NoveNove Maui Aloha Classic
The forecast for the opening day of the NoveNove Maui Aloha Classic promised massive waves and it certainly didn’t disappoint as the biggest waves in almost a decade, during a PWA event, hit the Hawaiian shores of Ho’okipa to produce an epic start to the event.
With double mast high sets rolling into Ho’okipa it was somewhat of a lottery making it out the back with the waves frequently closing out from pavilions down to lanes. Some of the sailors were lucky and found a clean path through, but others weren’t so fortunate and suffered the full wrath of the Pacific Ocean, promptly followed by the rocks, which claimed various pieces of equipment over the course of the day. Today really wasn’t a day for the faint hearted.
The opening couple of heats in the single elimination were testament to just how tough and tricky the conditions were. In the opening heat Kai Katchadourian (Simmer) used his additional local knowledge to stay out of trouble, whilst accumulating a couple of solid scores to safely advance with Rudy Castorina, but Markus Rydberg (Simmer) was one of the unlucky ones who couldn’t find away through the over mast high whitewater.
Meanwhile, Heat 2 saw Keith Teboul (Quatro / Goya Windsurfing / MFC) advance as the winner despite missing most of the heat after being wiped out by an oncoming set, which resulted in a trip over the rocks. The American linked together a perfectly timed opening wave to progress with Ferdinando Loffreda (MauiSails).
Josh Stone (Goya Windsurfing) produced the wave of the day in Heat 3 to safely book his place in the second round. Stone showed his brilliant timing to unleash two stylish aerials, which put him firmly in control of the heat. John Skye (RRD / RRD / MFC) endured a horrid time for much of heat three after being annihilated by the lip by an incoming wave and being washed over the falls, but the Brit kept his cool to secure second place in the dying moments as he landed a big aerial out into the flats to deny Noguchi (Starboard / Severne) a place in the second round.
Kai Lenny (Naish) made things look comparatively easy in heat five as he dominated proceedings to book his place in round two. In the end — Marc Paré (99NoveNove / Simmer / Maui Ultra Fins) — won his baptism of fire (sailing Ho’okipa for the first time in his life) to claim second place and also advance from Heat 4.
In Heat 5 Robby Naish (Naish) used his extensive local knowledge and years of experience to full effect as the king produced a seemingly effortless display to advance alongside Florian Jung (RRD / Gun Sails / Maui Ultra Fins).
Aleix Sanllehy (Tabou / GA Sails) made a storming start to Heat 6 as he pulled off a critically late aerial to set the heat on its way. For a long time it looked as though Sanllehy was going to win the heat with Kauli Seadi (99NoveNove / Hot Sails Maui / MFC) being powerless for much of the heat due to being stuck on the inside. However, the former 3-time world champion found the wave he required with a few minutes to spare as he linked two rail-to-rail top and bottom turns with an aerial from under the lip to book his place in round two together with Sanllehy.
2013 Maui Aloha Classic Champion — Levi Siver (Quatro / Goya Windsurfing / MFC) — proved his title credentials in his opening appearance of this year’s contest as he blew away the rest of the competition. Siver racked up two waves in the excellent range in quick succession as he combined vert snaps with perfectly timed aerials to accumulate the highest score of the day. Also joining Siver in the next round from Heat 7 was Diony Guadagnino (Hot Sails Maui / MFC) with the Venezuelan narrowly edging out Jules Denel (JP / NeilPryde).
The final heat of the opening round saw Bernd Roediger and Dieter Van der Eyken (Starboard / Severne) advance.
Kevin Pritchard (Starboard / Ezzy / MFC) looked in fine form in Heat 9 — smacking the lip on several occasions to win the heat ahead of Kai Katchadourian. Meanwhile, Jaeger Stone (Starboard / Severne) experienced the wrath of Ho’okipa. Every time the Aussie tried to navigate his way out the back Ho’okipa promptly shut him down, but even a trip over the rocks couldn’t deter Stone from heading out again. When Stone did eventually make it out the back he laid it all on the line — aiming for a pitching lip that many would have backed away from, which resulted in him inadvertently rotating into a cheeseroll aerial and another long swim.
Heat 10 saw Thomas Traversa (Tabou / GA Sails) come flying out of the starting blocks as he quickly earned a 7.5 point wave, but after a solid start the Frenchman couldn’t back it up as he too experienced a trip over the rocks. However, with the conditions being so extreme one good wave was quite often enough to see you through and this was again the case as TT advanced in second place behind Keith Teboul.
Josh Stone continued his excellent form from the opening round to successfully advance again from Heat 11, whilst Marcilio Browne (Goya Windsurfing / MFC) sent out a few warning signals with his performance, which saw the Brazilian combine several powerful gouging hacks with a sick tweaked aerial. However, there was no place in the next round for Alex Mussolini (RRD / RRD) and the Spaniard now faces a huge task if he wants to complete the prestigious podium as he would need to fight his way all the way back into at least third place.
The final heat of the day saw the reigning Maui Aloha Classic Champion — Morgan Noireaux (JP / Hot Sails Maui) — in action for the first time and he looked every bit the champion again. Noireaux showed superb reading of the wave and his execution was equally as good if not better and for now he remains the main to beat. Kai Lenny looked as though he had the heat under control at the beginning, quickly earning a 7.5 point wave, but after getting caught on the inside the waterman began to run out of time. With only a few minutes remaining Lenny only needed a two point wave, until Klaas Voget (Fanatic / Simmer / MFC) struck with four raking turns to apply to the pressure to his American opponent. Lenny picked up his final wave, but unfortunately for him it never offered him the scoring potential he needed to advance as Noireaux and Voget marched on.
The forecast for tomorrow shows a slight drop in the swell size, but an increase in the period which should make for epic conditions again, with more emphasis on performance rather than survival. The latest forecast for Ho’okipa can be viewed via WindGuru. The skippers’ meeting has been called for 10:30am with the action commencing from 11am onwards. Make sure you tune into www.pwaworldtour.com to follow all of the amazing action as it happens via the PWA live stream and live ticker.