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Maui’s Jackson Bunch Wins 2023 The Hawaiian Islands HIC Haleiwa Pro : Maui Now

Pictured: Erin Brooks (CAN) (L) and Jackson Bunch (HAW) (R) emerged victorious at Haleiwa and claimed Sambazon World Junior Championships spots. Credit: © WSL / Heff

Maui‘s Jackson Bunch (HAW) emerged victorious at The Hawaiian Islands HIC Haleiwa Pro, a Hawaii/Tahiti Nui Qualifying Series (QS) 1,000, in solid six-to-eight foot conditions over heavily-stacked fields over the weekend.

Bunch officially secured his place into the Sambazon World Junior Championships with his win, joining Shion Crawford (HAW) – who claimed the 2023 Hawaii/Tahiti Nui Pro Junior Regional title.

Jackson Bunch at The Hawaiian Islands HIC Pro (12.03.23) PC: Tony Heff Photography / © WSL

A slow start to the men’s Final gave way to reigning Hawaii/Tahiti Nui QS Regional victor Jackson Bunch (HAW) posting a 7.75 on his decimating backhand against Haleiwa’s hometown hero Shion Crawford (HAW), Maui’s in-form Cody Young (HAW), and CT competitor Jake Marshall (USA), according to the World Surf League.

But, Marshall answered with an excellent 8.00 of his own to put pressure on the Hawaii/Tahiti Nui contingent moving into the back half of the heat. Young catapulted himself from fourth to first place with his searing forehand, earning a 7.00 and looked to have a second-career QS win within grasp. 

But, WSL described Bunch’s backhand as “undeniable” and he retook the lead heading into the dying minutes to secure his second-career QS win. 

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“Haleiwa is such a hard wave so I knew I had to go in head down and just watching Erin [Brooks] she was sending it so hard and knew I had to do something like that,” Bunch told the WSL. “I got lucky and got the last wave and just tried to surf it as good as I could. [Having a shot at World Juniors] is what every junior wants. Kai Barger won it and I want to do that and make Maui proud, hopefully win another one for the island. Now I’m just excited to go surf in paradise down [in Rangiroa].”

With a massive win, Bunch earned his place back into the Sambazon World Junior Championships. A dream run through Finals Day witnessed Maui’s own, Bunch, earn a convincing Round of 32 victory before earning an advancing place behind Crawford in both the Quarterfinals and Semifinals. Now, Bunch prepares for his redemption run at the World Junior Championships before the final QS event of the year where he looks to defend his Rangiroa title, according to the WSL.

Erin Brooks at The Hawaiian Islands HIC Pro (12.03.23) PC: Tony Heff Photography / © WSL

In the women’s division, Erin Brooks(CAN) took the title.

The women’s Final featured nearly all of the region’s top talents of the 2023/2024 season including No. 1 Keala Tomoda-Bannert (HAW), No. 2 Nora Liotta (HAW), No. 4 Erin Brooks (CAN), and rising regional threat Puamakamae DeSoto (HAW).

Tomoda-Bannert established her presence right away with a 6.75 (out of a possible 10), but Brooks responded with two scores to push herself into the lead early on in the heat with Liotta and DeSoto holding onto their backup scores, according to a WSL recap.

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But, Liotta continued to show her dominant form and pushed herself to an excellent 8.50 as Tomoda-Bannert also added a 7.90 to her score line to maintain control of the heat. But, Brooks wasn’t done and in the dying minutes of the Final dropped the event’s highest single-scoring wave of a 9.65 to overtake the lead and secure her first-ever WSL QS victory. 

“It’s super special to win here at Haleiwa,” Brooks told the WSL. “I’ve had some of my best amateur contests here and I feel super comfortable at this wave and I’m glad we got to score some firing Haleiwa. I didn’t care if I fell, I was just trying to get the biggest wave and hit it as hard as I possibly could to get the highest score and it happened. I’m super excited to be into the World Junior Championships. I was there last year at Seaside and getting to do the CT format is really great for all of us [Pro] Juniors.” 

Brooks’ win at the Corona Saquarema Pro earned her a spot back into the Challenger Series for 2024, but this win solidified her spot among the Sambazon World Junior Championships in January after earning her spot into the Final behind DeSoto in their Semifinal clash. Now, Brooks sets her eyes on a World Junior Championships title and taking on the world’s contenders for a chance to qualify for the 2025 Championship Tour (CT).

Tomoda-Bannert already had the Hawaii/Tahiti Nui QS Regional title to her name coming into Haleiwa after a dominant run through the season, including two victories and three Final appearances. The Kauaian’s breakthrough year will see her take on the region’s best from around the world in 2024 for her shot at qualifying for the CT.

“I feel like I had a really tough year last year so I just really just wanted a comeback year,” said Tomoda-Bannert in a news release. “Every contest I just didn’t want to feel satisfied and I’m really stoked to get second here and keeping my points well above everyone. As of right now I’m just trying to financially be okay for next year because it is expense and when I get there I’ll be set for the Challenger Series.” 

Pictured: Nora Liotta’s (HAW) best season yet earned her the 2023 Hawaii/Tahiti Nui Pro Junior Regional title. Credit: © WSL / Heff
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Shion Crawford and Nora Liotta Lead Hawaii/Tahiti into World Junior Championships

A third-place finish for Nora Liotta (HAW) notched a third-consecutive Final appearance as the Maui competitor claims the the Hawaii/Tahiti Nui Pro Junior Regional title. 

“It means so much to qualify for the World Junior Championships and get a regional title,” Liotta told the WSL. “It’s been a long learning process and I’m still learning. This is so much more to competing than just surfing heats and all competitive surfers know that. It has really pushed me and opened up my mindset to what’s achievable.” 

