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Waves give Centeio dominating win in Reef Hawaiian Pro


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POSTED: Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Joel Centeio dominated the Reef Hawaiian Pro yesterday, winning every heat on his way to victory at Alii Beach Park. In 8- to 12-foot wave face heights, the 26-year-old regular foot won the first jewel of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing and $20,000. Centeio's first-place finish at this 6-star prime World Qualifying Series event was a fantasy turned reality.

“;My family, friends and everybody is here and it's a dream come true to win right here at my homebreak,”; said Centeio, who lives across the street from Alii Beach Park.

Centeio played the waiting game in the final, only catching two barreling rides and sitting outside of his fellow competitors. His two-wave total of 14.76 out of a possible 20 points was an indication of Centeio's winning strategy and local knowledge of the break.

“;All day I was just trying to be patient,”; said Centeio. “;There were tough competitors all day, and I knew if I was patient and my positioning was correct I would get the good sets.”;

The set waves came to Centeio all event long because of his patience and sticking to his strategy. His winning ride came in the form of a tubing, 8-foot wave that had the whole beach erupting in cheers. Upon exiting the barrel, he raised his hands in the air in celebration like a boxer after a long fight.

               

     

 

CASH GRAB

       

Joel Centeio earned a pretty good paycheck for winning the Reef Hawaiian Pro yesterday. The top four finishers:

        » 1. Joel Centeio (Hawaii) $20,000

        » 2. C.J. Hobgood (Flordia) $10,000

        » 3. Jay Thompson (Australia) $5,100

        » 4. Alain Riou (Tahiti) $4,900

“;In the final I was going for first place and I wasn't going for anything else,”; said Centeio. “;I was praying for a set. Then that set came. I got that shack, then heard all the friends and family cheering for me. When I came out of that barrel it was the best feeling ever and I had to throw the claim.”;

Centeio sat out the back, 50 yards away from the three other competitors, and was rewarded with the big barreling ride. Tahiti's Alain Riou finished in fourth place and Australia's Jay Thompson claimed third. Former world champ CJ Hobgood from Florida was rewarded with a runner-up finish.

Hobgood tried to rack up his wave count early in the heat, sitting on the inside toward the Toilet Bowl section and catching any wave that rolled by.

“;I sat on the side and banked on a slower heat,”; said Hobgood, who won the 2008 O'Neill World Cup of Surfing. “;I knew my surfing could get me through the heat and it was just a matter of the set from Tibet not coming in. Joel Centeio nailed it and I'm stoked for him.”;

Centeio only did the WQS part-time this year. He admits that his break from tour and working with amateur surfers as the Hurley team manager rejuvenated his career.

“;The new position that Hurley gave me is amazing. I'm helping out the little, amateur kids here in Hawaii,”; said Centeio. “;I've been surfing a lot this year and the kids push me. They go surfing about 10 times a day and I used to only go surfing two times, but now I'm surfing three to four times a day.”;

With this victory Centeio is the overall Vans Triple Crown of Surfing ratings leader, and is a favorite going into the O'Neill World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach. The second jewel of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing holding period starts today, but will likely run tomorrow with an incoming northwest swell.