HALEIWA, Oahu/Hawaii (Tuesday, November 29, 2021) – The World Surf League (WSL) Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold Haleiwa Challenger, the final stop of the 2021 Challenger Series, fired back into action with four-to-six foot swell delivering for competitors to put on a showcase of high-performance surfing despite the wind-swept and challenging conditions. Men finalized their stacked Round 3 draw after the conclusion of Round 2 before the women made their brilliant debuts in solid conditions to complete Round 1.
South Africa’s Matthew McGillivray already booked his spot in the Round of 32 when he finished behind Callum Robson (AUS) on Friday. McGillivray will be up in the first heat when competition resumes.
HALEIWA, HAWAII – NOVEMBER 26: Matthew McGillivray of South Africa prior to surfing in Heat 4 of the Round of 64 at the Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold Haleiwa Challenger on November 26, 2021 in Haleiwa, Hawaii. (Photo by Brent Bielmann/World Surf League)
The Men’s Round 2 kicked off in difficult conditions and it all came down to wave selection. Shane Sykes (ZAF) opened the heat to get a 4.50 on the scoreboard and put pressure on the rest of the competitors. The tricky conditions meant Sykes couldn’t find a decent scoring potential and made some priority mistakes. He managed to get a wave right on the buzzer, but it wasn’t enough to overtake Luke Swanson (HAW) and Samuel Pupo (BRA).
A tricky start to the morning provided more drama for the race to men’s CT qualification as tribulation continued for CT qualification hopefuls such as Imaikalani deVault (HAW) who fell to an electric performance from a Brazilian duo, former CT competitors Alex Ribeiro and Wiggolly Dantas. Ribeiro finished with a solid heat win, showcasing his dominant backhand attack to leave Kade Matson (USA) and deVault searching for a score.
However, it was Deivid Silva (BRA), who will return to the CT in 2022, that lit up Haleiwa with his insurmountable backhand attack to garner a 14.20 heat total, helping to eliminate current Challenger Series No. 29 Alejo Muniz (BRA), while No. 15 hopeful Jordan Lawler (AUS) advanced. Silva’s ability to read the conditions and deliver the day’s strongest performance put his fellow competitors on notice that his year is not quite done following his runner-up finish at the Corona Open Mexico CT finale.
“I have great memories here making the Final in 2018, I like these waves and I’m very happy (to make it through),” said Silva. “This event is a smart one for me to come to and get ready for the CT and I’m stoked to be here at Haleiwa and I’m looking for a good result.”
Fellow Brazilians Samuel Pupo, looking to jump into the Top 12 qualification bubble, and former CT competitor Caio Ibelli, both earned vital heat wins to secure their dominance of Round 2.
There’s always a first, as Switzerland’s first wave pool contest gears up!
Sion, Switzerland – This weekend, 4/5 December, we will see the inaugural Alaïa Open Winter Cup wave pool surf event at Alaïa Bay. Yep, Switzerland’s first wave pool contest gears up!
Omicron threatened to steal some of the thunder, but the crew at Alaïa Bay haven’t come this far in their first year to be battered down by a miscreant variant.
Although there are quite a few restrictions and quarantine hassles, some surfers have already figured out a few sneaky passages into Switzerland, and the contest looks like it will be a big one.
To ensure that the Alaïa Open will be the place to be this winter, the organisers have also hired some of the best of Ibiza’s DJ’s for a 5-hour set into the night on Saturday. These DJ’s from Lunarts include the likes of Landikhan, Jo.Ke (live) Raw Main, Manduta (live) and Angie O. Apparently, these guys rule the electronic scene, and if you’re into this kind of music, these guys and gals are the real deal.
Alaïa Bay, perfectly situated for a party
Still, it is a surf event, with $75,000 US as prizes and cash. So there is some real interest in this event. It will be cold, but those guys who have experienced surfing this particular pool have said it’s easily manageable. A good suit and lots of paddling, and all is warm as toast.
A Few Slots Open
It’s pretty late in the day to get to Switzerland by the weekend, especially with the travel restrictions. However, at last count, there were a few slots still open in the event. So if you happen to be in the area or nearby, you could still get a slot and get a few sessions in the pool.
