An Xcel-lent Time

Gary Kewley
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Friday - October 28, 2005
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The Xcel Pro is happening now through Nov. 5 at Sunset Beach
The Xcel Pro is happening now through Nov. 5 at
Sunset Beach

‘Tis the season, surfers!

What a north swell last weekend! Fifteen feet and stormy! Yes, the first “warning” level swell of the winter season has come! The criteria for this warning-size surf is 25 feet from crest to trough, or 15 Hawaii-scale feet. This is the size where the outer reefs crack for our crazy tow-in surfers. Indeed, even the third and fourth reefs were breaking way outside Haleiwa Harbor last Saturday!‘s Maui observer Mr. Matt told me that it was “going off” from Hana to Ho’okipa - the entire northeastern coast was BIG! The upper west side (Honolua Bay, etc.) was towed as well, but in much cleaner surf.

On Oahu, if you wanted something smaller and more manageable, Makaha offered up some perfection. That was no secret for the thousands who were there, especially last Sunday. It was the most crowded I’ve ever seen Makaha. Sometimes you must surrender to the circus. (See my photos on the SNN Website.)

Jumping up to Kauai, Kali’iwai was “doing its thing” at 8-plus feet - throwing, ledging, dumping, barreling, swallowing. That place gets ridiculous in power and danger. But the locals just charge it anyway. Heavy!

Speaking of charging it: Let’s talk about the 22nd annual $50,000 Xcel Pro that began Oct. 27. From now ‘til Nov. 5, 140 pros and aspiring pros will be on hand for some new northwest swells, and their chance to enter the ranks. The Xcel pro is a 3-star WQS (World Qualifying Series) event. This is where everyone must begin before cracking the World Championship Tour, or WCT’s top 44 Dream Tour. Most places on the WQS are held in small junk surf - but not all! The Xcel Pro at Sunset Beach commands respect from the world’s best. It is one of the most challenging waves due to it size, power and shifting peaks. This is the place to prove yourself. The Xcel Pro offers new and experienced surfers the chance to do just that.

I had the chance to catch up with surfer/owner Ed D’Escoli to find out whassup.

GQ: What’s new with the 2005 Xcel Pro?

ED: We’re gonna be live web-casting, even from the water!

GQ: I heard - with - insanely cool.

ED: Yeah, we’re experimenting with the latest technology, and even having instant playback for the big moments.

GQ: You’re always pushing to “Xcel,” so to speak!

ED: We are also looking forward to getting behind the scenes of the athletes and their lifestyles, other than the waves and surfing - the surfers themselves ...

GQ: OK, great approach, we get to have more of a story board!

ED: Interviews, even the spectators ... we want this to be like a show.

GQ: Is this for all three days?

ED: Yes, with three cameras going all the time from different angles, professionally and personally, in and out of the water.

GQ: Paint your perfect picture for this year’s contest.

ED: Eight-12 feet from the northwest with light to moderate trades, of course.

GQ: Of course. And you have photo

the reputation of getting at least one or two classic days for what, 80 percent of the last two decades?

ED: I’d say maybe 75 percent. We’ve been lucky, but I always get nervous. I don’t wanna jinx it… (laughs).

GQ: No fear, Ed! You deserve “Xcel-lent” waves. Thanks for doing so much for the sport and the business! Good luck!

ED: Thank you, GQ. See you out there this week! I’ll be calling you first thing in the morning ‘til we’re done.

GQ: So everyone can see it all at XCELWETSUITS.COM?

ED: You got it! Thanks for the plug.

Oh yeah, it’s coffee time ‘til Christmas for me and the Surfnewsnetwork and 596-SURF Team. Make sure you’re up and on it with us! See you back here next weekend!

I’m GQ, dropping In 4 U!

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