by Kyveli Diener

Despite challenging conditions in gusting trade winds, competitors in the opening rounds of the Sunset Open managed to post notable scores on memorable rides, including a 9-point barrel from California’s Shaun Burns in the second heat of Round 2, where he bested Hawaii’s own Kai Lenny, Edrick Baldwin, and Tyler Newton to earn a spot in the forthcoming third round. The final five heats of Round 2 will be first on the docket when the Men’s QS 1,000 resumes next week as contest directors are eyeing Sunday as a possible run day for the Sunset Junior Pro.

“Day one of the waiting period and we’ve had some excellent surf, 6-8 foot with some strong easterly winds but a great first day,” said WSL Hawaii/Tahiti Nui Tour Manager Marty Thomas. “The swell’s forecasted to drop over the next couple days, we’ll make the call tomorrow and the next day. But it’s looking like for the weekend maybe Sunday for the Juniors and then there’s a new swell for Monday and Tuesday to finish up the main event.”

Though the highest scoring ride of the day went to Santa Cruz native Burns, two of Hawaii’s most beloved Sunset chargers, Kalani David and Sunny Garcia, held it down for the local crew in their highly anticipated returns to competition.

“It was great to see Sunny Garcia back out in the water,” Thomas said. “He made his heat today, and he had one of the strongest turns out there today. We’ve seen some great surfing, some great scores in the first two rounds of the event and it’s only going to get better I think with this forecast.”

Though many spectators lined the crumbling bike path to brave the high winds on Thursday, beach access and seating was and will remain extremely limited due to the excessive erosion caused by this winter’s swells at Sunset Beach. Live scoring can be followed on the World Surf League site and through the WSL app, said WSL Hawaii/Tahiti Nui Regional Media Manager Lauren Rolland.

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