Amazing Hanalei Powers

Gary Kewley
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Friday - November 30, 2007
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Roy Powers
Roy Powers earns his name and wins the Reef Hawaiian Pro in the biggest Haleiwa since 1991

Aloha, surfers and beach-goers! Whoa ... the Reef Hawaiian Pro on Black Friday was the biggest since 1991. We saw Planet Earth’s best wave riders challenging 6- to 12-foot Haleiwa in all its gruesome glory.

Indeed, the current reminded me of Robert Redford’s A River Runs Through It, only here men were fishing for waves the size of whales. Plenty sets at Avalanche (outside to the left) were easily 15 feet and closed out Haleiwa when they washed through. All the surfers could do was bail out. The waves that were “makeable” were heavy, heaving barrels, impossible for most surfers. But this day da boys proved why they’re pros. They are the best big-wave riders as well as small-wave aerialists.

In addition, most don’t realize that on rare days like this, catching the waves was often more difficult than riding them! The currents and shifty lineup were at an all-time high. But when they did latch on and make that elevator drop, the surfers proceeded to lay down the law. They performed controlled bottom turns from behind cascading lips before carving up the face! The next moves were committed top turns back down into the turmoil; races down the uncertain whaling walls were max speed; barrels were unbelievable and high-flying kickouts were incredible! Often, wave warriors had to straighten out as the mountains fell in front and behind them. Broken boards were plenty. This was survival.

Meet Roy Powers ... winner of the Reef Hawaiian Pro. Born July 1, 1981, and hailing from Hanalei, this talented good guy took out a field that has catapulted him into surf star status. Not a bad day at work ... even if it wasn’t easy. And, just in case you think he’s new to the competitive surf scene, take another look. He hit the grueling world qualifying series (WQS) in 2002, trying to break into the world championship tour (WCT) but finishing 123rd. Roy came again in 2003, hitting 71st. Meeting the mark in 2004 was missed by one heat at the O’Neill World Cup. Most would’ve given up at this point, but not the tough Kauaian. This will-powered man entered the wet ring again in 2005 and placed ninth ... making it into the 2006 WCT! There he struggled as a rookie with ratings mostly in the 30s, thereby not gaining access in 2007. Well, ladies and gentleman, WCT Powers is back for 2008, thanks to his win at Haleiwa!

It’s more proof that good things usually don’t come without effort and perseverance ... though talent and timing do play in.

Roy Powers rips. He pulled into some amazing and complex barrels out there in the final heat that “comboed” the other three. Oh, they were good surfers themselves: Bede Durbidge and Joel Parkinson from Australia and local Sean Moody. What “comboed” means is that those guys each had to catch two waves to match one of Roy’s! His waves and moves were so good he had a score line of 18.84 out of 20 - the highest scores of the contest and five points ahead of his nearest rival, Bede. Roy’s huge margin - on a day where one wave can drown you or your energy, and paddle-outs are minimum five minutes - left the others knowing they were whipped before the bell. So, upon their last rides with five minutes remaining ... all three left the water with Powers out alone doing his victory laps! No one has ever seen such a scene. It was one of the most conclusive victories in Association of Surfing Professionals history.

“I wanted another opportunity to get on the WCT,” Powers was quoted in an ASP press release.“I was a little cocky before. Now I think I’ve grown up a bit and I realize it’s not that easy and it won’t be a walk in the park. Now I want to win the Triple Crown - to me, that’s priceless.”

Good luck, Roy Powers.

Now we’re at Sunset Beach for the O’Neill World Cup and the Roxy Pro. We’ve got waves! Actually, it’s likely to be TOO BIG over the weekend!? Check out if it’s On or Off at 596-SURF, 638-RUSH or SURFNEWSNETWORK.COM or TRIPLE-CROWNOFSURFING.COM.

Thanks so much for your eyeballs! Please use them here again next week.

GQ, Dropping in 4 U!


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