Hawaiian Wildcards Announced For Pipe Pro
One queen and two youngsters will hope to ruffle some CT feathers in less than two weeks.
The 2024 CT season is almost here, and my fantasy surfing group text is already lighting up with smack talk.
The 2024 Lexus Pipe Pro presented by YETI (yes, Florence and Vissla are still supporting it) waiting period opens on January 29 and runs through February 10. Today the WSL announced the event’s three Hawaiian wildcards: Moana Jones Wong, Shion Crawford and Jackson Bunch.
No surprise for the first pick. Moana is a former Pipe Pro champ and fresh off a clinic at the 2023 Vans Pipe Masters. And she’s also won the last two Hawaii/Tahiti Nui Regional QS seasons. What can’t Moana do? She’s a no-brainer on my team.
Shion and Jackson were selected based on their 2023 Challenger Series rankings, as they were last season’s highest-ranked Hawaiian competitors (No. 34 and 23, respectively). This will be both men’s first foray into the gladiator pit of CT competition.
At just 18 years old, Shion’s already seems like a North Shore vet. If you can handle growing up in the unrelenting maelstrom that is the Haleiwa current, you’re bound to do big things. Shion is well on his way.
Last week Jackson, age 20, finished runner-up at the World Junior Championships in Oceanside. Don’t be fooled by those waist slappers on a playfull sandbar, the Maui man has serious Pipe chops and is known to throw himself over the ledge. He’s frothing for his opportunity.
“My dad got the text and called me while I was in the car with my friend Shion, and I was, and we both started freaking out,” Jackson said in a prepared WSL release. “Three other guys out at Pipe, that’s all you can ask for since it’s so hard to catch a wave out there. I just really hope the waves are pretty fun, and if it’s good, I’m just going to give it my all.”
The heat draws should be released early next week. Pray for swell.
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