Joel Centeio wins the Reef Pro in Haleiwa, Hawaii. Half an hour earlier and the final of the event was far from decided. The day prior, a 10-foot northwest flushed through the North Shore, giving the Triple Crown their first glimpse of legit Hawaiian conditions. But today, with the pudgy remnants of swell lingering in the lineup, finding the right sets proved to be a mission in and of itself. To win became a game of patience.
Surfing against the likes of Jay Thompson, CJ Hobgood, and Alain Riou, Joel managed to keep his composure throughout the wave-starved final, opting to sit out the back and wait for the inconsistent, open-mouthed sets. And in the waning minutes of the heat, with it all on the line and needing a solid score to win the event, Joel found his wave—a double-overhead runner that pitted him into the toilet bowl section. A 9.3. He’d found his win on that wave and knew it.
“All day I was just trying to be patient. There were tough competitors all day and I knew if I was patient and my positioning was correct I would get the good sets. If I got all the good sets then I would make it out of all my heats,” said Centeio. “In the final I was going for first place and I wasn’t going for anything else. There were some lulls and I just sat out the back. I was 50 yards away from those guys. I was praying for a set. Then that set came. I got that shack then heard all the friends and family cheering for me. When I came out of that barrel it was the best feeling ever and I had to throw the claim…”