In just four days, the world’s top female surfers will gather on the Valley Isle for the start of the 2021 World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT) as the 12-day waiting period for the much-anticipated Maui Pro presented by ROXY begins Friday, Dec. 4 at Honolua Bay. Last year, the women were treated to dazzling conditions as six-to-eight-foot surf rolled into the right-hand point break. As excitement builds for the start of the 2021 CT, all of the athletes are hoping Honolulu Bay dishes out similar conditions.
The Maui Pro is the first CT stop in almost a year for the world’s top women surfers after the 2020 CT was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since that time, the WSL has been collaborating with state and county leaders in Hawaii, in addition to public health and medical experts, which allowed the competition to move forward as a non-spectator film production with comprehensive coronavirus protocols in place.
“We believe it is fitting to open this historic season in Hawaii, the birthplace of surfing, and we are honored that WSL chose Maui to open the Women’s Championship Tour,” said Maui County Mayor Mike Victorino. “We wish all of the competitors the best of luck, and are excited to welcome them to Maui after a long hiatus for surfing and tourism due to COVID-19.”
Hawaii’s Bettylou Sakura Johnson (above) will now compete against the world’s best surfers after receiving the wildcard for the 2021 Maui Pro. The 15-year-old is a proven competitor in waves of consequence and will showcase her skills on the elite surfing stage once the competition commences. The Oahu local had a strong start to 2020, winning both the Junior and QS Papara Pro Open in Tahiti, and will be one to watch when she takes on reigning World Champion Carissa Moore and Bronte Macaulay in Heat 3 of the opening round.
Honolua Bay Swell Check
As seven-time WSL Champion Stephanie Gilmore, four-time WSL Champion Carissa Moore, Olympic qualifier Caroline Marks, and other top contenders prepare to do battle in one of Hawaii’s most epic surf breaks, conditions at Honolua Bay are expected to pick up at the start of the window.
Surfline Forecast for Maui Pro: “The North Pacific is in an active phase and we’ll be tracking several storms and swells during the next couple of weeks. The start of the event window should see more westerly angled swells – which will likely limit size at Honolua somewhat – but contestable, fun-size surf is currently expected. A more significant swell is lining up for the 7th-8th and we may see more swell toward the middle of the month and the tail end of the event window.”
The WSL has worked with medical experts and state and county officials to help ensure the Maui Pro presented by ROXY is safe for athletes, staff, and the community. To help prevent large gatherings, the competition is being staged as a non-spectator film production. In addition, the WSL requires multiple COVID-19 tests for athletes and staff, daily temperature checks, physical distancing measures, minimal personnel on-site, and frequent disinfecting of common surfaces. These standards were developed using guidelines from the World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and are in place for the entire film industry in Hawaii.
The Maui Pro presented by ROXY opens on Dec. 4 and runs through Dec. 15, 2020. The competition will be broadcast LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com and the free WSL app. Also, check local listings for coverage from the WSL’s broadcast partners. The competition will be carried locally in Hawaii by the Spectrum Surf Channel.
Maui Pro pres. by ROXY Seeding Round 1 Matchups
Heat 1: Lakey Peterson (USA), Nikki Van Dijk (AUS), Keely Andrew (AUS)
Heat 2: Caroline Marks (USA), Isabella Nichols (AUS), Tyler Wright (AUS)
Heat 3: Carissa Moore (HAW), Bronte Macaulay (AUS), Bettylou Sakura Johnson (HAW)
Heat 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Malia Manuel (HAW), Macy Callaghan (AUS)
Heat 5: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Johanne Defay (FRA), Brisa Hennessy (CRI)
Heat 6: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA), Courtney Conlogue (USA), Sage Erickson (USA)
For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.