HALEIWA, HAWAII - FEBRUARY 18: (L to R) Brisa Hennessy of Costa Rica, Barron Mamiya of Hawaii, Malia Manuel of Hawaii and Kanoa Igarashi of Japan the Finalists at the Hurley Pro Sunset Beach on February 18, 2022 in Haleiwa, Hawaii. (Photo by Tony Heff/World Surf League)
Sunset Beach, the second stop on the WSL Calendar, served up six to eight-foot waves, and many an upset with world champions left in the wash of a field of rookie competitors.
The event saw the rookies dominating, with Brisa Hennesy and Barron Mamiya taking their first-ever victories and becoming world number one in the process, wearing the jeep leaders jersey, heading into the next events in Portugal.
The victory for Brisa also comes with an impressive honour; she is the first-ever Costa Rican to win a Championship Tour event in surfing history.
A Final with hefty implications unfolded as Hennesy and local charger Maria Manuel battled to see who would take the No. 1 spot on the World Rankings. Hennessy started off her first-ever CT Final with an early lead, but Manuel’s opening 6.33 put her right back in the heat and quick in-and-out to take the lead before making a priority error halfway through the affair.
Hennessy’s 5.23 put her back into the lead and required a 4.73 of Manuel heading into the final six minutes as the Kauian went for it all on a major maneuver and fell from the top to the bottom. The Costa Rica representative found one last opportunity and turned in a 7.00 to secure her a massive victory, the country’s first on the CT.
“I’ve just dreamed about this moment and never thought it was possible,” said Hennessy. “It was an honor to surf against Malia. I feel like she has such an amazing connection out here and just all the people in my life, thank you. This is the reason I was able to do this today.”
he men’s Final also featured a battle for the yellow jersey between wildcard Mamiya and CT veteran Igarashi that unfolded in historic fashion. Mamiya is the first men’s wildcard to win an event since 2008. A slow start gave way to fireworks as Igarashi put pressure on the wildcard after a priority mistake by Mamiya, who recovered brilliantly with back-to-back scoring waves to accrue a 15.00 heat total and left his seasoned competitor in need of a near-perfect 9.50. But the local North Shore competitor wasn’t done yet and dropped the hammer on a major, two-turn combination to earn an 8.83 and leave Igarashi in need of two new waves with just two minutes remaining.
“I can’t believe it, I literally can’t believe it,” said Mamiya. “I thought Pipe was going to be the event I was going to do really well in. I’m so comfortable at Pipe and I wasn’t really super prepared for this event but in my mind I just had to adapt to whatever the conditions are and figure it out. It doesn’t even feel real. I want to thank all my friends and family, my mom and my dad sacrificed so much for me, and I want to thank Shaun Ward too. He’s been with me since day one, and he’s really helped me so much through a lot of tough times.”
“At the end of last year I was really bummed with my performance in 2021,” added Mamiya. “I didn’t make a heat on the QS and was coming off an injury. There were just a lot of things not going my way. I wasn’t even on Tour and got into Pipe through a wildcard and got another wildcard here so I’m just super stoked.”
We’re excited to see what Brisa Hennessy and Barron Mamiya can do heading into Portugal.