The first heat was the indicator, Bethany Hamilton was on fire pulling some giant snaps in both directions and snagging a cover up. She was after the Banzai Sushi award for the best tube ride right off the bat. Moana Jones was kicking her tail right behind the Kauai native. Jones pulled off some great turns to advance!
The second heat went to Lipoa Kahaleuahi from the Big Island who had a strong performance early just missing out in the semi. Anastasia Ashley who has the best record in the competition so far made it through her first heat but was upset in the semi, out scored by the god send Hamilton and Jones who showed true grit all the way to the final. In the second semi Kauai's Briana Cope just missed out taking home the equal third check. The North Shore's Dax McGill was strong, had some great turns but just could not find the better waves but still snuck into the final.
The final was set with Sayuri Hashimoto from Japan making it in style. Hashimoto kept her sights on some good back door waves and was consistent taking a third place over all. McGill struggled to find waves and ended up in fourth behind the surprise Japanese surfer. Jones and Hamilton were killing it. Jones found a good cover up on a left and a decent right . It was Hamilton though that took charge taking lefts and rights and throwing giant turns with conviction.
Hamilton won the event hands down and one armed, armed with more determination than the rest. "It was fun, it wasn't exactly Pipe but better than most spots around the world that I surf", said Bethany after her win. "I usually lose so this was great. In my first heat I got a little barrel and I wasn't even expecting it but I always keep my eye out because you never know out here and I kind of tucked in and I made it out and that was a pleasant surprise."
It has been ten years since Hamilton has one an event but has gotten close several times. This time the 24 year old inspirational surfer was there every day, practicing, ready, and determined to do her best in one of the best waves in the world! Hamilton takes home two thousand dollars for the win and captured the Banzai Sushi award for the best tube ride!
Author: Banzai Betty Depolito