Williams Also Places 7th in Sunset Open Pro Junior
South Africans Benji Brand and Sebastian Williams posted impressive performances in the Sunset Open, a WSL Qualifying Series (QS) event that was completed in booming 3-4 metre waves at Sunset Beach in Hawaii on Saturday.
Competing against a top class 112 man field consisting mainly of experienced local professionals, Brand reached the semi-finals before bowing out in fifth place overall while Williams was ousted in the quarterfinals and placed ninth.
Brand, who turns 21 next week, hails from Cape Town but his family have a house in Hawaii and has accumulated an excellent track record at Sunset Beach where he has reached the finals of several junior and open events over the past five years.
Seeded to Round 3, Brand won his opening heat, finished runner-up to based extreme waterman Kai Lenny (HAW) in Round 4 and then won his Quarterfinal before placing third in his Semifinal encounter, pocketing US $600 (about R8,000) and 420 valuable QS rankings points.
Sixteen year-old Williams’ confidence boosting performance in his debut QS event at Sunset Beach showed a maturity far beyond his years. Starting his campaign with a heat win in Round 2, he selected the best waves on offer in the 25 minute clash and earned an excellent 8.50 (out of 10) from the judging panel.
Finishing runner-up in his Round 3 match-up, Williams bounced back to win his Round 4 duel, relegating eventual finalist Bino Lopez (BRA) to the runner-up berth as the pair advanced to the Quarterfinals, eliminating Sunset Beach standouts Kaimana Jaquias (HAW) and big wave charger and two-time Pe’ahi Challenge winner Billy Kemper (HAW) in the process.
The Durbanite’s wave-starved Quarterfinal was won by Brand with Miguel Tudela (PER) grabbing second spot just ahead of Williams, who took home R4,000 and 300 points.
The Sunset Open was won by Australian prodigy Jack Robinson who defeated 16-year-old Hawaiian standout Finn McGill, Lopez and Tudela in the Final.
Williams also took advantage of an alternate slot when one of the competitors in the Sunset Pro Junior withdrew last weekend, posting the highest heat scores in both Round 1 and 2 in the 18-and-under event. He again came up short in the Semifinals when he could not find a good backup score to go with the 7.50 he had bagged early in the heat.
The next event in Hawaii is the QS3,000 Volcom Pipe Pro in the hallowed waves of Pipeline where 11-time world champion Kelly Slater is the defending event winner and reigning WSL champion John John Florence is the top seed. The waiting period for the event begins starts on Tuesday and Benji Brand starts in Heat 13 of Round 2 while Sebastian Williams is on standby for an alternate slot.
Full results, images, video footage and more from the Sunset Pro events can be found at www.WorldSurfLeague.com and on the WSL App.
Sunset Open Results
Surfers shown 1st through 4th, all athletes from Hawaii unless otherwise noted
1st – Jack Robinson (AUS), 14.35 // 1000 points
2nd – Finn McGill (HAW), 14.25 // 750 points
3rd – Bino Lopes (BRA), 11.65 // 560 points
4th – Miguel Tudela (PER), 5.25 // 525 points
Semifinal, 1st and 2nd advance, 3rd = 5th place, 4th = 7th place
SF1: Miguel Tudela (PER), Bino Lopes (BRA), Benji Brand, Kai Lenny
SF2: Jack Robinson (AUS), Finn McGill, Ian Walsh, Imaikalani deVault
Quarterfinal, 1st and 2nd advance, 3rd = 9th place, 4th = 13th place
QF1: Bino Lopes (BRA), Kai Lenny, Josh Moniz, Taumata Puhetini (PYF)
QF2: Benji Brand, Miguel Tudela (PER), Sebastian Williams (ZAF), Kekoa Cazimero
QF3: Ian Walsh, Finn McGill, Barron Mamiya, Cody Young
QF4: Jack Robinson (AUS), Imaikalani deVault, Seth Moniz, Sheldon Paishon
Round of 32, 1st and 2nd advance, 3rd = 17 places, 4th = 25th place
H1: Joshua Moniz, Miguel Tudela (PER), Eli Olson, Kai Mana Henry
H2: Kai Lenny, Benji Brand, Keoni Yan, Yago Dora (BRA)
H3: Sebastian Williams (ZAF), Bino Lopes (BRA), Kaimana Jaquias, Billy Kemper
H4: Kekoa Cazimero, Taumata Puhetini (PYF), Parker Coffin (USA), Elijah Gates
H5: Finn McGill, Imaikalani deVault, Logan Bediamol, Noah Beschen
H6: Ian Walsh, Sheldon Paishon, Koa Smith, Reo Inaba (JPN)
H7: Seth Moniz, Barron Mamiya, Carlos Munoz (CRI), Danny Fuller
H8: Jack Robinson (AUS), Cody Young, Evan Valiere, Tanner Hendrickson
Sunset Open Pro Junior Results
Surfers shown 1st through 4th, all athletes from Hawaii unless otherwise noted.
1st – Barron Mamiya, 1000 points
2nd – Finn McGill, 750 points
3rd – Kauli Vaast (PYF), 560 points
4th – Cody Young, 525 points
Men’s Semifinals (1st and 2nd advance, 3rd = 5th place, 4th = 7th place)
SF1: Barron Mamiya, Cody Young, Ryder Guest, Kade Matson (USA)
SF2: Kauli Vaast (PYF), Finn McGill, Wyatt McHale, Sebastian Williams (ZAF)
Men’s Quarterfinals (1st and 2nd advance, 3rd = 9th place, 4th = 13th place)
QF1: Barron Mamiya, Cody Young, Ocean Macedo, Jake Riccobuano
QF2: Ryder Guest, Kade Matson (USA), Troy Osada, Joh Azuchi (JPN)
QF3: Finn McGill, Kaula Vaast (PYF), Logan Bediamol, Cole Alves
QF4: Sebastian Williams (ZAF), Wyatt McHale, Dylan Franzmann, Makana Pang
Men’s Round of 32 (1st and 2nd advance, 3rd = 17th place, 4th = 25th place)
H1: Cody Young, Ryder Guest, Marco Mignot, Luke Swanson
H2: Ocean Macedo, Troy Osada, Kyle Tester (USA), Rian Son (USA)
H3: Kade Matson (USA), Barron Mamiya, Dante Silva, Sacha Levy-Agami (PYF)
H4: Joh Azuchi (JPN), Jake Riccobuano, Kainehe Hunt, Eli Hanneman
H5: Finn McGill, Dylan Franzmann, Taro Watanabe (USA), Tony Nunez
H6: Cole Alves, Makana Pang, Kanoa Shannon, Levi Young
H7: Wyatt McHale, Kauli Vaast (PYF), Noah Beschen, Gavin Hogan
H8: Sebastian Williams (ZAF), Logan Bediamol, Robert Grilho III, Daiki Matsunaga (JPN)
NOTE: Complimentary high resolution images are available on request for media outlets
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