SUNSET BEACH, Oahu/Hawaii (Friday, Nov. 9, 2012) - Training the best up-and-coming surfing talent in Hawaii has helped veteran North Shore competitor Kahea Hart, 40, get to the top of his own game, and he has shown it heat after heat this week at the HIC Pro presented by Vans.
Hart, a long-time local at Sunset Beach, has been on fire in this event, taking down kids half his age with dreams twice as large. Victims along his way at the HIC Pro have included Clay Marzo (Maui); Jonah Morgan (Big Island); Ian Walsh (Maui); and Chris Ward (California). Hart advanced today alongside an inform Nathan Hedge (Australia).
“I’ve been doing a lot of coaching with kids so just playing the game, watching them play the game, and repeating back to them how to play the game helps a lot,” said Hart.
“It’s not who you’re against in the water – it’s yourself, the ocean, and time. I try to tell the kids that. It’s very important. Just making it out of every heat and having fun is the goal.”
Hart is through to the Round of 32 tomorrow morning, with the final showdown of the 2012 HIC Pro set for tomorrow afternoon. A win here is worth $15,000 and would also rocket Hart to first on the ASP Hawaii year-end rankings and grant him a wildcard into the $1million Vans Triple Crown of Surfing that starts on Monday.
“I hadn’t even thought about (the Vans Triple Crown)…,” said Hart. “I’d need to adjust my schedule, that’s for sure.”
Australian rookie Thomas Woods (Burleigh Heads) fired a warning shot late in the day when he posted the highest heat score (17.82 out of 20), and the highest single wave score (9.5) of the contest so far. He easily took the win ahead of local Kekoa Bacalso and eliminated long-time Sunset charger Marcus Hickman and Brazil’s Caio Ibelli. A complete unknown Junior of just 19 years of age, this was Woods’ first contest ever at Sunset Beach. The technical head-high conditions didn’t fluster him at all.
“This was my first contest ever at Sunset and I was just cruising,” said Woods. “There wasn’t any hassling going on like I saw in some of the heats earlier in the day. We all took turns and I ended up getting some really good waves.”
Woods, like Hart, is through to the Round of 32 – one round short of the quarter finals.
Other casualties today included Mark Occhilupo (Aus); Pancho Sullivan; and Myles Padaca. Among those advancing were Keanu Asing, defending event champion Ezekiel Lau, and Lincoln Taylor (Australia).
Organizers expect a continued rise in wave heights overnight for great surf for the final day tomorrow.