Roi Kanazawa and Gabriela Bryan Win Sunset Pro Junior

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Gabriela Byran of Hawaii and Roi Kanazawa of Japan are the winners of the 2019 WSL Sunset Pro Junior at Sunset Beach, Oahu, Hawaii
HALEIWA, Hawaii (January 19, 2019) – Professional surfing in Hawaii has awarded its first event titles of the year as Roi Kanazawa (JPN) and Gabriela Bryan (HAW) earned victories today at the Women’s and Men’s Sunset Pro Junior, the opening competitions of the World Surf League (WSL) Hawaii/Tahiti Nui 2019 regional calendar.

One of Oahu’s most iconic competitive venues, Sunset Beach, delivered breezy, challenging conditions throughout the day with consistent four- to six- foot wave faces and strong yet favorable easterly tradewinds.

Caption: Back-to-back event champion Gabriela Bryan pushed the pace all day.
Image: WSL / Chlala

Women’s event champion Gabriela Bryan successfully defended her title, quickly establishing herself as the in-form surfer of the competition and posting the highest scores on the women’s side of the draw. Displaying the confidence and talent that launched the 16-year-old to finish atop both the Hawaii/ Tahiti Nui Women’s Tours – Junior and QS – in 2018, Bryan easily won all of the three heats she surfed today, including the most important thirty-minute Final.

“I’m super stoked to win back to back, it was definitely one of my goals this year, and I’m really happy to start the year off with another win for my first contest,” Bryan said following her victory. “I was getting pretty good scores all day, so I was just going to try and do the same thing as before, wait for the good waves and just surf the best that I could.”

“It always feels great to win, it’s the best feeling just to win here at Sunset again,” Bryan continued. “It’s such a tricky wave and it’s one of the best places to win honestly. Just the feeling is what keeps me motivated.”


Caption: Roi Kanazawa about to stick the landing on his way to a maiden Hawaii event victory.
Image: WSL / Chlala

It was a much more dramatic finish to the Sunset Pro Men’s Pro Junior. Needing a 6.10 to take the lead with under a minute left in the Final, Kanazawa hit a series of committed, on-rail turns to earn a nail-biting 6.73 on his very last wave. It was enough to steal the win from Crosby Colapinto (USA), who had led for the majority of the thirty-minute heat and who had already comboed 14-year-old Levi Young (HAW) and 16-year-old Eli Hanneman (HAW), third- and fourth-place finishers, respectively.

With defending champion Finn McGill (18, HAW) no longer age-eligible to compete at the Junior level, the Men’s Sunset Pro Junior was destined for a new champion this year. The win was Kanazawa’s first in Hawaii, and second Pro Junior win after a 2018 victory at the Minami Boso Junior Pro in Chiba, Japan.

“I’m so happy,” Kanazawa said after his victory. “I’ve been here for about a month and have been surfing Sunset every day, but I was so nervous in the final.”

Kanazawa successfully controlled his nerves throughout the competition, having put the men’s field on notice with an 8.83 in the Quarterfinals that would prove to be the event’s highest score. With poise and confidence beyond his years, Kanazawa consistently attacked the challenging, oft-shifting Sunset Beach lineup, and dropped perhaps the maneuver of the day with a huge lip-smack-to-free-fall 7.73 in the final.

The shifty, open-ocean playing field of Sunset Beach – the only Oahu venue where caddies are permitted in the lineup – pushed athletes to stay active in chasing down waves and making the most of available scoring opportunities.

“I want to travel and definitely want to come back to Hawaii [later this year],” Kanazawa added. “I’d like to thank my family and friends here, and my sponsors for the support.”

The up-and-coming talent was undeniable over the course of the day, with over 80% of the men’s field and nearly three-quarters of the women’s field representing Hawaii. Experienced performers were tested by younger newcomers eager to build confidence and further develop as competitors.

Ariana Shewry (NZL), the only non-Hawaii surfer in the women’s final, surfed with equal determination and grit throughout the day. With no waves ridden and just seven minutes on the clock, the 15-year-old quickly found her only two scores of the heat, fighting her way into a well-deserved second place.

“It was so tricky out there today, but I’m super stoked overall and glad to get the experience,” Shewry told WSL after the awards presentation. “Sunset is definitely a challenging wave but I really enjoyed it and had heaps of fun.”

Rounding out the women’s final were Leila Riccobuano (HAW), 15, and Summer Ivy (HAW), 17, who along with Shewry chaired Bryan up the beach.

Colapinto, 17, looked well on his way to winning the Final until Kanazawa’s last-minute heroics, but it wasn’t to be. However, the San Clemente, California, native continues his Pro Junior success from 2018 where he finished No. 2 on the North America ratings and now turns to the bigger stage on hand in Sunset.

“I’m definitely bummed with Roi getting the score in the last thirty seconds, but it’s great to do the Pro Junior, get a second, and get that experience in the lineup since I haven’t done a contest out here before,” Colapinto said. “Just being able to learn the lineup and having Kekoa Becalso as my coach I think really helped a lot too.”

Colapinto is the younger brother of WSL Championship Tour competitor Griffin Colapinto (USA), who has also found success at Sunset Beach and in Hawaii, having won the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing in 2017.

“After having a full year of Juniors last year and getting all that experience throughout the events, I almost feel like a bit of a veteran,” said Crosby with a laugh. “Now I’m excited to get the [Qualifying Series] QS event going here at Sunset once it starts.”

All eyes now turn to the Sunset Open Men’s QS 1,000 division, to be contested on the three best remaining days of conditions of the event window. Contest organizers are eagerly anticipating a new run of solid swell at Sunset Beach for next week, Tuesday, January 22 – 24.

