Blanchard, Centeio stay hot at Sunset


POSTED: Saturday, November 28, 2009

Vans Triple Crown of Surfing series leaders Joel Centeio, 26, and Alana Blanchard, 19, advanced to the next round yesterday at Sunset Beach. The opening day of the O'Neill World Cup of Surfing and Gidget Pro was blessed with 8- to 12-foot wave faces.

Although there was plenty of surf, conditions were still challenging at the 6-Star Prime World Qualifying Series event.

“;It's real tricky. It's that mid-range Sunset that's real tough because it's not really at the point,”; said Centeio of the rides being offered yesterday. Despite the perplexing surf, Centeio managed to win his first-round heat and garnered the highest-scoring wave of the event: an 8.5 out of a possible 10.

Earlier this week, Centeio won the Reef Hawaiian Pro at Alii Beach Park that catapulted the Haleiwa local to the Triple Crown series lead. While his confidence is still riding high, Centeio concedes that there is added stress at the O'Neill World Cup with the ratings lead.

“;There's a little bit of pressure because I really want to do it for Hawaii,”; said Centeio. “;At the same time this is a new event, starting from Round 1 and I just want to stay focused, get busy in the heats and I'm really excited.”;

The men of the O'Neill World Cup of Surfing ran the first eight heats of the first round before the women of the Gidget Pro took to Sunset.

Alana Blanchard—who won the Vans Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa last week—was a standout competitor yesterday. The teenager from Kauai is currently ranked 13th on the World Championship Tour, and the Gidget Pro is the penultimate event of the WCT.

Blanchard won her first-round heat and advanced to the quarterfinals with a two-wave total of 9.60 out of a possible 20 points. She waited to the last moment of the 30-minute heat to take first place.

“;I'm really happy that I was lucky enough to get a wave,”; said Blanchard of her final scoring ride. “;So I was stoked to get out of the first heat.”;

The Gidget Pro will most likely conclude today. An incoming northwest swell is expected to roll in later in the day.

Fans can check triplecrownofsurfing.com to find out if the second jewel of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing is on.