Surfing’s Keala Kennelly, 36, drew upon every ounce of her Pipeline and competitive experience today to win the Surf N Sea Pipeline Women’s Pro, presented by Brazilian Show Room. A seasoned professional and big wave specialist who has been ranked as high as #2 in the world, Kennelly was unstoppable in waves that ranged from clean 4- to 6-foot barrels in the morning, to hefty double-overhead, wind-blown beach break conditions in the final. The Surf N Sea Pipeline Women’s Pro is a QS1,000 event sanctioned by the World Surf League, and is run in conjunction with the Pipe Pro Junior Men’s event.Runner-up to Kennelly was North Shore’s rising star Honolua Blomfield (Haleiwa); third place was former touring professional Melanie Bartels (Waianae); fourth was Moana Jones (Haleiwa) – the youngest of the finalists at just 15 years of age who was impressive in the solid surf on hand.
From the outset of the 35-minute final, Kennelly took a totally different approach to the other finalists, heading further west towards gnarly waves at Off-The-Wall. It was there that she scored some of the biggest rides of the day, opting for high-risk vertical turns and critical close-out maneuvers that shot her to an early lead she never relinquished. Her rivals stayed busy, each scoring plenty of rides but none that matched the size and scoring potential of Kennelly’s.
“I’ve been surfing out here since I was about 12, so I’ve put in a lot of time,” said Kennelly. “Being a big wave surfer definitely helped today. I’ve taken my fair share of beatings, so for sure it helps to not be intimidated when the conditions are heavy like they were today.
“The final was tough. There were none of the barrels we had this-morning, so it all came down to big turns. I watched the heat before mine and saw Anastasia Ashley get a few of those wide ones, so I definitely knew what my strategy was.”
Equal fifth after semi-final losses were Southern Californian pair Natalie Anzivino and Anastasia Ashley.
(Surfers from Hawaii unless noted otherwise. Shown in order of 1st through 4th.)
SURF N SEA PIPELINE WOMEN’S PRO, Presented by Brazilian Show Room
1st – Keala Kennelly (Kauai) – 11.85 points; 1,000 ratings points, $2,000
2nd – Honolua Blomfield (Haleiwa) – 9.1 points; 750 ratings points, $900
3rd – Melanie Bartels (Waianae) – 7.9 points; 560 ratings points, $600
4th – Moana Jones (Haleiwa) – 5.8 points; 525 ratings points, $500
H1: Keala Kennelly; Honolua Blomfield; Natalie Anzivino (USA); Jessica Anderson (CHL)
H2: Melanie Bartels; Moana Jones; Anastasia Ashley (USA); Bianca Valenti (USA)
H1: Keala Kennelly; Jessica Anderson (CHL); Zoe McDougall; Sophia Bartlow
H2: Honolua Blomfield; Natalie Anzivino (USA); Emilia Perry; Bailey Nagy
H3: Anastasia Ashley (USA); Moana Jones; Frankie Harrer (USA); Kahanu Delovio
H4: Bianca Valenti (USA); Melanie Bartels; Brittany Penaroza; Hannah Van Veen
Continuation of Round of 32 from Tuesday…
H5: Frankie Harrer (USA); Brittany Penaroza; Kelta O’Rourke; Pomare Dreisziger (CHL)
H6: Moana Jones; Hanna Van Veen; Terumi Nakajima (n/s); Cayla Moore (n/s)
H7: Bianca Valenti (USA); Anastasia Ashley (USA); Malia Ward (USA); Brittany Gomulka
H8: Melanie Bartels; Kahanu Delovio; Emily Nishimoto; Jamilah Starr