Surfing-Costa Rica's Hennessy, Hawaii's Mamiya score maiden wins
(Reuters) - Hawaiian wildcard Barron Mamiya beat Japan's Olympic silver medallist Kanoa Igarashi in the final of surfing's Hurley Pro Sunset Beach on Friday, catapulting the youngster to the top of the world championship tour rankings after two events.
Costa Rica's Brisa Hennessy also won her first world championship event, taking out Hawaii's perennial bridesmaid Malia Manuel in the women's final. She will also take the yellow leader's jersey as the world tour heads to Portugal.
The event marked a return to top level competitive surfing at Sunset Beach - a powerful, unpredictable wave breaking over a wide playing field that is renowned for humbling younger, less experienced surfers.
Yet it was a crop of mostly rookies and relative newcomers who dominated and made it through to the finals after a string of upsets in both the men's and women's draw.
Mamiya, 22, made few mistakes and impressed judges, sending buckets of spray with each powerful turn.
"I was really bummed with my performance in 2021, I didn't make a heat on the (qualifying series) and was coming off an injury," Mamiya said at the awards ceremony. "There was just a lot of things not going my way, and this is just ... I can't believe it."
Mamiya snuck into the final with a last-minute win in his semi over Brazil's Caio Ibelli, turning the tables after a similar loss on the buzzer against 11-time world champ Kelly Slater at the previous event at Pipeline.
Hennessy, also 22, fought her way through qualifying to get back onto the 2022 tour. She scored highly throughout the event with sharp, carving turns and critical attacks of the pitching lips.
"I've just dreamed about this moment, I never thought it was possible," a beaming Hennessy said from the water straight after her win.
Manuel, the local favourite going into last heat, now has seven championship tour finals without a win, and just couldn't find the waves in the smaller, somewhat inconsistent conditions.
Slater, the 50-year-old legend who won the season opener, was knocked out of the Sunset event early after picking up an interference penalty.
After Portugal, the tour heads to Australia for a two-event leg before a mid-season cut reduces both the men's and women's fields by half.
(Reporting by Lincoln Feast in Sydney; Editing by Richard Pullin)
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