Stop 1 of the new APP tour has got underway in Hawaii. Perfect conditions fire for the worlds best. Check out the latest video highlights and news below. For more information and to watch the live feed visit the APP website here www.appworldtour.com .
Sunset Beach provides an epic Finals Day for Stop 1 of the APP World Tour as Kai Lenny and Izzi Gomez are crowned Champions
All photos credit: Brian Bielman / www.appworldtour.com
Sunset Beach delivers great conditions for a spectacular finals day that saw dramatic action from start to finish and Champions crowned at Stop #1 of the 2017 APP World Tour.
The day started out with anxiety for organizers as there was only small surf on offer at daybreak, with the next swell scheduled to arrive the following evening, too late for the contest to capitalize on with the closing of the waiting period the 24th.
However, as the sun came up and athletes and organizers ramped up for the start of the quarterfinals, as if by cue, Sunset turned on and delivered what was a magical day of competition, propelling the performance from the last 16 Men and Last 4 Women to a whole new level.
After 4 epic days of competition at this iconic North Shore wave, Maui’s Kai Lenny and Florida’s Izzi Gomez were able to secure victory at the 2017 Sunset Beach Pro and kick of their World Championship Tour season in style.
Kai Lenny reasserts his winning form, making a clear statement to the world at the start of the 2017 APP World Tour Season
While Kai Lenny has 4 Surfing World Titles under his belt as well as 4 Sunset Beach Pro Titles, it has been two years now that Kai hasn’t found his winning edge on the APP World Tour, with the Title going to Caio Vaz from Brazil in both 2015 & 16.
However, as we kicked off the 2017 edition of the Sunset Beach Pro, it was clear that Kai Lenny had well and truly showed up and meant business, building momentum through the rounds on his way to the Final, and with a stunning and crisp display of performance surfing.
While his performances through the rounds were impressive, it was as if he found a whole extra gear in the final, comboing the field within the first 10 minutes and putting on a clinic of next level surfing. WIth a perfect 10 and an 8.5 in his scoreline, he posted not only the highest heat score total, but secured the well deserved victory at home in Sunset Beach.
The message was clear: Kai has been at the forefront of the sport since the beginning, but has once again surged forward, taking all his experience from his pursuits across the complete spectrum of sports he excels in and channeling them into a stunning performance today at Sunset Beach.
Bernd Roediger continues to go from strength to strength and confirms to the World that he is a major contender in 2017
Bernd Roediger has always been exceptionally talented and shown moments of brilliance on Tour, but this year at Sunset Beach he demonstrated a new level of maturity in his approach to competition and was without doubt one of the form surfers at every step of the event and one of the clear favorites for the win.
His wave selection, positioning and fluid, well timed approach earned him high score after high score, propelling him all the way through to the Final 4. However, grace under pressure and hard earned competition savvy saw Bernd pull off the score he needed to move from 4th to 2nd in the dying minutes of the heat.
Giorgio Gomez puts on a clinic of backhand surfing at Sunset Beach to secure an impressive 3rd place finish
Giorgio Gomez has stepped up his game this year and is looking stronger, fitter and more prepared than ever to take on the best of the best on the APP World Tour.
Sunset Beach is a tricky wave to surf on your backhand at the best of times, so to make it all the way through to the final and give the best natural footers in the world a run for their money on their own turf was an impressive achievement by the young Floridian talent.
Like Bernd, Giorgio capitalized on a late flurry of waves in the final to leap frog Mo Freitas to secure 3rd place for the event, and with that, a great start to the 2017 season. There is no doubt that Giorgio’s fast paced critical surfing style will suit the beachbreaks of New York impeccably, so he will be a force to be reckoned with and a real contender as we progress through the 2017 season.
Mo Freitas put on an impressive display at the 2017 Sunset Beach Pro, with full rail, committed turns to secure 4th place overall
Ever since Mo Freitas broke onto the scene at just 16 years old back in 2012 (when he won the Ubatuba Pro in Brazil), he has shown himself to be one of the most progressive, dynamic and competitive surfers on Tour.
Furthermore, born and raised on Oahu’s fabled North Shore, Mo is no stranger to the power and complexities that Sunset Beach serves up on any given day. It was therefore no surprise to see Mo make it to the final 4 and once again make a statement with his unique brand of full rail, powersurfing.
