Sea Of Emotion At HIC Pro Sunset Beach

Rainos Hayes, close friend of Irons, competed today amid a sea of emotion. Photo courtesy HIC/Bernie Baker

Rainos Hayes, close friend of Irons, competed today amid a sea of emotion. Photo courtesy HIC/Bernie Baker

Haleiwa, HAWAII – (November 3, 2010) — It was a somber day at Sunset Beach, Hawaii today, where gray skies and high, stormy waves matched the mood of professional surfers who turned out to compete in the first day of the HIC Pro, presented by Vans. One day after the shock news of three-time world champion Andy Irons’ passing, surfers from around the state and around the world found comfort in the company of friends as stories and memories of Andy filled the salt-laden air. Waves of up to 20 feet rolled through Sunset Beach and personal tributes were shared among the 112 competitors, most of whom are from around the Hawaiian Islands and knew Irons well.

The day began with a Hawaiian ceremony for Irons conducted by kahu Butch Helemano. From 17-year-old rookie professional Keanu Asing, to seasoned competitor and mentor to the surf stars, Rainos Hayes, 41, there wasn’t a surfer on the beach today who didn’t find solace in being at one of Andy’s favorite places to compete. Some paddled out wearing flower lei, others greeted old friends with a strengthened embrace. It all amounted to a special day shared around the world via the live webcast and state-wide live television broadcast of the event.

“Everyone’s hearts are weighing heavy,” said Rainos Hayes, who traveled extensively with Irons throughout his career and manages the Billabong surf team. “I paddled out this-morning with a lei to put in the water and it hit home again. It makes you want to do it for him and be the animal that he was in the water. But at the same time, you know that there’s a piece of surfing that’s not replaceable. There’s only one Andy Irons, and he was it.”

Head Judge Jack Shipley has watched Irons rise through the ranks from the age of five in ‘menehune’ (little people) contests and has judged his rides around the world.

“It’s been an honor knowing him and it’s been a really sweet thing watching him all these years in the water,” said Shipley. “Everything he did was top notch.

“Kelly (Slater) and Andy pushed each other to the max and for us as judges and spectators, when you see professional athletes that are completely challenged by each other and they’ve stretched their limits for our joy and for surfing, it’s a wonderful thing.”

Competition presented an opportunity to get together more than the chance to get a step up on the opposition today, and while the results from this event carry major bearing on the rest of the Hawaiian winter surf season, they seemed to transpire as if an afterthought.

An $85,000 4-star rated Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) event, the HIC Pro, presented by Vans, this three-day event is the final stop on the ASP Hawaii regional tour and presents the last opportunity for local surfers to qualify to compete against the world’s highest rated surfers at the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing – November 12 through December 20. The event is broadcast live on television around Hawaii on Oceanic Time Warner Cable channels 250 & HD 1250.

Round of 112:

Surfers are from Hawaii unless noted otherwise
Surfers shown in order of placing, 1st through 4th.

H1: Elliott Gruver; Koa Rothman; Austin Vicente; Allen Sarlo (USA)
H2: Dennis Walsh; Ezekiel Lau; Shaun Walsh; Matty Costa
H3: Perth Standlick (Aus); Matthew Taylor (USA); Kalani David; Christian Rendongo
H4: Michael O’Shaughnessy; Isaac Stant; Gavin Klein; Dennis Tihara (Brz)
H5: Jeremy Doudt; Chris Owens; Roque Calderon (NIC); Charlie Herr
H6: Conner Coffin (USA); Colton Sarlo (USA); Rainos Hayes; Thomas Spear
H7: Keala Naihe; Vaj Lederer; Jesse Guglielmana; Mike Rummler
H8: Nathan Carvalho (USA); Kylen Yamakawa; Peyton Chidester; CJ Owens

Round of 96:

H1: Levi Gonzales; Kaupena Miranda; Charlie Carroll; Elliott Gruver
H2: Matt Mohagen (USA); Drew Pringle; Koa Rothman; Keetin Devine
H3: Nainoa Surratt; Keoni Nozaki; Dennis Walsh; Brian Colitti
H4: Ezekiel Lau; Kaimana Jaquias; Daniel Jones; Eli Olsen
H5: Albee Layer; Perth Standlick (Aus); James Woods; Nelson Sadoy
H6: Kalani Chapman; Evan Valiere; Rico Jiminez; Stephen Koehne
H7: Michael Shaughnessy; Kaipo Jaquias; David Giddings; Kalani Robb
H8: Marcus Hickman; Keli Everett; Isaac Stant; Koalauka Ramos-Saunders
H9: Chris Foster; Keanu Asing; Jeremy Doudt; Tamayo Perry
Heat 10, the final heat of the day, pending at time of publication