They are 5 tricolors to claim the maintenance (Bourez) or the accession (Fierro, Ado, Huscenot, Couzinet) to the Championship Tour 2022. The Challenger Haleiwa, fourth and last stage of the Challenger Series (November 26 to December 7), will determine the Top 12 men and the Top 6 women qualified for the CT. Hopefully a maximum of French people because, for the time being, only Johanne Defay (world No. 4) is guaranteed to participate in the CT next season.
The final packaging of the 2021 season is imminent. In two days, the contenders for the CT will be fighting on the reef break of Haleïwa, one of the three jewels of a Triple Crown, now virtual. On the overpowered right of the North Shore, some elite residents have invited themselves with no other objective than mie prestige and the dollars that go with a good ranking. Kelly Slater, John John Florence, Conner Coffin, Kanoa Igarashi, Carissa Moore, Tatiana Weston-Webb or even Caroline Marks are part of the party.
The return of women to Haleiwa
It has been over 10 years since the women’s circuit stopped in Haleiwa. This season, their return to the emblematic site of the North Shore is therefore accompanied by a sacred stake, since the final of the Challenger Series will determine the 6 women who will qualify for the Championship Tour. Two surfers, Brisa Hennessy and Gabriela Bryan, already have their tickets.
Four places therefore remain to be taken. For the moment, they are occupied by promising young people: Caitlin Simmers, Sawyer Lindblad, India Robinson and the French Vahine Fierro (photo). Quarter-finalist of Roxy Pro France, Fierro will have to do just as well in Hawaii to hope to join Johanne Defay, the only tricolor of the CT and world No. 4. Beyond this provisional Top 6, several experienced athletes and other rookies are necessarily eyeing qualification. To start with the “veterans” of the circuit which are Coco Ho, Macy Callaghan, Dimity Stoyle and the Frenchwoman Pauline Ado. Semi-finalist in Portugal, Ado would be well inspired to repeat such a performance to (re) win the MOT.
Bourez master of the place
On the men’s side, Ezekiel Lau, former finalist in Haleïwa and from the island of Oahu, is looking for his very first victory on its waves. Winner in Portugal, he is already qualified for the CT 2022 which he will find after two seasons in QS. Before the final round of the Challenger Series, the Top 12 qualifier is occupied by three former CT surfers and nine potential rookies.
Alongside the familiar faces of Zeke Lau, Nat Young, and Connor O’Leary are plenty of young stars, including Jake Marshall, Imaikalani deVault, Joao Chianca, and Jackson Baker. But will these hungry rookies withstand the pressure from those behind them? Starting with Michel Bourez (photo), currently 19th and at three lengths and 500 points of maintenance. Injured in the right knee, the Tahitian seems to be getting better and will do everything to get his ticket for a 14th consecutive season on the CT. Double winner at Haleïwa (2008 and 2013), he has the power and the experience to achieve a new feat after his final at the Quiksilver Pro France in Hossegor, last month.
Huscenot in great shape
Twice quarter-finalist on the wave of Ali’i beach park, Maxime Huscenot (31e, photo) is in dazzling form. Quarter-finalist in Hossegor, winner of the QS 5,000 for the Azores, Huscenot will have to erase at least four laps to finally realize his dream after having come close a few years ago. At the gates of CT for the past three full seasons (2017, 2018 and 2019), Jorgann Couzinet arrives this time in Hawaii outside the Top 10, and therefore without the pressure that surrounded it too much. Here he is 39th in the ranking with the obligation to go to the semi-finals, at least, to also win the moon. Ninth at the US Open, Mihimana Braye seems too far to get there. A final might not even be enough and only a victory would open the doors to the elite for him.
10 French committed
Ten French are engaged on the last CS of the season (see the list below). Let us recall the general classification is established on the 3 best results of each surfer over the whole of the seasons 2020-2021 as follows: Challengers Series 2021 + CS and QS 2020.
The waiting period of the Challenger Haleiwa begins this Friday (at 7 p.m. French) with a swell of 2m50 which will stabilize at 1m50 the following days to exceed 3 meters on the weekend of December 5 and 6.
The 10 Frenchmen engaged in Haleïwa
Ladies : Vahine Fierro et Pauline Ado
Gentlemen : Michel Bourez, Maxime Huscenot, Jorgann Couzinet, Mihimana Braye, Kauli Vaast, Charly Quivront, Charly Martin and Gatien Delahaye
RANKS BEFORE HAWAII