Mo was sitting in 2nd place until the final minutes of the heat, when the same flurry that got Bernd and Giorgio their final scores came through. Unfortunately for Mo, his two competitors got the better of the exchange, with Mo unable to capitalize on his wave, pushing him back to 4th place when the buzzer sounded.
While Mo would have been hoping for an event win, a Top 4 finish to kick off his 2017 season is a great way to start the year and we look forward to seeing a lot more of this young North Shore talent through the year on the APP World Tour.
Izzi Gomez, starts the year off as she means to continue: on top, as she kicks off her campaign for a 4th World Title in 2017
Izzi Gomez (Starboard) continues to hold the reins at the top of the Women’s ratings, a position that she has held now for the past 3 years, and a position that she seems unwilling to relinquish any time soon, despite her competitors best efforts.
While the competition was certainly no walk in the park for Izzi (she had to go through the repechage to make it back into the Main Event and faced formidable competition in the Final), there is no doubt that the young Floridian’s surfing continues to develop at an astonishing rate.
For a first year event for the women out at Sunset Beach in 2017, the APP World Tour was proud to witness its leading ladies not only taking to the water at Sunset, but put on a show to remember, and make a statement as to just how far the women’s side of the sport has come over the past 4 years.
Fiona Wylde is a serious contender on the APP World Tour and will be vying for multiple World Titles in 2017
Fiona Wylde (Starboard) had an incredible year in 2016, winning the Racing World Title and finishing 2nd in the Surfing to position herself as one of the most well rounded athletes in the world.
In 2017, she has started her year off with a bang, as while she wasn’t able to secure victory at the Sunset Beach Pro, she was within inches of it and caught one of the best waves of the event and made a statement with her fearless, but calculated attack in the Sunset line up.
With the Overall World Title now Official in 2017, there is no doubt that Fiona is one of the principal contenders and she will be looking to consolidate on this great start to the year at stop 2 of the APP World Tour on Maui next month (the Maui Pro-Am: 10th – 12th March), an event that she won in 2016.
Shakira Westdorp once agains demonstrates that she is a major contender on the APP World Tour with a 3rd place finish
Clearly revelling at the opportunity to take on the infamous Sunset Beach, Shakira Westdorp (Starboard) approached every heat with maximum power and commitment, making her presence felt throughout the early rounds to propel her into the Finals for the exciting battle that was to take place today at stop #1 of the 2017 APP World Tour.
Once in the Finals, she navigated the tricky line up to find some solid scores, but was unable to match the output of Izzi and Fiona, forcing her to settle for 3rd place overall. However, one thing is for sure – it will not be long before Shakira gets an event win on the APP World Tour and she remains one of the fiercest competitions on Tour and one of the most dangerous draws.
Nicole Pacelli finishes in 4th place at the 2017 Sunset Beach Pro
2013 World Champion Nicole Pacelli was looking dangerous throughout the early rounds of the Sunset Beach Pro this year, clearly revelling at the opportunity to compete out at this iconic North Shore wave that she loves so much and excited to kick off her 2017 season with a strong opening event.
While she was clearly disappointed with her performance on the final day, Nicole once again showed just how talented she is and that she is every bit the Title Contender that she has been since securing her World Title in 2013.
A 4th place finish still allows Nicole the opportunity to build momentum throughout the year and to have a real shot at the 2017 World Title, something that is without doubt a major focus for this Brazilian talent as we kick off the 2017 season.
An epic day of action at the Sunset Beach Pro sees the top seeds rise to the challenge, Finalists decided and a Champion crowned
Blue skies, clean conditions and high performance surfing was the order of the day today on Day 3 of the 2017 Sunset Beach Pro, as we completed the repechages for both Men & Women, as well as Round 3 of the Men, and Semi Finals for the Women.
With the level of performance surfing here on the APP World Tour once again hitting a new high, the World’s best stepped up to the Challenge and proved their worth in the groomed Sunset Beach line up to put on a great show for the assembled spectators onsite and viewers online.
Through the tail end of the repo, it was the Brazilians who made their presence felt, with Lucas Medeiros and Marcio Grillo both charging their way back into the running for Round 3.
4x Sunset Beach Pro Champion Kai Lenny battles it out with childhood friend Kody Kerbox in one of the heats of the day
Kai Lenny is on form in 2017 and looking dangerous. While he didn’t have the biggest scores of the day, his surfing is looking polished and precise, with his Round 3 heat a true testament of this.
