2019 Da Hui Backdoor Shootout – event recap by Zane Schweitzer
«Getting the invite to come over to the north shore of Oahu for the Backdoor Shootout is a true honour! Not only being able to surf one of the worlds most prestigious waves with less than five people in the water, but also having the chance to SUP at this wave and show the world what we can do on a Stand Up Paddleboard at a wave like backdoor and pipeline.
This year I received the invite from Kainoa Mcgee just after Christmas, and it was one of the best Christmas gifts I received this year! I always am very excited to receive the invite each year and grateful for the welcome back each time. The Competitions holding period is from January 1st to January 15th, and luckily I was committed to being home for holiday season and the north swells that come to Hawaii often in the winter! I made plans to head to North Shore Inn train I’m glad I did so as the days before the competition I had some of the best waves I’ve ever scored at Backdoor! I felt super confident approaching the event this year with the extra training I got in at the event site hustling with the crowd and tight pack of pro surfers.
The competition got called on for SUP, Longboard and Bodysurf January the 11th and the waves were really fun but challenging with the swell direction and size. It was about 4-6ft Hawaiian more north that pipeline likes, this was making for fewer quality waves at pipeline and more consistent backdoor rights. It was challenging because it was not holding open perfect, so it really came down to selecting the appropriate wave that would allow for a nice long ride in the barrel while still being able to navigate out of it and not getting the frequent «clamp» of the barrel ending the ride.
There were two heats of 35 minutes followed by a 35 minute final and I was up in the first heat. Super excited to have the lineup to ourselves I took the opportunity to catch plenty waves and pack a few fun barrels! About 15 minutes into the heat I had caught a few waves but hadn’t made it out of any great barrels. I remember seeing locals boys Mo Freitas and Keali’i Mamala in rhythm so I took note of their position and did my best to line up with a good wave that would let me out! I was able to get another wave but nothing I was super satisfied with and the time just ticked away. I finished the heat thinking I may have missed the top 3 into the final…
On the way in Kainoa Mcgee asked me to join the commentating booth to share some words with the live feed and the views on the beach. That cheered me up real quick as I had a lot of fun announcing the action in heat 2 with Duane Desoto, local Hawaiian Waterman and world champion long.boarder. In the middle of our chats, we found out the results from my heat and was relieved to have advanced into the final after a close call not quite getting in rhythm in heat 1. After some fun commentating on the SUP and Longboard division, I then left the booth to prepare for the final.
In the final, it was Tehotu Wong, Mo Freitas, Pomai Hoapili, Bullet Obra and myself and the waves seemed to have gotten better from my first heat although still pretty inconsistent with the gems. I prepared for the heat on the beach stretching and watching the waves while making a few landmarks to line up within hopes I could be in a better rhythm with the set waves this time. I got out into the water and within minutes of the start I got into a great wave riding the barrel through the first backdoor section then dragged my butt in the water with my hand on the rail to slow down for the next barrel section on the inside where I timed it really well and had a nice double barrel. Although on the exit of the doggy-door just before the wave closed out I caught my inside rail and disconnected with my board… I was pretty bummed because I knew that would have been a great score, although, I couldn’t hang in the past, it was time to be present and find the quickest current and rout back out to the lineup. I waited patiently for another and found myself in a paddle battle with Mo Freitas on a great wave. We both dug deep for it but in the end, he was in priority position. «That wave was a good one, damn!», I remember thinking.
My next wave I was able to get a nice backdoor barrel with a nice clean exit but not nearly as deep and critical as my previous, but still a score on the board. Once back out I waited out the back with Tehotu for a set and as time ticked down Mo was staying busy with the medium-sized ones seeming to get some good barrels. The sets of the heat rolled in though and Tehotu and I were paddling to position ourselves. Tehotu was in priority for the first wave which seemed to be an epic left barrel at Pipe and I scratched in looking for the Backdoor shootout heat winner. I was deep and the wave was stacking up quick so I continued to Dig Deep. Getting into the wave with good speed I grabbed my rail and travelled through the barrel until it raced way out ahead and the bottom dropped. I got pulled all the way in and the clock was running out time so I paddle hard to get back out for one more. With the dying seconds of the heat I made it back to the lineup and squeaked under a double left at pipe driving down the line and travelling through a nice hollow barrel that got tighter and tighter towards the end but I able to navigate through and finish the heat with a nice ride on the buzzer.
I was in top 3 before this wave but following it I believe it bumped me up into 2nd. Mo won the heat scoring a solid 9.0 ride. We were paddle battling each other on and clearing showing his local knowledge staying busy with some nice barrels on the backdoor rights. The closing ceremony and official results will be released on the 16th and I look forward to seeing how all the athletes panned out!
Mahalo Hui o He’e Nalu, aloha a hui hou!!
See you guys on the water!»
– Zane Schweitzer
Pic Credits: Matty Schweitzer
Video Replay: 2019 Da Hui Backdoor Shootout Final Day