Haleiwa’s own Shion Crawford held firm for back-to-back Final appearances, earning fourth behind Maui’s Cody Young, who earned a season-best third-place finish, and now looks for his opportunity to continue showcasing his potential at the Sambazon World Junior Championships as Hawaii/Tahiti Nui Pro Junior Regional victor. 

“It feels good to get a rhythm going in contests,” said Crawford. “I’m stoked to be first in the rankings with all the guys in this region. And I’m really excited to have a shot at being a [WSL] World Junior Champion.” 

The men’s 2023/2024 Hawaii/Tahiti Nui QS season concludes at the Air Tahiti Rangiroa Pro beginning March 4-8.

Final Women’s Hawaii/Tahiti Nui 2023/2024 Rankings:
1. Keala Tomoda-Bannert (HAW)
2. Nora Liotta (HAW)* 
3. Erin Brooks (CAN)*
4. Eweleiula Wong (HAW)
*Notes Sambazon World Junior Championships qualifiers

Updated Men’s Hawaii/Tahiti Nui Rankings:
1. Shion Crawford (HAW)*
2. Jackson Bunch (HAW)*
3. Mihimana Braye (FRA)
4. Robert Grilho III (HAW)
5. Kai Martin (HAW)
*Notes Sambazon World Junior Championships qualifiers

The Hawaiian Islands HIC Haleiwa Pro Women’s Final Results:
1. Erin Brooks (CAN) 16.95                               1,000 points 
2. Keala Tomoda-Bannert (HAW) 14.65          800 points 
3. Nora Liotta (HAW) 14.25                                   650 points 
4. Puamakamae DeSoto (HAW) 8.90                600 points 

The Hawaiian Islands HIC Haleiwa Pro Men’s Final Results:
1. Jackson Bunch (HAW) 16.90          1,000 points 
2. Jake Marshall (USA) 14.30 
3. Cody Young (HAW) 11.00                   650 points 
4. Shion Crawford (HAW) 9.50             600 points

The Hawaiian Islands HIC Haleiwa Pro Women’s Semifinal Results:
HEAT 1: Nora Liotta (HAW) 10.15 DEF. Keala Tomoda-Bannert (HAW) 7.00, Eweleiula Wong (HAW) 5.15, Zoe McDougall (HAW) 4.15
HEAT 2: Puamakamae DeSoto (HAW) 9.10 DEF. Erin Brooks (CAN) 7.25, Luana Silva (BRA) 6.05, Moana Jones Wong (HAW) 2.10

The Hawaiian Islands HIC Haleiwa Pro Men’s Semifinal Results:
HEAT 1: Shion Crawford (HAW) 16.65 DEF. Jackson Bunch (HAW) 10.15, Eala Stewart (HAW) 6.75, Barron Mamiya (HAW) 6.00
HEAT 2: Cody Young (HAW) 16.30 DEF. Jake Marshall (USA) 14.40, Joshua Moniz (HAW) 14.10, Robert Grilho (HAW) 4.60

The Hawaiian Islands HIC Haleiwa Pro Men’s Quarterfinal Results:
HEAT 1: Shion Crawford (HAW) 10.80 DEF. Jackson Bunch (HAW) 10.10, Makana Franzmann (HAW) 9.55, Kai Martin (HAW) 8.05
HEAT 2: Barron Mamiya (HAW) 12.15 DEF. Eala Stewart (HAW) 10.25, Mihimana Braye (FRA) 8.00, Shayden Pacarro (HAW) 5.60
HEAT 3: Cody Young (HAW) 13.90 DEF. Robert Grilho (HAW) 7.55, Cole Alves (HAW) 7.40, Kai Paula (DEU) 4.15
HEAT 4: Joshua Moniz (HAW) 15.30 DEF. Jake Marshall (USA) 13.45, Eli Hanneman (HAW) 11.00, Jae Wood (HAW) 7.65

The Hawaiian Islands HIC Haleiwa Pro Men’s Round of 32 Results:
HEAT 1: Jackson Bunch (HAW) 16.00 DEF. Shayden Pacarro (HAW) 9.75, Merrik Mochkatel (HAW) 8.55, Kalani Rivero (HAW) 6.00
HEAT 2: Shion Crawford (HAW) 12.50 DEF. Eala Stewart (HAW) 8.80, Shiloh Tennberg (HAW) 7.25, Diego Ferri (HAW) 7.05
HEAT 3: Mihimana Braye (FRA) 7.35 DEF. Kai Martin (HAW) 3.85, Diesel Storm Butts (HAW) 2.40, Eimeo Czermak (PYF)
HEAT 4: Barron Mamiya (HAW) 15.60 DEF. Makana Franzmann (HAW) 13.65, Finn McGill (HAW) 12.30, Kala Willard (HAW) 2.50
HEAT 5: Cody Young (HAW) 15.35 DEF. Jake Marshall (USA) 14.80, Isaiah Moniz (HAW) 10.25, Luke Swanson (HAW) 8.25
HEAT 6: Kai Paula (DEU) 13.50 DEF. Jae Wood (HAW) 8.75, Sage Tutterow (HAW) 8.50, Mason Ho (HAW) 4.25
HEAT 7: Joshua Moniz (HAW) 12.15 DEF. Cole Alves (HAW) 11.50, Cody Robinson (AUS) 11.30, Torrey Meister (HAW) 9.50
HEAT 8: Eli Hanneman (HAW) 17.75 DEF. Robert Grilho (HAW) 13.25, Brodi Sale (HAW) 12.65, Nalu Deodato (HAW) 11.75

Source: Maui News

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