He's been a North Shore fixture since he was a true grom, running around and cutting his teeth with the Hawaiian elite. And today, at 25-years-old, Joel Centeio continues to dominate the winter scene on his home turf -- most notably when he won the Xcel Pro last year. In the trying conditions we've come to expect from the vast washing machine that Sunset can often be, the Haleiwa local picked off the wave of the day today, slotted himself like no one else could do and walked away holding the event's highest single scoring wave so far -- a 9.5 in today's Round 3 competition. Centeio joins day one's Local Threat T.J. Barron in today's Round 4 heats as he zero's in on a repeat of last year's success. Here's his take on the day:
SURFING: So, the Xcel Pro has to feel like second nature to you by now, huh?
J.C.: [Laughs] Yeah, I think I've been competing in this event since I was sixteen, which would make this my 8 or 9th Xcel Pro.
Have you been doing a lot of 'QS events this year?
Yeah, I've done quite a bit this year. I mean, I did Trestles, the Maldives and the Europe events. Since we do the European leg, me and all the boys here have to be alternates in this event because we aren't sure if we can make it back in time.
So the Xcel Pro is pretty important to you.
For sure. It's prestigious to me. It basically opens up the winter season here on the North Shore and it sets you up for the Triple Crown. Plus, it means the long season is finally done and I don't have to live out of a suitcase for a while. The 'QS season is a long year and a lot of travel, so it's good to be able to go out and surf an event and then go home afterwards. I'm excited to be back for the winter.
Explain to us your 9.5.
Well, I was just trying to get the right ones out there. That set came in and it looked good. Daniel [Jones] was deeper than me and I thought he was gonna get the wave that I eventually got, but it broke to soon and he didn't want it. So, I just spun around and went. I wasn't looking for the barrel, really -- I just did, like, a little check turn to set up and then was looking to do another turn when it just kind of pitched. I just pulled in, thinking that it was gonna pinch me, since that's what the inside bowl of Sunset is notorious for -- but it held off for me and I came out clean.
Check out Joel and the rest of the local boys take on Sunset when Round 4 resumes at: www.xcelpro.xcelwetsuits.com/2008