Joel Centeio wins Reef Hawaiian Pro at homebreak

By Daniel Ikaika ito

Hale'iwa local Joel Centeio is covered in Bud Light and smells like a frat house the morning after final exams. After being doused in beer and chaired up the beach by Kekoa Bacalso, Roy Powers and Mike Dodd, Centeio is wearing his trademark ear-to ear grin and a damp Hawaiian Flag on his shoulders while he waits for the other finalists to reach the stage.

"My family, friends and everybody is here and it's a dream come true to win right here at my homebreak," said Centeio after winning the Reef Hawaiian Pro at Alii Beach Park yesterday.

Centeio– who lives across the street of Haleiwa– dominated the first jewel of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing presented by Rockstar Energy Drinks. In 8-to 12-foot wave face heights, the 26-year-old, regular foot won every heat from the Round of 132 all the way to the finals.

Centeio played the waiting game in the final, sitting outside of his competition and only catching two waves during the heat. Both waves were barreling rides and his two-wave total of 14.76 out of a possible 20-points was indication of Centeio's winning strategy and local knowledge of the break.

"All day I was just trying to be patient," he said. "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 gameplan. His winning ride came in the form of a pitching, 8-foot wave that had the whole beach going mental. Upon exiting the steep, deep and complete barrel, he raised his hands in the air in celebration like a boxer after a 12-round fight.

"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 'W.' Tahiti's Alain Riou finished in fourth place and Australia's Jay Thompson claimed third. While former world champ, CJ Hobgood from Florida was rewarded with a runner-up finish. Hobgood racked up his wave count early in the heat, sitting on the inside toward the Toilet Bowl section and keeping busy.

"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 was a rejuvenating experience.

"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. He won the Xcel Pro at Sunset Beach in 2008.

The second jewel of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing holding period starts today, but will likely run tomorrow with an incoming northwest swell. Check www.triplecrownofsurfing.com for up to date information.


1st – JOEL CENTEIO (Haleiwa, HI, USA), Heat score: 14.76 (9.33, 5.43) $20,000
2nd – CJ Hobgood (Florida, USA), Heat score: 13.74 (8.07, 5.67) $10,000
3rd – Jay Thompson (Australia), Heat score: 12.17 (7.0, 5.17) $5,100
4th – Alain Riou (French Polynesia), Heat score: 5.27 (4.5, 0.77) $4,900

S1: Joel Centeio (HAW), Jay Thompson (AUS), Damien Hobgood (USA), Kai Otton (AUS)
S2: CJ Hobgood (FL), Alain Riou (PYF), Hank Gaskell (HI), Dion Atkinson (Aus)

Q1: Kai Otton (AUS), Jay Thompson (AUS), Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Sebastien Zietz (HAW)
Q2: Joel Centeio (HAW), Damien Hobgood (USA), Roy Powers (HAW), Joel Parkinson (AUS)
Q3: Hank Gaskell (HAW), Dion Atkinson (AUS), Torrey Meister (HAW), Adrian Buchan (USA)
Q4: Alain Riou (PYF), CJ Hobgoood (AUS), Sunny Garcia (HAW), Nathan Yeomans (USA)

H1: Jay Thompson (AUS), Damien Hobgood (USA), Jarrad Howse (AUS), Lincoln Taylor
H2: Sebastian Zietz (HAW), Roy Powers (HAW), Ben Dunn (AUS), Cory Lopez (USA)
H3: Joel Centeio (HAW), Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Tanner Gudauskas (USA), Leigh Sedley (AUS)
H4: Joel Parkinson (AUS), Kai Otton (AUS), Dean Morrision (AUS), Andre Silva (BRA)
H5: Dion Atkinson (AUS), Alain Riou (PYF), Marco Polo (BRA), Ariz Aranburu (EUK)
H6: Hank Gaskell (HAW), Nathan Yeomans (USA), Hodei Collazo (EUK), Blake Thornton (AUS)
H7: CJ Hobgood (USA), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Tom Whitaker (AUS), Jesse Merle-Jones (HAW)
H8: Sunny Garcia (HAW), Torrey Meister (HAW), Adam Meiling (AUS), Bernardo Miranda (BRA)