Sunset Beach’s Maeda Wins Hainan Pro
By WILL HAYDEN-SMITH and CENTRAL ISLANDER STAFF
Sunset Beach native Mahina Maeda won the first women’s qualifying series event of 2015 at the Samsung Galaxy Hainan Pro in Hainan, China.
Maeda’s victory was her second recent win after she took the WSL World Junior Title in Portugal in November.
The 16-year-old showed her versatility in the two events, as the Portugal contest featured a right-hand break and the China meet a left-hand break. Maeda started from behind in the all-goofy-footer (right foot forward) final, but fought back with a solid 9.0 ride to steal the win. “It feels incredible to win the first event of the season,” Maeda said. “I really didn’t have high expectations about the surf before I came here, but it turned out to be really good and even one of the best waves we have on the women’s QS. I finished 16th or 17th on the QS last year and only did half the events. This year, I really want to qualify and be the youngest surfer on the WCT (World Championship Tour) next year.”
On the way to securing the victory, Maeda overcame a perfect 10.0 ride by Australia’s Bronte Macaulay.
Maeda also made news in November by being the second woman to ride Portugal’s massive waves at Nazare, a ride included in the 2015 Billabong Ride of the Year — XXL Big Wave Awards.