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Centeio survives at home break


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POSTED: Thursday, November 19, 2009

When Joel Centeio paddled in from Round 3 at the Reef Hawaiian Pro yesterday he was “;bummed.”; The 23-year-old, Haleiwa resident was chasing a big score in the 4-to-6-foot wave-face heights during the waning moments of his heat in the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing and Alii Beach Park is his home break.

After annihilating a left-breaking wave in the last seconds of competition, Centeio heard the announcers say the unofficial results had placed him fourth. Disheartened and frustrated, he prepared to walk across the street to his house, but a friend had good news.

“;I came in and I was actually pretty bummed out,”; said Centeio. “;I was about to walk home and my friend Marvin said, 'Oh, I was talking to somebody online and they said you got a 6.03.' So, I got the score and won the heat.”;

In one wave, Centeio jumped from fourth to first place, qualifying him for the next round. It was an exhilarating ride on the emotional roller coaster for him, but Centeio was still sympathetic toward his competition.

Centeio's 11.86 overtook Australia's Nathan Hedge (11.83), Brazil's Miguel Pupo (11.70) and Australia's Nic Muscroft (10.03).

“;I was stoked that I found out that I did make it, but I was a little bummed for the kid Miguel because they were interviewing him after the heat and he thought he made it,”; explained Centeio, who eliminated Pupo by knocking him down to third place.

“;And, for him to see the official results a minute later, I know he was pretty disappointed. At the same time, I'm really excited and this is my backyard and I don't want to lose out here.”;

Three years ago, Centeio, originally from Makakilo, moved to Haleiwa across the street from Alii Beach Park, where he resides full-time with his wife and their dogs.

“;I definitely put in a lot of time out here,”; said Centeio. “;I walk across the street from my house to go surf my heats. I was watching (the Reef Hawaiian Pro) on TV and doing little warm-ups at my house. Then I just ran down a few heats before mine. It's definitely exciting to have such a big event right in my backyard.”;

Centeio's proximity to Haleiwa gives him a wealth of local knowledge that he took advantage of during competition. He's comfortable in any size conditions at Alii Beach Park, but is frothing at the prospect of double-overhead sized surf in the forecast.

“;I feel (the contest officials) made a good decision (yesterday). They haven't run for (five days) now and they needed to get a couple of these rounds down,”; he said. “;We're all looking for a pretty good finish to this event. Hopefully, we can get some solid waves for the last two days of the waiting period.”;

A northwest swell is forecast to bring 8-to-12-foot wave-face heights to Haleiwa on Sunday and Monday. These are the last two days of the Reef Hawaiian Pro's holding period and it's setting up to be an epic showdown.

“;I'm excited to be making it when it's small, but I'm really, really excited for when it's big,”; said Centeio. “;I think local knowledge will definitely play a big part when it gets like 6-to-8 feet. Hopefully, we can do some real damage being that we live here in Hawaii.”;