The Sunset CT Will Be Stacked With Wildcards - Stab Mag

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The Sunset CT Will Be Stacked With Wildcards

Kai Lenny, Billy Kemper, Barron Mamiya, Bronte Macaulay, Jordy Lawler, and Moana Jones Wong shake the tree.

news // Feb 9, 2022
Words by Ethan Davis
Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Hurley Pro Sunset starting Feb 11 will see Kai Lenny, Billy Kemper, Barron Mamiya, Bronte Macaulay, Jordy Lawler, Caio Ibelli, Matthew McGillivray, and Moana Jones Wong in CT jerseys.

With Liam O’Brien and Carlos Munoz recent Pipe injuries, two injury replacement spots opened up for North Narrabeen’s Jordy Lawler and Haleiwa’s Barron Mamiya to get a start. The additional two additional WC spots have gone to Maui-island boys, Billy Kemper and Kai Lenny. With Yago Dora’s still recovering from his foot injury, his spot is currently being shored up by SA’s Matt McGillivray, while Gabriel Medina’s has gone to 22′ Pipe semi-finalist, Caio Ibelli.

On the Women’s side, World #6 Caroline Marks has pulled out of the draw citing medical reasons. “I was obviously really looking forward to competing at Sunset but unfortunately, after conferring with my team, I’m going to need to take time away from the CT to deal with some recurring medical and health issues. I’m looking forward to watching the Tour from home and can’t wait to return as soon as I’m back to full strength,” said Marks on IG.

Taking her spot will be Gracetown’s Bronte Macaulay, a surfer dearly missed during the first Women’s Pipe CT and a former winner of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing at Sunset. Bronte charges, flexes an incredible backhand, and as a former winner at Sunset, is poised to do some damage. She has drawn Tatiana-WW and Malia Manuel in her Round 1 fixture. 

Off the back of her Pipe win, Moana earned the WC spot into Sunset where a QF finish or better should see her over the line for the mid-year cutoff, where she has a chance to take heads at G-Land and Tahiti in the back half of the year.

Barron Mamiya, Billy Kemper, & Kai Lenny

Barron Mamiya could’ve very well made the podium at the Pipe CT were it not for the GOAT spilling his genie bottle in the dying seconds. The unofficial Snap 4 winner, and runner up of the HIC Pipe Pro has a devastating rail game, tube skillz + air game perfectly-suited to Sunset’s cupping and occasionally pitching walls.

Big Wave World Champ and 4x Peahi Challenge winner, Billy Kemper already has multiple Sunset victories (18′, 20′) on the QS under his belt, and unparralelled power in bucking North Pacific lumps. B Kemp could take some names here.

Kai Lenny is an interesting one. Highly-accomplished in 20ft+ but unproven in waves sub-three-stories, Kai’s inclusion here feels like a deliberate narrative arc for a biopic of the 29-year-old multi-craft connoisseur and innovator. Maybe… it is? Either way he has drawn Pipe standout, João Chianca, and nimbly-kneed, Fil Toledo in his Round 1 heat, where his mid-size wave game will be harshly scrutinised.

A WC currently is #1 on the Women’s CT, an injury replacement is currently #3 on the Mens. With Sunset being a notoriously tricky lineup to navigate, safe money is on upsets, and local WC’s may be able to leverage knowledge to get the upper hand on strategy and wave selection.

This should be interesting.

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