The Final started off slow but quickly ramped up into a back-and-forth battle as barrels pitched off the reef while Ho and Hanneman paddled against the current and exchanged rides. Ho earned a 6.83 (out of a possible 10) for his opening wave as Hanneman scored a 4.83 but eventual victor Ho rid himself of that result by Final’s end and went on to secure two excellent numbers, combining to accrue a 16.83 (out of a possible 20) heat total for brilliant surfing.
A big exchange witnessed Hanneman get covered by Rangiroa’s blue curtain and emerge after multiple sections for a near-excellent 7.70 midway through the heat. Ho answered right back with an 8.00 for his own barrel-excellence to control the Final before heading into the dying minutes where he posted another 8.83 — the heat-best — to claim his career-second QS victory. (Newsfeed available)
“I’m so stoked, I did not expect winning any QS events this year,” said Ho. “I mean it’s always the plan, it’s been a plan for life, but to actually do it is such a cool feeling and just to travel to a special place like Tahiti and get a result, let alone win, has always been a dream of mine.
“Eli is such a good competitor,” added Ho. “When I was his age, I wasn’t nearly that good, but I remember always learning stuff. Now that I’m not so young I don’t have to hold all my knowledge. It’s cool when you can learn it and pass it on but still do good.”