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|Hawaiians ruled the first day of the Vans World Cup at Sunset Beach. Koa Smith, of Kilauea, knew right where to be.|
Pancho Sullivan put on a clinic of how to properly surf Sunset Beach Tuesday at the Vans World Cup of Surfing. The 39-year-old from the North Shore earned the highest two-wave total of the event thus far, a 15.5 out of possible 20 points. Sunset is Sullivan's homebreak and he is the most-winning surfer there with five professional event victories.
"'I absolutely love this wave. It's got so many looks -- from two-feet to 15-feet it's so much fun," said Sullivan about Sunset. "It's a high performance wave. You can really push your surfing and I try to attack it like you would a small wave even in the bigger eight- to10-foot surf."
It wasn't 10-foot Tuesday, but it was still bombing with four-to six-foot sets at the second jewel of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. Sullivan won his Round of 128 heat with crisp, power surfing and long arcing turns. He said the key to surfing this wave well is all in the bottom turn.
|"It's a high performance wave. You can really push your surfing and I try to attack it like you would a small wave even in the bigger eight- to10-foot surf," said Pancho Sullivan.|
"It's so deep down on the bottom of the wave in the flats," he explained, "so if you can harness that speed and stay low over your board you're really going to be able to generate a lot of speed going into the West Bowl."
There were a lot of waves coming into Sunset with the new north/northwest swell, but the lineup is notoriously tricky. Choosing the rides with high scoring potential is challenging for all competitors. Maui's Billy Kemper, 22, reminded everybody that you really only need two good waves to win a heat.
"I think I only stood up twice in my heat and those were my scores," said Kemper who advanced to the next round with a two-wave total of 11.03. Despite fighting a fever and sore throat Tuesday, his judgment of the good rides wasn't affected by illness.
"I'm pretty sick and I just really wanted to be selective and pick waves that were going to allow me to put scores on the board," said Kemper, "and those waves ended up giving me that opportunity so I was stoked to get through the heat."
Another Hawaiian who was relieved to make it to the next day of competition was Mililani's Kekoa Bacalso. After sitting in third place for most of the heat, the stocky, 27-year-old pulled out a victory with an untraditional approach to Sunset. Bacalso snagged a random left in the final 10 second of the heat and was awarded a 6.33 out of a possible 10 points when he only needed a 2.30.
|Kekoa Bacalso put up some numbers with this right, but actually won his heat on a rare Sunset left.|
"They were counting down with 15 seconds left, there was no right and Roy [Powers] was on the other side of me so I went left," said Bacalso about his last ride Tuesday. " It was such an open left, it let me do two pretty big turns and finish up at Vals. I've seen Andy Irons get 8's going left at Sunset before."
Not feeling the Aloha were former World Tour surfers, Cory Lopez and Dane Reynolds. The current tour heavies won't surf until the Round of 64. With the swell fading, the event may see a down day or two.Vans World Cup of Surfing Results