Xcel-lent Valiere

Gary Kewley
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Friday - November 10, 2006
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Kauai’s Evan Valiere is the 2006 Xcel Pro champ
Kauai’s Evan Valiere is the 2006
Xcel Pro champ

Howzit, Surfers!

We have a winner! He’s a young man from Kauai’s North Shore named Evan Valiere. The Xcel Pro champ rode perfect 5- to 8-foot Sunset Beach - with his back to the wave.

Yep, Evan’s a “goofy-footer,” but don’t let that term fool you. He wasn’t goofing around ... he was ripping around. This guy disappeared into the tubes in the tricky lineup.

Sunset is known for being one of the world’s most difficult waves to compete because of the huge “playing field.” It’s not a simple wave - it shifts, it jacks, it pummels, it heaves! Normally you only need to stay in a 20-yard area, but competitors at Sunset can be paddling 100 yards for a score! If one makes a poor judgment where the next best wave is coming, well ... they lose out big time.

It’s true that anyone in the final could’ve won. There were talents such as Gavin Beschen, who’s won this event before, and Makua Rothman, who’s not afraid of anything or anyone (he won the biggest wave of 2003 (66 feet, ridden at Jaws on Maui). Plus, I can’t leave out Tahiti’s amazing Michael Bourez. This guy had one wave during the final that was surfed on the next level up - folks jaws were left hanging. If this guy learns to surf like that everywhere all the time he could win it all.

It was perfection in the waves for surfers at the Xcel Pro at Sunset Beach
It was perfection in the waves for surfers at the Xcel
Pro at Sunset Beach

The great thing about the Xcel Pro presented by No Fear is its karma for scoring good waves. The original forecasts were calling for max 3-5 feet last Monday, which isn’t optimal for Sunset. There was nothing coming behind it and the deadline was Friday! But behold ... straight offshore trades blew open the 5- to 8-foot west peaks as they stacked up and peeled perfectly down the reef! You would stand there and gawk at the sheer beauty of the place. It was Sunset in its glory at this size. Sure, it gets much bigger and we’d have loved that, but all in all? Stoked!

Speaking of stoked, let’s take one more look at the list of world-class names that Valiere joins: Michael and his little bro Derek Ho (1993 world champ), Sunny Garcia (2000 world champ), Andy Irons (2002, ‘03, ‘04 world titles), Pancho Sullivan and Fred Pattachia ... among other greats of the sport. Evan also surfed for 10K and 1,500 points on the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS)! Add in model material looks and you’ve got yourself a potential surf star rising once again from the magical Garden Isle.

Congrats to all the wave riders in this year’s Xcel Pro. You guys are awesome. Like creator Ed D’Ascoli always says, “It’s the surfers who make it possible ... without them we would-n’t have an event.”

Yep, and of course, the Xcel-lent waves of the famed Sunset Beach on which they perform. See you all next year.

The top Xcel Pro guys get to go at it in the big year-end finale - the Vans Triple Crown. The holding period starts this Sunday, Nov. 12. We begin in Hawaiian style with the hugely popular Makahiki Festival. Don’t miss out ... just come on out to Haleiwa and partake in the energy.

After the OP Pro at Ali’i we’re back at Sunset Beach for the O’Neill World Cup Nov. 24-Dec. 6 ... then, the “tubular extravaganza” of them all: the Rip Curl Pipeline Masters Dec. 8-20. Wow, I think I better calm down - too much to look forward to ... not!

Check to see if the Vans Triple Crown is OFF or ON at 596-surf, 638-rush, and surfnews-network.

I look forward to seeing you back next week in MidWeek!

GQ, dropping in 4 U!

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