With trades blowing 15-25 knots and 3-5 feet wind blown swell yesterday at the trials for the main event, which starts today, 64 trialists battled it out for the remaining 32 slots in the means contest.
With a new swell expected to hit the north shore of Maui over the coming days the stage is now set for an explosive week of down the line action.
With the wind a fraction on shore the conditions were tricky here at Hookipa and favoured the experienced Hawaiian locals. Stand out sailors in the line up advancing to join the 32 seeded PWA pros were Konan LANG (Naish), Sean ORDONEZ, Sam IRELAND (Neil Pryde, Starboard), Jason PRIOR (Neil Pryde), Jason STONE, Takaharu KAMAGUCHI (Neil Pryde) and Nat GILL.
With two waves and one jump counting, many sailors chose to open up their accounts blasting towards the main peak and nailing a jump right on the green flag, whilst a slightly messy swell, meant there was an element of luck picking off the best waves during the heats. Despite the tough conditions there was still plenty of radical wave action throughout the day, entertaining the crowds on the hill and keep the five man judging panel busily glued to the action.
Competing in the trials were two of the youngest entrants ever to enter a Hawaiian wave sailing competition. Conner BAXTER (aged 9) and Kai LENNY (aged 11) both sailed bravely in their heats but failed to advance against their elder and more experienced adversaries, nevertheless names to watch out for in the future!
Canadian sailor, Jason PRIOR, camped out in the Hookipa Car Park last night to ensure a front row parking position, now that's dedication! Prior made it through but reckoned he would revert back to his bed at home to rest up for the first day's action.
Other sailors advancing included Riley COON (Starboard), Nick WARMOUTH (Starboard, Gaastra), Ian BLACK, Andy FUNNEL (Gaastra, F2), Tony GARCIA, Martin Van GEENHOVEN and Baptiste GOSSIEN (JP, Neil Pryde).
On deck ready to compete, the big guns include Levi SIVER (Starboard), Jason POLAKOW (JP, Neil Pryde), Nik BAKER (North, Mistral), Josh STONE (JP, Neil Pryde), Robby SWIFT (JP, Neil Pryde), Kevin PRITCHARD (Gaastra, Starboard), Scottie MCKERCHER (Starboard), Daida MORENO (Mistral, North) and Karin JAGGI (F2, Arrows). Every sailor here will no doubt be hoping to fulfill the ultimate wave sailors dream and win here in Maui at the worlds most prestigious wave sailing venue.
By late evening the swell here at Hookipa was already showing signs of building, with a few logo plus high sets breaking waves on the reefs. With winds forecast to switch to a more cross offshore direction it looks like the official start to the 2004 PWA Hawaii Pro could kick off with a day of explosive action.
All the latest results and photos are available on the PWA website at the address below.