Saturday, November 20, 1999
Kauai surfer Keala Kennelly is wondering when Melanie Redman will strike next.
In the first contest of last year's Van's G-Shock Triple Crown of Surfing, the Aussie surfer snatched a last-second wave to bump Kennelly out of the winner's circle.
In the second contest of this season's Triple Crown, Redman has bounced Kennelly out of first place on the World Qualifying Series tour.
Redman prevailed in the G-Shock Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa's Ali'i Beach yesterday, and in one fell swoop has won her first surf contest in Hawaii, finished atop the WQS for the season, and is the leading candidate to win the women's Triple Crown of Surfing title.
"This is a dream come true," Redman said. "This year had gone really well for me. I haven't been training or surfing any more than usual. Everything is coming together, and I don't know the reason."
Thwarted earlier this season in her quest to win the world title, Redman is excited at the prospect of winning the Triple Crown.
"Everyone respects the Triple Crown more than winning three events anywhere else in the world," she said.
All that stands in her way are the vicious waves at Sunset Beach, site of the women's Triple Crown-ending Roxy Pro, the final event of the Association of Surfing Professionals' World Championship Tour.
"Sunset is the biggest gamble," Redman said. "I have been confident there before, but I have been staying away from it lately. It's a big, windy, powerful wave, and you get hurt a lot out there. It's more pain than pleasure."
It could just as easily have been Haleiwa surfer Megan Abubo standing in the winner's circle yesterday. Abubo had surfed brilliantly throughout the event, but spent much of the final heat taking the biggest waves of the competition on her head.
"I couldn't believe I only needed a score of 1.61 and I couldn't even get it," said Abubo. "I duck-dived through quite a few sets. I got more worked in the finals than anything."
When she finally did latch onto a set wave, the rail of her surfboard gouged the wave and she fell.
With the majority of the waves only a playful 3 to 4 feet, most competitors opted to wait closer to shore and substitute quantity for quality. Unfortunately for them, Redman chose to sit farther outside and latch onto the infrequent bigger sets.
"I didn't get pounded once," said Redman, who caught two excellent set waves early in the heat, then fretted that her competitors were gaining ground on the smaller waves inside.
With 5 minutes left in the heat, Redman sat out the back hoping for one last good score and Abubo searched frantically for even the most humble wave to take the lead. The unsympathetic ocean unleashed a series of booming sets that washed Abubo to shore and sent Redman scrambling to safety, and victory.