O’Neill World Cup of Surfing: underdog time

In the first day of competition in O’Neill World Cup of Surfing, the greatest surprise came from South Africa.

Rudy Palmboom, 22, got the highest wave heat total (15.34) of the day and secured a place in the next round, here in Hawaii.

“It’s pretty fun out there and a lot bigger than I thought it would be,” said Palmboom. “I got an 8.67, a nice little barrel. I lucked into a good wave straight after the siren. It’s more spread out and there’s a lot of waves coming through, which makes it a lot more fair".

Will the O’Neill World Cup of Surfing be the event of the underdogs?

The crew from California experienced mixed feelings. San Clemente’s Chris Ward and San Diego’s Austin Ware progressed through the round while Tim Reyes (Huntington Beach) and Chris Waring (Seal Beach) were eliminated.

That's life out there in the lineup. “Being off the (elite World Tour) I get a lot of open time to surf different waves year round. But to be back here at Sunset and the Triple Crown feels good. I’m happy to be here", said Ward.

The Hawaiian keeps delivering solid performances. Joel Centeio, Sunny Garcia, Myles Padaca and Pancho Sullivan are through to the next stage and proved their intimate knowledge of positioning and wave selection in one of the gnarliest surf spots in the world.

“I was actually a little nervous,” said Centeio. “You come off such a big result like Haleiwa and you want to follow up with another big one.