Rockstar Games Honolua Bay Pro: Day Two


posted by Paul Cooper on 30th December 2005

Day two of the Rockstar Games Honolua Bay Pro, looked to be a bit smaller then day number one, with just a few larger sets coming through the famed point break, but nonetheless, the riders made the best of the diminishing swell. Waves in the 3-5 foot range with superb condition had the riders left in round number 3 boosting on the inside bowl section called "Keiki Bowl." Taking advantage of the early morning lower tide was Hawaiian, Warren Anderson; Warren took off on a few nice waves that hollowed out and raced it down getting cleanly covered and hitting the bowling end section that propelled him into Round number 4. Other early morning standouts were, American Jason Bitzer, and Maui's Jonah Romero and Tyler Ching-Johnson.

At about 10:00am, Contest Director, Paul Cooper called for a meeting with all the riders left in the event to see if they'd like to wait for a possible swell on the way, or continue on; unanimously, the riders chose to continue, thinking that the predicted swell may be too West for the Bay. As round 4 came underway, we saw a real change in swell pattern, with more of a northerly turn, making for more consistent sets and crazy performances by the World best.

Heat number one saw the first perfect score of the event, with John Showell taking off on a set wave and pulling in on a nice barrel on the outside and cutting back, setting him up for another barrel on the inside. The high scoring continued through the rest of the round with heat number two's David Hubbard getting shacked on a large outside set at the start of his heat, then speeding to the inside bowl section and doing a huge inverted air; with this the younger Hubbard netted 9 points out of 10. Also in the same heat, Aussie, Dave Winchester, waiting alone on the outside peak, scored a perfect 5 ft. wave to himself; "Winny" pulled in a long barreling tube and emerged doing a forward spin and roll, giving him an 8.5 and advancing him through.

Heat #3 of round 4 saw the ocean go completely calm and no waves ridden for its first 12 minutes, sitting anxiously at the point was Jeff Hubbard, Michael Chapple, Michael Novey and Paulo Barcellos. Finally when waves came through Paulo Barcellos and Michael Chapple got some of the better exchanges and with time running out and no waves insight Jeff Hubbard surcame to a paddling interference, costing him advancement to the next round. Heat #4 saw Australian Toby Player put on a clinic out in the line up, showing great barrel riding skills. Player scored a perfect 10 with a eight second barrel and another excellent score on a big invert giving him a 2 wave score of 18 out of 20, the highest of the event thus far.

The most anticipated battle of the morning came in heat #7 when 9x World Champion Mike Stewart and 6x World Champion Guilherme Tamega faced off in a clash of the titans. It was Maui boy Jonah Romero getting first blow stalling on big outside set and pulling in to a nice sized bowl, Mike Stewart took off on the next wave and spun straight off the take off and positioned himself perfectly for a nice invert on the inside bowl. Countering back, Tamega got a sizeable outside wave and pulled off a Roll, ARS and Invert, to cheers from the gallery, this netted Tamega a score of 8.0. With the time winding down a miracle wave came through the Stewart was able to snag and spin off the take off and pulled into a nice long barrel. Upon exiting, he did a nice cutty revo and another bank reverse off the end bowl getting him the highest score of the heat and advancement with Tamega to the Quarterfinals.

Heat #8 of the fourth round gave spectators a glimpse of the future with Maui Underground ripper, Tyler Ching-Johnson going completely ballistic! On the set of the day, Tyler positioned himself perfectly on the peak to take off and instantly pulled into a cavernous bowl, after a few moments of travel time, which seemed like forever, he emerged to cheers from the Crowd. Not to be outdone by his first wave, Ching-Johnson took off on an even bigger wave and somehow got barreled way outside and came flying out with enough speed to hit a huge Air Revo on the inside bowl... PERFECT TEN!!! This wave alone was claimed by many as the wave of the event, he easily advanced, along with Aussie ripper Ben Player who said after his heat, "That Tyler kid... He's sooo good!"

Quarter final number 1 saw the a real big upset take place, when 2x World Champion, Damien King, get the bad end of a heat long lull. Though he did get one wave that scored in the good category, he was unable to find another to complement his first ride, unfortunately because of this Kingy had to settle for third. On the other hand, Boogie Nations David Hubbard was able to find a nice gem at the end of the heat that seemed to come out of nowhere; Dub took off on the set wave, pulled in behind the curl and traveled a long distance before emerging cleanly from the tube. With the score of 8.0, Dave was able to make it through and continue his quest for the Honolua title. The quarter finals also saw 9x World Champion Mike Stewart and 6x World Champion Guilherme Tamega lose a great battle against Tyler Ching-Johnson and Ben Player, after a heated race of one up man ship, the heat ended with both young riders advancing on. Others riders who stood out in the quarters were Australian’s Mitch Rawlins and Dave Winchester, as well as Brazilian Power house' Paulo Barcellos and Uri Vadalao.