Back on the regional Juniors calendar, next up are the Men’s and Women’s Papara Pro Junior Tahiti (Papara, March 10 – 15). Results at these competitions will be crucial in ultimately determining the region’s five qualifiers – three Junior men and two Junior women – for the prestigious year-end World Junior Championships (tentative, December 2019, location to be announced).

The Sunset Open/Pro Junior is presented by the Hawaii Youth Surfing Development Organization (HYSDO), a 501c3 nonprofit providing greater opportunities for local youth in and around surfing. Full results and heats scores are available worldsurfleague.com and on the free WSL app.

Community partners (including WSL) are currently undertaking long-term erosion mitigation efforts at Sunset Beach. The public is encouraged to be mindful of limited parking, carpool or choose public transportation where possible, and use designated beach access points when on-site to protect the new sand dunes.

Sunset Pro Junior Results
All surfers from Hawaii (HAW) unless otherwise noted.

Men’s Final
1st: Roi Kanazawa (JPN)
2nd: Crosby Colapinto (USA)
3rd: Levi Young
4th: Eli Hanneman

Women’s Final
1st: Gabriela Bryan
2nd: Ariana Shewry (NZL)
3rd: Leila Riccobuano
4th: Summer Ivy

Men’s Semifinals
1st & 2nd advance. 3rd=5th place. 4th=7th place.
Heat 1: 1st Levi Young, 2nd Roi Kanazawa (JPN), 3rd Cole Alves, 4th Tyty Kirby
Heat 2: 1st Crosby Colapinto (USA), 2nd Eli Hanneman, 3rd Tiago Carrique (FRA), 4th Sage Tutterow

Women’s Semifinals
1st & 2nd advance. 3rd=5th place. 4th=7th place.
Heat 1: 1st Gabriela Bryan, 2nd Summer Ivy, 3rd Gabriella Knudson, 4th Savanna Stone
Heat 2: 1st Leila Riccobuano, 2nd Ariana Shewry, 3rd Julia Camargo (BRA), 4th Nora Liotta

Men’s Quarterfinals
1st & 2nd advance. 3rd=9th place. 4th=13th place.
Heat 1: 1st Roi Kanazawa (JPN), 2nd Cole Alves, 3rd Kainehe Hunt, 4th Wyatt McHale
Heat 2: 1st Levi Young, 2nd Tyty Kirby, 3rd Robert Grilho, 4th Jake Riccobuano
Heat 3: 1st Sage Tutterow, 2nd Eli Hanneman, 3rd Luke Swanson, 4th Diego Ferri
Heat 4: 1st Crosby Colapinto (USA), 2nd Tiago Carrique (FRA), 3rd Eimeo Czermak (PYF), 4th Jackson Bunch

Women’s Quarterfinals (Round 1)
1st & 2nd advance. 3rd=9th place. 4th=13th place.
Heat 1: 1st Gabriela Bryan, 2nd Summer Ivy, 3rd Aelan Vaast (PYF), 4th Candelaria Resano (NIC)
Heat 2: 1st Savanna Stone, 2nd Gabriella Knudson, 3rd Luana Coelho Silva, 4th Kai Corrie
Heat 3: 1st Julia Camargo (BRA), 2nd Nora Liotta, 3rd Angelina Yossa, 4th Pua Desoto
Heat 4: 1st Leila Riccobuano, 2nd Ariana Shewry (NZL), 3rd Valentina Resano (NIC), 4th Gillian McKenzie

Men’s Round 1 (Round of 32)
1st & 2nd advance. 3rd=17th place. 4th=25th place.
Heat 1: 1st Wyatt McHale, 2nd Levi Young, 3rd Brodi Sale, 4th Jake Maki
Heat 2: 1st Kainehe Hunt, 2nd Tyty Kirby, 3rd Lennox Chell (AUS), 4th Zac Hedemann
Heat 3: 1st Robert Grilho, 2nd Cole Alves, 3rd Maikai Burdine, 4th Sammy Gray
Heat 4: 1st Jake Riccobuano, 2nd Roi Kanazawa (JPN), 3rd Ocean Macedo, 4th Cole Frye
Heat 5: 1st Eli Hanneman, 2nd Eimeo Czermak (PYF), 3rd Hendrix Frankenreiter, 4thDylan Franzmann
Heat 6: 1st Luke Swanson, 2nd Jackson Bunch, 3rd Leo Casal (BRA), 4th Keanu Taylor
Heat 7: 1st Tiago Carrique (FRA), 2nd Sage Tutterow, 3rd Gavin Hogan, 4th Shion Crawford
Heat 8: 1st Crosby Colapinto (USA), 2nd Diego Ferri, 3rd Isaiah Briley, 4th Makana Franzmann

About the WSL The World Surf League (WSL) is dedicated to celebrating the world’s best surfing on the world’s best waves through a variety of best-in-class audience platforms. The organization, headquartered in Santa Monica, is a global sport with regional offices in Australasia, Africa, North America, South America, Hawaii, Japan and Europe.

The WSL has been championing the world’s best surfing since 1976, annually running more than 180 global events across the Men’s and Women’s Championship Tours, the Big Wave Tour, Qualifying Series, Junior and Longboard Championships, as well as the WSL Big Wave Awards. The League possesses a deep appreciation for the sport’s rich heritage while promoting progression, innovation and performance at the highest levels, and in doing so crowns the undisputed Men’s and Women’s World Champions across all tours.

Showcasing the world’s best surfing on its digital platform at WorldSurfLeague.com, the WSL has a passionate global fan base with millions tuning in to see world-class athletes like Kelly Slater, Stephanie Gilmore, Tyler Wright, John Florence, Lakey Peterson, Paige Alms, Kai Lenny, Taylor Jensen, Honolua Blomfield, Carissa Moore, Gabriel Medina, Courtney Conlogue and more battle on the most dynamic field of play of any global sport.