2005 Xcel Pro At Sunset Beach, Hawaii: Day 2

Rumors of Jamie O’Brien sitting out this North Shore season due to injury have obviously been greatly exaggerated.
The 22nd Annual XCEL Pro presented by No Fear wraped up day 2 of the 3 day event with surf in the solid 6 foot range and occasional 8 foot barreling bombs. Although the morning was rainy, the light off shore winds groomed the overhead sets to near perfection, and the skies cleared in the afternoon for a classic sunny Hawaiian day. The wind factor and big surf forced competitors to bust out their mini guns to paddle into the big ones. The $50,000 Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) 3-star World Qualifying Series (WQS) event wrapped up rounds 2 and most of round 3. All of the action was webcasted live on www.XcelWetsuits.com. Surfinglive used its one of a kind wireless web water camera to bring the action up close and personal. Two additional land cameras captured various angles at Sunset Beach, interviews with competitors and the local crew, and an instant replay option brought web surfers to a big high performance international Hawaiian surf contest as if you were sitting in the sand.

Today the higher seeded surfers met those competitors who battled through the early rounds, like Rainos Hayes, who has been on a tear throughout the early rounds of The 22 nd Annual XCEL Pro. The Billabong coach showed his team riders how it’s done by winning his round 3 heat with a two wave total of 8.60. Advancing with Hayes out of heat 1 of round 3 was the U.S. mainland’s Nick Argyropoulo.

It was a nail biter in heat 4 of round 3 when Maui’s Ian Walsh, the North Shore’s Makua Rothman, and Australian Josh Dowthwaite battled for first and second place. When the horn blew to end the heat it was the Hawaiians who were tied for first with a 14.95 total, and the Aussie narrowly defeated by .55 of a point.

Hawaiian young guns, Hank Gaskell and Chaz Chidester matured a bit by advancing past Down Under’s Damon Harvey and O’ahu’s Kawika Stillwell in heat 7 of round 3.

The highest two wave score of round 3 and the entire contest belongs to the current king of Sunset, Pancho Sullivan . The 3 time XCEL Pro champ power carved his way to a 16.5 total in heat 10 of round 3. After being eliminated early on last year, Sullivan is looking to re-establish his reputation as a fierce Sunset competitior.

On the international side of the comp, the visiting Japanese squad put up big numbers in their heats. Norimasa Ohno dominated his fellow competitors with the only double digit total, 12.25, of heat 5 round 3. Ohno’s compatriot, Shinpei Horuguchi owned Reunion Islander Jeremy Flores and Aussie Steve Powell in heat 2 of round 3 to advance to the fourth round. Also advancing into round 4 was Japan’s Mineto Ushikoshi, who made a last minute kamakazi charge in heat 14. Ushikoshi and Hawaiian Tory Meister took out Jason Magallanes and Jordy Smith.

The XCEL Pro serves as a prime opportunity for surfing’s best amateurs and aspiring pros to showcase their talent and follow in the foot steps of XCEL Pro past winners world champions Derek Ho, Sunny Garcia and three-time world champion Andy Irons plus Bruce Irons, Pancho Sullivan, and the 2004 XCEL Pro champion Fred Patacchia. With valuable ASP ratings points for world tour qualification at stake and a steadily rising level of competition each year, the 2005 XCEL Pro presented by No Fear promises to be one of the most exciting events of the season.

Raymond Reichel rips the top off a Sunset grinder on Day 2
With the final day remaining to be run the $2,000 Lei Lei’s Longboard Expression Session will feature the world’s most progressive longboarders in an exhibition of high-performance longboarding in big surf. Some of the world’s top longboarders will perform radical, hybrid maneuvers through Sunset’s critical and often unforgiving sections. The heat before the finals will feature Keegan Edwards, Kekoa Uemura, Ned Snow (2004 winner), Duane Desoto, Lance Hookano, Joel Tudor, Bonga Perkins and Dino Miranda

Surfing Magazine is the official magazine for the 2005 event, and {{{Fox}}}’s Fuel TV will be airing the event with national and international distribution.

Check for final day status and more information on www.XcelWetsuits.com