With the first three events of the World Surf League’s World Championship Tour season in the books, defending champion, North Shore’s John John Florence remains in the yellow jersey as the top ranked surfer in the world entering this week’s Oi Rio pro in Brazil.
John John isn’t the only Hawaii surfer holding a clubhouse lead with eight events to go.
Honolulu’s Ezekiel Lau is the current place-holder in the rookie of the year race.
Fresh off of a third place finish at Bell’s Beach in Australia, the Kamehameha graduate averages 13 points per heat and despite having enjoyed the last two weeks away from competition, the grind never stopped for Lau, having returned to Tactical Strength and Conditioning in Honolulu for training.
Under coach Darin Yap, Zeke’s training is geared towards landing his aerials and linking together power moves on waves of all sizes.
“Yeah, I guess I was kind of slacking off on the road so, I had to come back and get my body right and make sure everything is working well and you know, I was coming off of or actually started the year with a knee injury which kind of set me back as far as training wise, so I’m trying to make up for the last time.” said Lau.
When asked by KHON2’s Sam Spangler if he ever catches himself in awe of the stage that he is currently surfing on as part of the World Championship Tour, the rookie didn’t hide his emotions.
“Yeah, for sure. I mean, during the Bells Beach event I was doing that the whole time. I was just like, I can’t believe I’m making heats and I’m doing the things that I’m doing. I felt like I was like going outside of myself almost. But, I was enjoying every bit of it and that was the main thing. I think that I realized that you know, the more that I enjoy it and the more that I’m in the moment, then the better I do.”
The Oi Rio Pro, the fourth of eleven events on the WCT schedule has a holding period of May 9th-20th.
Oi Rio Pro Men’s Round 1 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Gabriel Medina (BRA), Ezekiel Lau (HAW), Nat Young (USA)
Heat 2: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Wiggolly Dantas (BRA), Jadson Andre (BRA)
Heat 3: Owen Wright (AUS), Jeremy Flores (FRA), Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA)
Heat 4: Kolohe Andino (USA), Josh Kerr (AUS), Jesse Mendes (BRA)
Heat 5: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Jack Freestone (AUS), Bino Lopes (BRA)
Heat 6: John John Florence (HAW), Miguel Pupo (BRA), Yago Dora (BRA)
Heat 7: Filipe Toledo (BRA), Frederico Morais (PRT), Ethan Ewing (AUS)
Heat 8: Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Ian Gouveia (BRA)
Heat 9: Joel Parkinson (AUS), Connor O’Leary (AUS), Joan Duru (FRA)
Heat 10: Michel Bourez (PYF), Mick Fanning (AUS), Bede Durbidge (AUS)
Heat 11: Sebastian Zietz (HAW), Conner Coffin (USA), Kanoa Igarashi (USA)
Heat 12: Julian Wilson (AUS), Caio Ibelli (BRA), Stuart Kennedy (AUS)
2017 WSL Men’s Jeep Leaderboard:
1 – John John Florence (HAW) 23,000 pts
2 – Jordy Smith (ZAF) 19,200 pts
2 – Owen Wright (AUS) 19,200 pts
4 – Adriano de Souza (BRA) 14,400 pts
5 – Kolohe Andino (USA) 13,750 pts
11 – Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 8,750 pts
Oi Rio Women’s Pro Round 1 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Carissa Moore (HAW), Sage Erickson (USA), Laura Enever (AUS)
Heat 2: Courtney Conlogue (USA), Nikki Van Dijk (AUS), Bronte Macaulay (AUS)
Heat 3: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Keely Andrew (AUS), Taina Hinckel (BRA)
Heat 4: Tyler Wright (AUS), Coco Ho (HAW), Bianca Buitendag (ZAF)
Heat 5: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW), Pauline Ado (FRA)
Heat 6: Johanne Defay (FRA), Lakey Peterson (USA), Silvana Lima (BRA)