However, perhaps the most exciting element of all here on the APP World Tour in 2017 is that the depth of talent rising to the top is so immense, that even with this performance, he advanced in second place behind long time friend and fellow Maui bred athlete, Kody Kerbox. Kody was sitting in 2nd for most of the heat, still in advancing position, but in the closing minutes of the heat was able to turn the tables on Kai with a dynamic and explosive ride that was enough to propel him into 1st place in the heat.
This will no doubt only fuel Kai harder, as win or lose, we can expect a performance to remember from the 4x World Champion once competition resumes.
Other standouts from today’s action included perhaps the form surfer of the event Poenaiki Raioha, but also USA’s Giorgio Gomez
Poenaiki Raioha (F-One) continued his assault on this year’s Sunset Beach Pro today and is looking better than ever, with some of the most powerful and fluid surfing of the event. Having posted the two highest heat score totals in his two performances so far, there is no doubt that Poenaiki is looking like one of the favorites for the event this year, having posted final finishes in the last 2 years and clearly striving for the Title in 2017.
Also showing a marked improvement this season is the young Giorgio Gomez who was looking sharp in both Rounds 1 & 3 and despite an interference that cut his 2nd wave score in half, was still able to ammass enough points on his last wave to advance on into the quarterfinals.
This is clearly just a snapshot of the action from today, as performances from the likes of James Casey, Mo Freitas and Keahi de Aboitiz were also notable and as we ramp up to Finals day, tension is mounting for what could be the most exciting finish yet here on the APP World Tour.
Women’s division once again showcases the impressive level of talent on the APP World Tour and signals an exciting year ahead
It was another crowning achievement for the women’s athletes on Day 3 of the Sunset Beach Pro, as the repechage was completed and semi finals got underway in the beautifully groomed conditions on tap at Sunset Beach.
Stand outs from today’s action were clearly 3x World Champion Izzi Gomez (Starboard) and 2012 World Champion Nicole Pacelli, both who showed that significance of their respective titles with notable performances.
Also stepping up once again and impressing the judges and spectators alike was Shakira Westdorp, who despite being on her backhand at Sunset (traditionally tougher than being on your forehand at this particular break), is looking dangerous every time she hits the water, and clearly has Title hopes in 2017.
13 year old Finn Spencer turns heads at Sunset Beach to win the 2017 Na Kama Kai Youth Challenge in impressive fashion
The Na Kama Kai Challenge has been an incredibly important part of the growth of the World Tour for Stand Up Paddling over the past 7 years, nurturing the youth coming into the sport and echoing the philosophy of the non profit here in Hawaii and its Founder Duane DeSoto.
Beyond the Clinics that have been produced by Na Kama Kai, its volunteers and athletes in all four corners of the World, the Na Kama Kai Challenge provides a platform for young aspiring athletes to step up and be counted.
At just 13 years old, Finn Spencer had already made his mark on this year’s Sunset Beach Pro by securing the last spot from the Trials into the Main event, and taking on full size and challenging Sunset Beach. At his size, the waves he dropped into and how he approached them was nothing short of mindblowing.
The sun shines over Sunset Beach for an epic day of action on Day 2 of the 2017 Sunset Beach Pro, stop 1 of the APP World Tour
After one of the more challenging days filled with heavy cloud cover, rain and challenging conditions on the opening day, the opposite was the case yesterday at the 2017 Sunset Beach Pro,with clear blue skies and groomed, beautiful surf for what was to be an epic day of competition for both Men & Women.
Kicking off with Main Event competition for the Men’s division, we saw dominant performances from the majority of the top seeds, as they stepped up to the occasion and posted solid scores in pumping Sunset Beach conditions.
Standouts through the early heats included Giorgio Gomez, Benoit Carpentier (Starboard) and Bernd Roediger, as all three advanced directly onto Round 3, skipping the repechage format.
Tahiti’s Poenaiki Raioha set the tone for what was an epic day of action, after an incredible duel with Australia’s Keahi de Aboitiz
Poenaiki Raioha (F-One) put on a stunning display of performance surfing yesterday at the iconic Sunset Beach, a performance that exuded a polished, powerful and exceptionally fluid approach to the wave that earned him the equal highest scoring heat total of the day (17.24).
However, what made the heat even more entertaining was the show that Keahi de Aboitiz (JP Australia) put on to battle for the heat win. The duel saw Poenaiki come out on top, but clearly showed that Keahi is back and is a serious threat here on the 2017 APP World Tour.
Both Athletes advanced on directly to Round 3 and will most likely be competing again today at Sunset Beach.
