I was on the beach at Pipeline in front of the Quiksilver house during Kanoa’s quarterfinal heat against Jordy Smith. It seemed all of the Hawaiians on the North Shore were holding their collective breath awaiting the outcome. If Kanoa won, he would double qualify, meaning he would place high enough on both the Qualifying Series and the Championship Tour to open up a space on the QS. That space would be for Zeke Lau, currently 11th on the QS, needing to be 10th to make the CT cut.
Kanoa pulled into a sweet tube and scored a 9.93 to start off his heat. The Quik house went wild. With each score, Zeke’s CT dreams became clearer. When Kanoa beat Jordy, he pointed straight to the house, and to Zeke, sharing his excitement and accomplishment with the entire team.
They’re a tight-knit group. With the exception of Jeremy Flores, they’re generally the same age and in the beginnings of their careers. During the Talk Story hosted by Peter Mel at Quiksilver’s Huntington Beach location, they shared what they’ve learned from each other, how grateful they are to have this second family through the stress of global travel, and opened up about how vulnerable they all are out there for their first or second year on the CT. Even the seasoned veteran, Jeremy, admitted that he learns a lot from the young guys as well, and finds inspiration in their stoke.
Quiksilver has put a lot on the line hosting such a young and inexperienced team. It’s been paying off. Kanoa just won the Vans US Open, Zeke has been charging head to head on heavy waves, Connor O’Leary has been making it through tough heats with consistency. We’ve seen Lenardo Fioravanti take out the likes of Kelly Slater on multiple occasions, and Jeremy is still one of the best back-hand tube riders on tour. These are the guys to watch right now.
Check out the conversation below: