Entries are now officially open for the APP World Tour season opener at Sunset Beach on the North Shore of Oahu, with a holding period going from the 11th – 23rd February 2019.
The Sunset Beach Pro was the first official stop on the APP World Tour back in 2010, and has served as an annual homecoming for the Tour since its inception, providing some of the most spectacular and groundbreaking performances in the sport of Stand Up Paddling. 9 years on, and after 8 years of incredible action packed events at Sunset, the APP World Tour will return to Sunset Beach for the 2019 edition of the Sunset Beach Pro. As the Tour embarks on its 10th season this year, the APP is also happy to announce that the Sunset Beach Pro’s future is secure for the next 3 years, following the conclusion of the new triannual permitting process for the North Shore Parks.
Sunset Beach has always been somewhat of a proving ground for the World’s Best, as they not only are required to step up and take on one of the most challenging waves in the World to compete on, they have to overcome a wealth of local talent. All of whom have a track record of putting on legendary performances at Sunset Beach (Kala Alexander and Bonga Perkins to name just a few, with Bonga taking the win back in 2012, and Kala Alexander consistently finishing in the latter rounds with stand out performances).
2019 will be no different, except that the talent level has again risen through the roof this year, clearly illustrated by performance levels at the World Tour Finals last month, in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. There we saw Tahitian paddler Poenaiki Raioha put on a fine performance of rail to rail surfing like no other, and Sean Poynter take the World Title in pristine conditions. Among other names to watch out for: Kai Lenny, who will return to one of his favourite waves in the World to kick off the season, while we will also see the welcomed return of 2 times Sunset Beach Pro Champion Caio Vaz to the competition, after a serious injury sidelined him in 2018.
Will it be homegrown Mo Freitas’ moment to shine in 2019, or will Starboard rider Zane Schweitzer come into his own after having come so close to a World Title twice now on the APP World Tour. Another name to watch out for is one of the stand outs at the Gran Canaria Pro-Am, Sebastian Gomez from Peru: Sebastian has shone in previous years at Sunset Beach and given his performance last month, 2019 will be no different. One thing is for sure, the talent pool runs deep, and between the local favourites, the Australian powerhouses (look out for the return of James Casey, Keahi de Aboitiz and Davo Muir), the Brazilian storm (the Salazars, Lucas Medeiros, Wellington Reis and Luis Diniz), and finally the European contingent, who are hungry to take pole position (Benoit Carpentier, Alexis Deniel, Julien Bouyer), the future looks bright and the show will be red hot.
Amongst the women riders; one of the overwhelming takeaways from the 2018 season was the rise of Women talent on the APP World Tour: Notably Spanish rider Iballa Moreno‘s maiden World Title and stand out performances in both New York and Gran Canaria, plus Izzi Gomez’ performance level and victory at the Final event of the year that certainly shows she is still very much hungry for the Title. For sure the future is bright for Women’s SUP Surfing and Sunset Beach will once again provide the perfect canvas for a spectacular showdown.
Outside of the frontrunners, the emergence of new talent in 2018 was astonishing, with breakthrough performances by the likes of Dominique Miller from Hawaii, who will doubtless be ready and waiting for the World’s best on her home turf next month, Vania Torres from Peru, who showed phenomenal consistency and prowess across the Tour in 2018, and Gabi Sztamfater who stood out with strong showings in New York and Gran Canaria.
However, as we return to Sunset, you can’t count out the likes of 2013 World Champion Nicole Pacelli, who excels in big surf. Also Shakira Westdorp, a doubtless a major contender for the Title in 2019 based on her track record and comfortability in surf of all sizes and not forgetting Fiona Wylde who finished second behind Izzi Gomez two years in a row, with a memorable performance at Sunset in 2017. We can also not forget local talent such as Mariko Strickland Lum and Lara Claydon, who will be ready to take on the best of the best as they step up on their home turf.
In line with its past work with Na Kama Kai, the incredible non profit youth organization led by Ocean Sports legend Duane DeSoto, the APP World Tour will reinvigorate its focus on youth participation in 2019 with the cementing of the youth division of the 2019 Sunset Beach Pro, a move that will be a standard across all APP World Tour events moving forward. With U16 and U18 divisions shining bright last month at the Gran Canaria Pro-Am in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, we are excited to see a further surge in youth participation in 2019, as the APP World Tour opens its doors to the future.
In providing opportunity for the youth, the APP World Tour is also committed to honoring the legends of our sport, as we formally introduce a Masters Division into the 2019 Sunset Beach Pro. This division is for athletes of 50 and over, and provides the opportunity for talent of all ages and both sexes to step up and be counted. Entries can be completed for all divisions HERE