Stab Magazine | Portuguese Panther Wins Haleiwa, Two More Surfers Shore Up CT Slots
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Portuguese Panther Wins Haleiwa, Two More Surfers Shore Up CT Slots

In-depth qualification updates can be found here:

news // Nov 25, 2019
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

They started the Haleiwa Pro too early this morning. 

The first heats were stuck surfing waves between Peaks and the proper Haleiwa bowl, and most surfers caught three waves or fewer. The predicted swell was on its way, as indicated by an early morning bump on the Kauai buoys, but the WSL wanted to run the event early.

Probably so they could surf in the arvo. It’s pumping everywhere right now.

The quarterfinals were decided by tactical maneuvering rather than on-wave performance. Winning heat totals ranged from mid-eight to mid-twelve. A true slog-fest.

In semifinal one, the swell finally showed. Performances soared. Ethan Ewing proved what we already knew—that the Australian’s rail game is leagues beyond his QS “peers’,” and that he deserves to surf on the CT for the next decade-plus. The QS is not worthy of his ability.

Wade Carmichael showed similar control, but his steel-toed approach put holes through two separate boards, leaving Avoca Jesus stranded on the beach for a full three minutes while he awaited his second back-up. The clock hit zero before Wade could back up a high seven. Leo Fio advanced in his place. (Luckily for Wade, he’s already requalified through the CT.)

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Semi two, the swell disappeared again. In the few waves he caught, Slater couldn’t find the magic on his Akila Aipa thurster. The waves were, apparently, too small for his 5’3 Cymatic. What we’d give to live in Slater’s brain for a day.

Frederico Moráis won that heat with seven points while Matthew McGillivray followed closely behind. With this progression, both surfers effectively shored up their spots on the 2020 Championship Tour.

Freddy, you know well; the monarch of meat n potatoes. The square-stanced stallion. The Portuguese panther. Frederico once beat John John at A+ J-Bay, and he’ll look to fool the judges again next year. 

Matt McGillivray is a young South African—22 to be exact—who is a classically trained and technically adept surfer. Whether or not his clinical approach will appeal to Tour judges remains to be seen, but history does not favor rookie technicians. Power and huevos seem to be the key to first-year success (see: Seth Moniz, Wade Carmichael, and Connor O’Leary, rookies of the year in 2017/18/19).  

The final was another tepid affair. As Ross noted, the predicted six-to-eight foot waves never materialized. It seemed the new energy was spreading itself wide rather than tall, leading to small, stretched-out walls that were difficult to surf. Frederico Morais found slower, more shouldery waves than his competitors, allowing a greater number of turns and therefore greater scores. 

Leo and Ethan each had a chance in the dying minute, but their waves shut down quick. Year-old iPhones in the liquid form. The Portuguese panther reigned supreme, followed by Leo, then Matt, then Ethan. 

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Here’s the QS breakdown:

Frederico Morais went from sixth to first on the QS; his CT spot is now guaranteed.

Leo Fioravanti went from 174th to 36th on the QS. This is vital for Leo, as it’s unlikely he’ll receive a CT injury wildcard in 2020 (Mikey Wright and ADS will probably lay claim to those). He’ll need first or second at Sunset to requalify.

Matthew McGillivray went from 13th to sixth on the QS. It is very likely that will be enough for him to qualify.

Ethan Ewing went from 41st to 17th on the QS. He’ll need something like a semifinal at Sunset to requalify. 

Connor O’Leary went from eighth to seventh on the QS. It’s likely that will be enough for him to requalify.

Barron Mamiya went from 12th to 10th on the QS. He’ll most likely need to better one of his results at Sunset to qualify.

As it currently stands, Deivid Silva remains in a qualifying position on both the QS and CT. If this is still true following Sunset and Pipe, the 11th-rated QS surfer will earn a CT 2020 slot.

Any further questions should be answered here. 

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