Alaia Bay is a Wavegarden Cove model, but it is perfectly streamlined with a smaller beach area for the best in a high-performance wave pool arena. Less pool area means slightly bigger wave faces, more power and a rather fierce-looking Beast Mode.
A Great Event
“We’re very excited about the upcoming Alaïa Open,” said Alaïa Bay founder Adam Bonvin. The 25-year-old Swiss surfer has been the driving force behind the realisation of the Alaïa Bay facility. This competition will further cement Alaïa Bay as the on-trend wavepool and the place to be. “My wish is for everyone to come to this event and have fun. The surfing will be high performance, and the Surfer Evening will be a great place to listen to some great DJ’s, network and meet like-minded people,” added Bonvin. “Surfers, surf industry members, sponsors and media will all be together, but let’s not forget that this event is all about the surfers. It will be great to have the best Swiss surfers here, and we look forward to watching them surf. We are also very excited to see the international competitors competing at our wavepool.“
Talking of competing at the Alaïa Bay wavepool, It took many talented surfers quite a few sessions and so many wipe-outs to figure out the Beast Mode. However, the advice that seems to come through from everyone who has surfed there – the likes of Zeke Lau, Jeremy Flores and Rob Machado, to name a few – is to point your board forward, towards the ‘beach’ so to speak, and not towards the exit of the tube.
Sounds tricky, but the tube is so round, the wave is not moving that fast, and to stay in the pocket and not pearl, you need to point your shooter more towards the front of the tube. Almost as if you were going to doggy-door the barrel. But you’re not. You’re going to come out in a blast of frozen Swiss winter slush and get the stoke and the rush of surfing just around the corner from some epic pow.
In fact, there’s every chance that, if you were into it, you could do the Californa Double (surf and snowboard on the same day). That would be quite a thing.
Check out the Alaïa Open Facebook Group
To check a bit of Beast Mode, watch the Surfline Webcam.
It’s going to be a big week, people. Living in South Africa in the year 2021 is not for the faint-hearted. So brace yourselves. Here are a few things we can look forward to.
Our water restrictions start today. There will be between 75% and 85% restrictions on the amount of water that can be drawn for domestic use. I’m not sure how it will pan out, but I would assume that we will lose pressure. Apparently, if the water is turned off, there will be a disaster of burst pipes when it gets turned back on, so one would assume we will be dealing with no pressure in the taps. This will be the case until next year April/May, unless we get early rains. Brace yourselves.
Load – shedding
We’re heading for load-shedding this week, and that’s a certainty. There is maintenance being done, there are faults, load shedding is with us for a very long time and most definitely this week. Brace yourselves etc.
No International travel
There will be no fundamental changes to international travel policies this year. Even if the Omicron variant proves to be mild, all of those countries that have locked us out will most likely stick to their guns. Those boisterous politicians and decision-makers would never turn around and admit that they acted hastily or, god forbid, made a mistake. As a result, many of us won’t be seeing loved ones in St Francis this summer, nor will we travel abroad to visit family members.
We can expect endless hours of people voicing an urgent opinion about the vaccination. This incredibly dull topic proves nothing except that feckless people know how to cut and paste articles and use them to counter any argument in the world. Have the vax, don’t have the vax. It’s your life. Thus no one cares. Quiet, please.
Shell can take a hike
But, and it is a big but, we do have these people at Shell who want to wreck our coastline on the wild coast. All while the west coast of South Africa is being ripped apart by an Australian mining company. They are systematically destroying our beaches, wildlife, and fynbos with the stamp of approval of Barbara Creecy, our Minister of Forestry and Fisheries and Environmental Affairs. Nice one, Barbs. So, go and check out the 6 prominent west coast mining threats here
I don’t know where this is going to end. Still, seeing as we’re all stuck in South Africa for the near future, it would be a good idea for us to get together behind a cause. What could be a better cause than to save our Wild Coast coastline and ocean from people like Shell?
No lobbing of grenades, please
There will be a peaceful gathering on Sunday 5 December at Seals. Please watch the press (stfrancistoday.com) for more details. But, let’s just hope those ous don’t arrive and start lobbing stun grenades at our local surfers again, like last time, because that could end badly. Some people have had enough.