Kauai’s Powers shreds forward at Sunset
The 24-year-old Hanalei surfer wins his fourth-round heat at Sunset Beach
Professional surfer Roy Powers has already enjoyed a career-making year this season. And he would like to make it even better by finishing it wearing a crown.
The 24-year-old from Hanalei, Kauai, could do just that, as he won his fourth-round heat yesterday at Sunset Beach during the second day of the O'Neill World Cup of Surfing, the second jewel of the 23rd annual men's Vans Triple Crown of Surfing.
The Triple Crown is a prestigious series of three big-wave events at premier venues on Oahu's North Shore that also represents the final stretch for the surfing season each year. In addition to having winners at each of the contests, the Triple Crown also awards its own championship title to the best overall performer in the series.
Powers made the quarterfinals at the first Triple Crown event -- the Op Pro Hawaii at Haleiwa -- last week. With that result, Powers cemented his spot next year on the elite World Championship Tour, which is reserved for the top 45 surfers in the world.
"Coming into the Triple Crown, I knew I was (virtually guaranteed a spot) on the WCT," Powers said. "So I focused on my next goal: I want to win a Triple Crown title.
"You look at guys from Hawaii like Sunny (Garcia) and Kaipo (Jaquias), and at my age they were already on their way to winning a Triple Crown. I want to at least put myself high up there if I don't win it this year."
Powers totaled 11.30 points (out of 20) for his top two waves to win his heat, the first he surfed in the World Cup because he entered it as the No. 6 surfer on the World Qualifying Series and was seeded directly into the fourth round.
The World Cup is a $125,000, 6-star event that, in addition to being part of the Triple Crown, is the season finale for the WQS. The WQS is the lower-level tour that allows opportunities for its top surfers to earn their way on to the WCT.
The last five heats of the third round and 13 of 16 of the fourth were completed yesterday in waves with faces that ranged from 10 to 18 feet. The World Cup will need two more days of competition by Dec. 6 to finish.
Of the Triple Crown venues, "Sunset is definitely my favorite place I like to surf at," Powers said. "I push just a bit harder here."
Another who does the same is Sunset Beach resident Makua Rothman. The standout when he won all three of his heats and posted the highest overall score of the day in his second-rounder on the World Cup's first day last Friday, Rothman won his fourth-rounder by again posting one of the highest totals (15.76) yesterday.
Other Hawaii surfers to advance included Kainoa McGee, Sean Moody, Nathan Carroll and current world No. 12 Bruce Irons.
Other notables to move on included Adrian Buchan of Australia and former world No. 2 Shane Beschen, who has lived mostly on the North Shore for the last 10 years but is originally from California.
"This is going to be my last year (competing regularly)," Beschen, 33, said. "I just want to have fun. ... I've had a really great career, and this -- I really just wanted the chance to come out here and surf with (practically) no one else out (in the lineup)."
Garcia, the defending Triple Crown champion, and fellow Hawaii surfers Pancho Sullivan (the winner of the first jewel) and current world No. 2 Andy Irons have yet to surf because they were seeded directly into the fifth round.
Conditions permitting, the World Cup continues today.