-up surf in the morning. I knew what it took and I paced myself through the whole day, from the first heat all the way to the last heat, so for me to be in the last heat in the Final on the last day, I’m stoked.”