Maui’s Kai Lenny is back and hungry to regain his Title here at the Sunset Beach Pro, looking as dangerous as ever
Kai Lenny took to the water in Heat 10 and did not disappoint. While his heat did not feature the best sets of the day, he put on a solid performance that clearly stated his intentions here at Stop 1 of the 2017 APP World Tour at Sunset.
Kai is becoming one of the expert competitors out at Sunset Beach, after a stunning performance at the WSL shortboard event back in January and with 4x Sunset Beach Pro Titles already secured over the last 7 years.
There is no doubt that Kai will want to regain this honor after it has been in the hands of 2x World Champion from Brazil, Caio Vaz for the last 2 years.
The Women take center stage at Sunset Beach and do not disappoint, with Fiona Wylde putting on a flawless performance
Fiona Wylde (Starboard) from Oregon put on the performance of a lifetime out at Sunset yesterday, equallying Poenaiki Raioha’s (F-One) overall heat total and stunning both judges and audience alike with her wave selection, positioning and surfing.
Picking off one of the most beautiful waves of the day just as it seemed as though conditions might be slowing just a little bit, Fiona drove down the line and complete a series of critical turns to secure the single highest wave score of the event so far (9.57) and equalling the Tahitian’s heat score total of 17.24 – an incredible performance from the young talent and Racing World Champion from Oregon.
Women’s performance level sky rockets with more dominant performances from Nicole Pacelli & Shakira Westdorp
However, Fiona Wylde (Starboard) was not alone in posting a stellar performance in the opening round of women’s competition, as Shakira Westdorp (Starboard) and Nicole Pacelli both put on impressive performances to dominate their first round heats and advance directly onto the 3rd round.
With 2017 being the first year that the Women are given Sunset Beach as an arena for their Opening stop on the APP World Tour, it seems fitting that they should step up so impressively, as we ot only saw these leading 3 women set a new bar of performance surfing, but we also see a host of talent behind them, inclusive of course of 3x World Champion Izzi Gomez, stepping up to be counted here on the APP World Tour.
Caio Vaz shows flare in difficult conditions on Day 1 of the Sunset Beach Pro, to set the tone for the continuation of Rd 1 tomorrow
WIth crazy weather for the opening 4 days of the Sunset Beach Pro, competition finally got underway this morning with the Trials event, that then led into Main Event competition for the Men.
The weather remained challenging to say the least, with a large NW swell in effect with remnants of the past days winds, coupled with thick cloud cover and intermittent rain that made visibility a real challenge. This forced competition to go on hold twice, before finally being called off for the day after heat 2 of the Main Event.
However, the Main Event action, or what there was of it did not disappoint, with Caio Vaz putting on a clinic in Heat number one, followed by the young wildcard from Peru, Sebastian Gomez, who also put on an impressive performance.
In heat #2, it was Riggs Napoleon who shone, along with the highest scoring athlete from the Trials, Alef Araujo from Brazil. We will recommence with action from Round 1 of the Main event at 8am tomorrow morning that will be broadcast live at www.appworldtour.com
Sunset proves challenging on Day 1, as Trials athletes stepped up to do battle as the leading 8 athletes move onto the Main Event
In the Trials, it was exciting to see new and established talent rise to the challenge, with stand out performances from the likes of Alef Araujo, Kainoa Hauanio and Pierre Rollet from France.
A special mention however should be made for the young Finn Spencer, who at 13 years old powered his way through the trials to earn the last spot in the Main event – a phenomenal achievement from someone so young and in conditions that were intimidating to say the least.
There is no doubt that Finn is destined to be a star of the future, so watch this space, and watch him and the rest of the Men’s and Women’s fleets in action again tomorrow (Thursday) live at www.appworldtour.com from 8am HST
About the APP World Tour and the Waterman League Group
The Waterman League Group is an event management and media production company headquartered in Hawaii focused on developing multi-disciplined water sports. The term ‘waterman’ refers to versatile athletes who can engage in various forms of water sports at the highest level.
As founders of the World Championship Tour for Paddlesurfing (also known as Stand- Up Paddling), the Waterman League has been crowning Men’s and Women’s World Champions for both racing and surfing since 2010, with flagship events across the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Middle East, now branded as the APP World Tour.
The APP World Tour produces a complete inventory of programming, including live and post produced broadcasts from all its events, with distribution to over 100 countries worldwide via premier global networks such as CBS Sports and supported by IMG Media.