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Yesterday confirmed that 2011 is Ezekiel Lau's coming out year. "Zeke" won his second ASP event in his young career at the HIC Pro presented by Vans. It was also the 17-year-old, Native Hawaiian's third ASP finals appearance this year. He won the Copa Quiksilver El Salvdador in July and finished runner up in the Quiksilver Puerto Escondido Pro two weeks later.
|Ezekiel Lua breaking out in his breakout year.|
"I worked so hard for everything this year and it means something to win at home," said Zeke who is a senior at Kamehameha Schools. Three times a week he wakes up at sunrise and trains for nearly two hours before going to homeroom. His traditional school schedule hinders the frequency of Zeke's surf trips and 2011 is the first year Lau has been able to focus on a qualifying competition.
"This is my first year doing a lot of the qualifying events," said Lau, "I got a lot of opportunities to travel more and I had a good summer.
"I did [the HIC Pro] last year and it was totally different," he said, "I was struggling through the whole event. I just wanted to come over this year and improve on last year. I did that and I'm happy with a win."
Yesterday wasn't any easy victory for Zeke.
It was high performance conditions at Sunset Point yesterday for the HIC Pro presented by Vans. The surf on the North Shore was a dismal, 2-to 4-foot for the final day of competition at the 4-star $85,000 ASP men's event.
Like most finals, the last heat of the day at the HIC Pro presented by Vans was stacked with talent. Zeke beat 15-year-old Ian Gentil, Kauai's Kamalei Alexander and defending HIC Pro Champ Billy Kemper in a set-wave-starved 35-minute final.
Gentil was combed for most of the final and snagged the waves breaking wide to capture second place. Alexander, who rode a magic Channel Islands board that was originally shaped for the late-Andy Irons, was ripping, but had trouble finding high scoring rides and finished in third place. Defending champ Billy Kemper went into the final with the most momentum, yet was relegated to fourth place.
According to Zeke, despite the lack of waves in the last heat, the vibe was mellow.
"It was pretty relaxed and everybody was just happy to be in the final," said Zeke who jumped into an early lead and was forced to play defense for the last half of the final.
|2010 champ, Bill Kemper, had some momentum running but free-fell in the final.|
"I'm psyched right now," said Zeke, right after being chaired up the beach by his best friend Keanu Asing and Kai "Borg" Garcia, "My arms are dead. I had to sit on some guys at the end and I was dyin,g but I tried to fight through it."
With yesterday's win, Zeke secured a berth into the first two events in the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing: the Reef Hawaiian Pro at Halewia and the Vans World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach. With his classic, power surfing foundation and small wave aerial attack, he hasl the necessary set of skills to win one of the 6-star prime events.
"I've been looking forward to this my whole life pretty much," said Zeke, "Watching everyone get out there and get in the Vans Triple Crown, so just to get in it, I feel honored."HIC Pro presented by Vans Results