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Zeke pulling into a clean one. Photo: ASP/ Kirstin

Hawaii's own Ezekiel Lau posted the largest victory of his young career yesterday by winning Sunset Beach. Lau's win earned him $40,000 and sees him close the year at 35th position on the ASP world rankings. While that doesn't qualify him for next year's elite tour, it does guarantee him an excellent seed. He also holds a shared lead in the Vans Triple Crown rankings with Michel Bourez heading into the Billabong Pipe Masters, where he is a local wildard entry.

Lau made a late tube-riding charge from behind to turn the tables on Damien Hobgood and Raoni Monteiro in the latter half of the 30-minute final. Fourth place was Portugal's Frederico Morais, who was announced the JN Chevrolet Rookie of the 2013 Vans Triple Crown. Lau went on the hunt and found his way onto the biggest waves of the final that also offered high-scoring tube riding potential.

For Lau and Morais to reach the final was an exceptional feat in itself. Both surfers entered the Vans Triple Crown with low seeds and therefore are surfing each event from the very first round. To reach the final they surfed seven rounds and endured every type of ocean and weather condition ranging from storm force winds and rain to wave face heights of 25 feet. They also knocked off the biggest names in surfing on the way: Lau took out 11-time world champion Kelly Slater in the round before the quarters; and Morais twice beat John John, eventually eliminating him in their semi-final.

"I can't believe it." said Lau. "I was building confidence through each heat. It seemed like things were going in my favor and I was just getting the waves I needed at the right time, so having that confidence going into the final felt good.

"I needed something to boost my confidence a little, this year has been kind of rough. You know that $40K feels good! Making the final is great. To come out with a win puts me in a better spot. My whole confidence and my whole game plan in my head and everything is going to be that much much better year next year."

Morais was ecstatic with his Hawaiian winter performance: "It was my first Triple Crown so I had no expectations for Hawaii," said Morais. "I was going to come here and just do my job and have fun and try to climb the ranks to guarantee my position on the Prime events for next year.

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Frederico Morais made his countrymen proud today. Photo: ASP/ Cestari

"I ended up doing the final here making seven rounds. I think it was really good because I could just proved myself in every size of wave and I had really good fun. I got perfect Sunset the first few heats and really scary Sunset. Today was really kind of challenging, but still it was a really good day and I had a lot of fun. Winning the rookie award means a lot to me."

RESULTS:

Final:

1st - Ezekiel Lau (HAW); $40,000 - 15.50pts

2nd - Damien Hobgood (USA); $20,000 - 14.30pts

3rd - Raoni Monteiro (BRA); $12,000 - 12.33pts

4th - Frederico Morais (PRT); $10,000 - 7.16pts

Semi Finals

H1: Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 15.6pts; Frederico Morais (PRT) 14.44pts; John John Florence (HAW) 13.34pts; Adam Melling (AUS) 10.97

H2: Damien Hobgood (USA) 16.77pts; Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 13.93pts; Taj Burrow (AUS) 12.36pts; Tim Reyes (USA) 9.83pts

Quarter Finals

H1: Frederico Morais (PRT) 15.20pts ; John John Florence (HAW) 13.76pts ; Ian Gentil 12.83pts ; Carlos Munoz (CRI) 11.60pts

H2: Adam Melling (AUS) 14.66pts ; Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 13.50pts ; Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 6.60pts ; Bede Durbidge (AUS) 4.47pts

H3: Damien Hobgood (USA) 13.37pts ; Tim Reyes (USA) 11.94pts ; Wade Carmichael (AUS) 11.67pts ; Alejo Muniz (BRA) 11.10pts

H4: Taj Burrow (AUS) 16.70pts ; Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 15.46pts ; Olomana Eleogram (HAW) 14.57pts ; Kiron Jabour (HAW) 10.10pts

Round of 32

H1: Ian Gentil (HAW) 13.17pts ; Adam Melling (AUS) 13.17pts ; Jay Thompson 11.37pts ; Hank Gaskell (HAW) 10.40pts

H2: Carlos Munoz (CRI) 15.00pts ; Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 14.70pts ; Ian Walsh (HAW) 7.24pts ; Makuakai Rothman 7.23pts

H3: Raoni Monteriro (BRA) 15.73pts ; Fredrico Morais (PRT) 9.62pts ; Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 9.60pts ; Kalani Chapman (HAW) 6.30pts

H4: Bede Durbridge (AUS) 15.33pts ; ; John John Florence (HAW) 10.93pts ; Gavin Gillette (HAW) 10.20pts ; Caio Ibelli (BRA) 9.67pts

H5: Alejo Muniz (BRA) 16.10pts ; Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 10.47pts ; Torrey Meister (HAW) 10.34pts ; Kelly Slater (USA) 7.80pts

H6: Wade Carmichael (AUS) 17.00pts ; Kiron Jabour (HAW) 13.17pts ; Krystian Kymerson (BRA) 7.40pts ; Dane Reynolds (USA) 6.75pts

H7: Taj Burrow (AUS) 15.26pts ; Damien Hobgood (USA) 12.74pts ; Beyrick De Vries (ZAF) 12.10pts ; Ricardo Christie (NZL) 9.83pts

H8: Eleogram Olamana (HAW) 16.34pts ; Tim Reyes (USA) 12.64pts ; Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 12.16pts ; Joel Centeio (HAW) 11.96pts