Eli Hanneman, of Maui, earned his first Qualifying Series victory on Tuesday. Hanneman won the men’s title at the World Surf League Hawaii/Tahiti nui Priority Destinations Pro. The event was presented by First Hawaiian Bank and Mastercard. It was held at Ala Moana Bowls on Oahu.
The 19-year-old, a Lahaina native, fought off Jackson Bunch (Maui), Joshua Moniz (Oahu), and Kai Martin (Oahu) in the final. He opened with a crazy aerial assault that included full rotation and then landed for a near perfect 9.50. His backhand attack and another spectacular rotation earned him the highest heat total in the event.
With the hopes of securing a spot on The Championship Tour, he now travels to South Africa for the Challenger Series.
Bunch, the eventual runner-up, made his presence felt throughout finals day. He earned multiple outstanding scores and a near-perfect heat score of 18.00 in the semis.
This was Bunch’s career-best QS result. Bunch overcame threats from Tanner Hendrickson, Ian Gentil, and Billy Kemper, all from Maui. Bunch is now sitting at number 2 in the regional QS rankings, with a solid foundation for CS qualification early.