Sunset Beach, HAWAII – (Nov. 6, 2011) — Ezekiel Lau, a 17-year-old high school senior, has won the $85,000 HIC Pro Presented by Vans, held at Sunset Beach today. Lau, who attends Kamehameha School, posted a convincing win over 15-year-old Maui schoolboy Ian Gentil; Kauai’s Kamalei Alexander, 33; and defending HIC Pro champion Billy Kemper (Maui, 21) respectively. Today’s final day of competition was held in consistent 4- to 5-foot surf.
With school now wrapping up, Lau is focused on his opportunity to compete in the prestigious Vans Triple Crown of Surfing that begins next week Saturday, November 12.
Lau maintained the momentum he had built through today’s rounds and kept his rivals on the defensive for the duration of the 35-minute final. Gentil offered up the strongest challenge, posting the highest single wave score of the final for a couple of critical fins-free maneuvers that earned him 6.8 points out of 10. But without a second solid score, he was no match for Lau, whose professional competitive experience eclipsed the 15-year-old. Alexander and Kemper were in a similar position, finding themselves short on back-up scores.
This is Lau’s second ASP victory this year, having taken out the equally rated 4-star Copa Quiksilver El Salvador event back in July.
“This is my first year doing a lot of the WQS events,” said Lau. “I got a lot of opportunities to travel more and I had a good summer. I did this event last year and it was totally different. 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. I’ve been looking forward to this my whole life pretty much, watching everyone get out there and get in the Vans Triple Crown, so just to get in it, I feel honored.”
Maui’s Hank Gaskell, the 2009 HIC Pro champion, lost in the semi-finals today but still amassed sufficient points to win the 2011 ASP Hawaii Regional Champion title. His result earned him $1,000 and a wildcard into the first two events of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing.
“It means a lot to me,” Gaskell said of his ASP Hawaii Championship. “There are so many good surfers in Hawaii. Even though there are only three events, it’s the closest thing we have to a (regional) tour out here. Just to get the seed into the Triple Crown, that’s what I’m most excited for. I’ve surfed against all those (world tour) guys before, it’s always good to surf against the best guys in the world. It’ll push me to do my best, personally. I just hope I can battle them.”
The HIC Pro (Oct. 28-Nov.10) and Vans Triple Crown of Surfing (Nov. 12-Dec. 20) round out the 2011 Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Tour, crowning the regional and world champions respectively. The 2011 ASP tour then commences in Hawaii with events in January and February to close out the Hawaiian winter.
1st: Ezekiel Lau, Honolulu, $12,000 – 12.35 points (6.35, 6.0)
2nd: Ian Gentil, Maui, $6,000 – 10.9 points (6.8, 4.1)
3rd: Kamalei Alexander, $4,000 – 10.2 points (6.1, 4.1)
4th: Billy Kemper, Maui, $3,000 – 9.4 points (5.0, 4.4)
H1: Billy Kemper; Kamalei Alexander; Joel Centeio
H2: Ian Gentil; Ezekiel Lau; Mason Ho; Tyler Newton
H1: Billy Kemper; Joel Centeio; Kahea Hart; Mikey Bruneau
H2: Hank Gaskell; Kamalei Alexander; Albee Layer; Ian Walsh
H3: Tyler Newton; Ian Gentil; Makuakai Rothman; Jamie O’Brien
H4: Mason Ho; Ezekiel Lau; Pancho Sullivan; Michael O’Shaugnessy
ROUND OF 32:
H1: Joel Centeio; Ian Walsh; Alex Smith
H2: Kahea Hart; Kamalei Alexander; Makai McNamara; Flynn Novak
H3: Hank Gaskell; Mikey Bruneau; Kaimana Jaquias; Taylor Thorne
H4: Albee Layer; Billy Kemper; Jesse Merle-Jones; Jonah Morgan
H5: Ian Gentil; Michael O’Shaugnessy; Manuel Selman; Eala Stewart
H6: Tyler Newton; Pancho Sullivan; Christ Foster; Jack Perry
H7: Mason Ho; Makuakai Rothman; TJ Barron; Solomon Ortiz
H8: Ezekiel Lau; Jamie O’Brien; Evan Valiere; Danny Fuller