Opening up our semi final round with was Brazilian Paulo Barcellos; Barcellos took off on a nice north peak, made a hard bottom turn and vertically went straight up to launch a huge roll on the outside; he then followed up that maneuver with another roll on the inside in which the judges rewarded him a 7.0, a great way to start. Not to be out done, David Hubbard, who seemed to find the really hollow waves, took off on a large outside set; Dave pulled high up in the face and got slotted in the barrel for nearly 7 seconds, before finishing with a spin roll combo. This wave gave Hubbard the preliminary lead and strong confidence heading back out. Also riding spectacular throughout the day and becoming a crowd favorite was Aussie Dave Winchester, Winny got a sick wave from the peak, pulled in and exited with a clean inverted air to a score of 7.5. As time closed in Australian Sean Virtue was able to score a nice vertical wave, which he was able to pack in 3 nice El Rollo's, from the outside, but in the end it was not enough to stop Hubbard and Winny, who advanced on to the final. Semi final number 2 saw Hawaiian ripper Tyler Ching-Johnson and Hugo Pinero fall short to great ridding by Australians Mitch Rawlins and Ben Player.

The Final was set; we had 3 Australians, Mitch Rawlins, Ben Player and Dave Winchester along with the lone Hawaiian, Kauai's very own David Hubbard. As the horn blew to start the 30 minute final, a set approached on the horizon and in prime position was Mitch Rawlins; Mitch, took off did a few hard turns and spins, then sped to the inside and ended with a nice invert. On the wave straight after, Ben Player took off on a nice peaking wave and was able to find a ramping section outside, player did a nice invert then stalled for the barrel to which he was covered for a while and exited with another invert, very nice starting wave for him. David Hubbard on the other hand decided to sit a little further in then the rest, hoping on the fact that they would be too far out and too deep. Well, his gamble paid off when a middle sized set approached and Hubbard was in prime position to take off. By the influence of Kainoa McGee, who was out in the channel waiting to surf, Hubbard decided to get up backside dropknee, something he did not do too much in the event, and got a little barrel, he then did a back side snap and fell on a back side floater. Winny who was playing the waiting game on the outside for most the beginning, got a great set up wave; Winchester got a sick barrel on the outside, came out, stalled and got another midway through his ride, he then did a nice forward spin and sped to the inside and finished with a nice inverted air, this gave Winchester a 9.0 and the highest wave in the final so far. Dave Hubbard, who continued to cruise the inside section, got a perfect midsized wave come straight at him; Dub took off prone, got a decent barrel, then hit the oncoming inside section with a nice air reverse, netting him a 6.5 and certainly a scoring ride. A few moments later, Ben Player struck again getting another outside barreling wave that stood up all the way down the line, Benny stalled on the inside and got barreled again, a few seconds he emerged and did a sick inverted air, this gave him his scoring ride of 7.5 by the judges. As time came winding down, the set of the day came through, with no one in position, this 3 wave set, which looked to be in the 6 foot category, broke outside the line up, making the contestant scratch to try and get it. As the first wave came though, Mitch Rawlins, who was sitting the deepest, had to duck it, while fellow Aussie Dave Winchester, tried a late takeoff in the barrel, but got shut down. As Mitch looked out the back, he saw that he was in perfect position for wave number 2; Mitch took off late and came off the bottom with lots of speed, he did a few nice turns the sped to the oncoming ramp and did huge Air reverse, which he landed perfectly. This last minute heat-winning wave gave Mitch an 8.0 out of a possible 10 and the Rockstar Games Honolua Bay Title. Coming in second and third was fellow Australians Dave Winchester and Ben Player, followed in forth by the lone Hawaiian in the heat David Hubbard.

As the Finals were announced at the Rockstar Games Tent fronting Honolua's peak, the crowd blew up as Mitch Rawlins was announced the victor... And to the victor come the spoils as Mitch was doused with 3 bottle of Corbel Champaign. This win gives Mitch the overall World Tour points lead going into the final event of the year, The Rockstar Games Pipeline Pro. Special thanks to all the Sponsors that made this event possible, Rockstar Games, Mike Stewart Science Bodyboards, Human Shoes, Viper Surfing fins and Turbo Surf. We look forward to seeing you all January 9th-15th at Pipeline.

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