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by Jesse Starling

Wow what a whirlwind of emotions yesterday was. From dreams coming true to absolute heartbreak, yesterday was a day to remember and a huge step forward for the future of female competitive surfing. They always say that Hawaii is the proving ground of surfing, that you have to do your time in Hawaii to be able to become the best surfer you can be. This being said we saw 6 extremely talented young women prove themselves, and by doing so they will now find themselves on the 2022 Championship Tour. 

India Robinson 2022 Championship tour rookie: Pic: WSL (found on Surfing Victoria)

First of all we would like to say a massive congratulations to all the competitors that competed in the 2021 Challenger series. The bar for female surfing has radically lifted and each and everyone of these competitors proved this and should be immensely proud of themselves. After watching these women compete in America, Portugal and France emotions were pretty heightened coming into Hawaii. With around 18 girls in contention for qualification we knew it was going to be a tight race to the finish line. However, at the end of the day only 6 females could qualify for the dream tour. 

Bettylou Sakura Johnson and Molly Picklum after Semi final No:2 Pic: WSL

Sitting pretty at the top of the rankings we had the amazing Gabriela Bryan and Brisa Hennessy who had solidified their spot on the dream tour before even entering the final challenger series event in Hawaii and were looking dominant to take out the 1 and 2 places of the challenger series rankings for 2021. Almost everyone needed a solid result to qualify for the CT so it was all about who would rise up and push through the pressure. It came down to the semi finals with Alyssa Spencer, Vahine Fierro, Molly Picklum, Luana Silva and Bettylou Sakura Johnson all on the same points. At this point in time 2 more qualifying spots had been filled by Caity Simmers and India Robinson, meaning that there were only 2 spots left with 5 girls all in contention. However, to make the challenge harder for these girls they had to compete against two CT powerhouses Carissa Moore and Lakey Peterson to reach their dream goals.  

Brisa Hennessy 2022 Championship tour surfer Pic: WSL

Unfortunately we saw, Alyssa Spencer and Vahine Fierro fall out of contention in the first Semi final meaning that Bettylou and Molly had to both get 3rd or above in their semi final to qualify for the dream tour. If one of them got 4th this meant that Luana Silver got the final spot on the dream tour. Unfortunately we saw Molly place 4th in the dying seconds of the heat meaning that Bettylou Sakura Johnson and Luana Silva found themselves in the final two qualifying positions for the 2022 dream tour.

Luana Silva 2022 Championship Tour Rookie: Pic: WSL

After all the highs of qualifying were decided by the end of the Semi finals it was time to focus in on who would be the champion of the 2021 Haleiwa Pro. We had the worlds best and probably the crowd pick of Carissa Moore up against an inform Gabriela Bryan, India Robinson and Bettylou Sakura Johnson. At the end of the day there could only be one winner. We saw the young and recently qualified Bettylou Sakura Johnson not only take out the title but beat one of her idols as well. We believe she was the most consistent and inform surfer of the event and you could see she knew the lineup like the back of her hand. She wasn’t afraid to push the limits in her surfing even when under immense amount of pressure and for that we would like to congratulate her.  

Bettylou Haleiwa Challenger Series Champion, 2022 Championship tour Rookie Pic: WSL

We would like to say a huge congratulations to Gabriela Bryan (Hawaii), Brisa Hennessy (Costa Rica), Caity Simmers (USA), India Robinson (AUS), Bettylou Sakura Johnson (Hawaii) and Luana Silva (Hawaii)  for achieving their goals and qualifying for the 2022 Championship Tour! These 6 women were consistent and dedicated, between the 6 of them they took home the results of 4 firsts, 4 seconds, 2 thirds and 3 fifths. We look forward to seeing Brisa Hennessy back on the dream tour for another year and to see how the 5 rookies go in the big leagues! Once again we couldn’t be prouder of how far the sport has come and we cannot wait to continue to be a part of and watch the sport grow! 

Bring on Pipe and bring on 2022! 


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