2005 OP Pro Hawaii Final Day – Panch Sullivan Wins The First Event In The Triple Crown Of Surfing

Look out WCT crew – here comes Pancho!
SURF: 6-8 foot and tempermental
EVENTS HELD: Round 64 to Final
NATURE'S CALL: My house, my rules
PREDICTIONS: Turkey bombs at Pancho's house

Let's get one thing straight: even if you're six-time event winner Sunny Garcia, even if you're three-time world champ Andy Irons, even if you grew up here, were tossed in the lineup before you could walk and eat twenty-foot Second Reef bombs for breakfast, you are not in charge of the ocean.

Case in point: Joel Centeio gets a 9.6 in the opening minutes of his heat and then doesn't catch another wave the whole time. Or Jamie O'Brien, in the quarterfinals super-lull, doesn't catch a single wave. Or Joel Parkinson, same heat, same predicament, until the final two minutes when he grabs two insiders to sneak a win. What kinda fricken' professional sport is this? From twenty minute lulls to six-wave clean-up sets, moody Miss Momma Nature made is all too clear today that 'QS ratings, time limits and subjective judging make no difference to her whatsoever. On the other hand, after eight years of banging his heads against his pro surf dreams, Pancho Sullivan proved today that if you're persistent, if you're patient, if you're powerful, passionate and, ph–k, I ran out of "P" words...The point is, Pancho finally phricken' won, despite the conditions getting all weird on his ass.

But hold on a second, Andy Irons is calling:

PANCHO: What up, AI?
A.I.: Congratulations on your win, bro. Stoked!
PANCHO: Yeah, chalk on up for the fat old man, aye?
A.I.: We're psyched to have you on the 'CT next year?
PANCHO: I'm gonna have to start training right now.
A.I.: Are you kidding, nobody on the 'CT trains anymore. Nobody but Mick and he's...
PANCHO: Hey, I gotta go I'm doing an interview right now.

Either way, Pancho's not going to start training RIGHT now. Right now, having just catapulted from somewhere outside the WCT qualification window (#37) to sitting cozy by the fire (#11), Pancho needs to have a few beers with the boys; needs to go home and snuggle with his wife and daughter - whom he thanks over all his sponsors - and then, after a third helping of turkey with extra gravy (good for throwing spray), he's gonna go apply his power formula to the second leg of the {{{Vans}}} Triple Crown on his home turf at Sunset.

It went like this:

Aside from the murderous lulls, the surf was unexpectedly solid, the Kona winds pleasantly light and rain-forecasted day uncommonly beautiful. And Josh Kerr surfed amazing. Airs, tubes, spins, slides, turns. And then he didn't make his heat. Sorry, Josh. Judging happens. Even worse, they actually used a piece of world champ Sunny Garcia's hip bone to make this year's Op Pro trophy, figuring they'd just be giving it back later on, and even he someone managed not to find the right waves to support his inhuman strength during the Semis. (Guess he and Pancho will have to work that one out later.) Ian Walsh, Phil Macca, Joel Parkinson, Roy Powers, Adrian Buchan...you're all winners in our book (except for, uh, you know, the whole losing thing).

So the final was Brazilian tube-muscle Raoni Montiero, Huntington Beach hoale-boy-makes-good Brett Simpson, world No. 4 need-for-speed Mick Fanning and Pancho Needs-No-More-Goddamn-Intro Sullivan. Except, actually, just cross those first two names off and chuck them back up there with the "you're all winners" guys. Did we see Brett Simpson actually ask Pancho to sign his jersey out there? Didn't he realize there was still 20-minutes left in the heat? Ho boy, stoked to make the final, aye?

Mick Fanning is so fast and limber and in shape, that after he lost his board in the early part of the heat, he managed to swim in and get back out to the lineup before anyone else caught a wave; pretty gnarly mission after surfing four prior heats. He caught more waves in the final than all the other surfers combined. Unfortunately, Mick, that's not part of the judging criteria.

Power, on the other hand, pays. Like, $10K in this case. And more if you're heading the big show. Lots more.

So take your hats off to the 8-year WQS warrior, 12-year Vans Triple Crown veteran, lifetime North Shore power-broker and newly minted WCT pimp-daddy, Pancho Sullivan. He's been cracking the long road for way too long now. The tour deserves him, and he deserves the tour. Just imagine how he's going to fair at J-Bay, Teahupo'o, Cloudbreak and Hossegor. We think he's going to do just fine. So with that all said, let's just roll the sound bite. Pancho, take it away: "I think maybe I took being a pro surfer for granted for a while, got real down on surfing all the bad waves on the 'QS tour. But now I'm trying to fulfill some of those dreams, before I reach the end of my career wondering..."

You know, better yet, could someone just whistle the Axl Rose intro to "Patience" for us. Or, strike that, just crank up "Paradise City." Yeah, that's more like it.

Now, somebody go get Pancho a beer. He earned it.

FINAL RESULTS OF THE OP PRO HAWAII:1st – Pancho Sullivan – $15,000
2nd – Mick Fanning – $8,000
3rd – Raoni Monteiro – $6,000
4th – Brett Simpson – $4,000
=5th– Adrian Buchan & Luke Munro – $3,000
=7th– Sunny Garcia & Joel Parkinson – $2,{{{600}}}