When the Big Sister of all south swells swept thru the islands last week the Big Money was on whether – or not – the lovely lady would last through the weekend, with Macy's E-Series Event #1 ready to kick off. No worries, beef curry, we went get plenty waves fo' dis contest…and it was a smoker from dawn till dusk.
The biggest shocker was how many of the usual suspects, i.e. past seasons' finalists, went down hard and early. As a favor, and not naming names, you had write it off to exhaustion from surfing their brains out on the two bomb days past, nothing more. But, someone's gotta win, so who pops up but the senior grom of the crew, the coolest, most focused and with his sights set on nothing less than total control of the moment. With an act closer to the moves of Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry film character, Pupukea's Pancho Sullivan drove quietly into town, loaded for whatever came his way – and took 'em all down, it wasn't even close.
At the Final "Panch" pulled off as clean a backhand tube at Kewalo Basin as you're gonna find, tore the lid off the next two sections and there was still spray hanging high when he flew out of the third snap and paddled back. Big caliber, BIG BORE, 9.6 on the score-board. Well, kids, ANYONE feel lucky? Like I said, it wasn't even close.
Of the other three suspects, Hank Gaskell went ballistic on a couple of overhead up-side down snaps for 2nd, Kekoa Bacalso clawed his way into 3rd and Dustin Cuizon cookie-cuttered his way into the 4th podium slot. Those three were like termites on a fresh plywood from the start of the final, but Sullivan just kept his eyes out on the horizon and knew what he wanted, where he wanted it from and HOW to milk that nugget when it lifted up from deep water.
"I saw so much incredible surfing today," he commented on in his after-award speech. "I came in to support Macy's for their many years of giving us guys such a great series to surf here, at home. The high performance you see in the E-Series is from the best of Hawaii's kids and I just wanted to come and challenge MYSELF against them, they're so dynamic."
In the Longboard Final, hah! A replay of all the other replays, Kekoa Uemura just kept Ned Snow (2nd) from getting one foot up on him (no pun intended) and walked (pun intended) his way into first place for the winner's trophy and $. Kai Sallas was 3rd with Scott Fong Jr. 4th . – Bernie Baker