CM – Maui’s deVault joins the WSL Championship Tour spot

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Imaikalani deVault, who will be shown at the Billabong Pipe Masters on December 11, 2019, goes into the series finale Michelob Ultra Pure Gold Haleiwa Challenger in 4th place in the Challenger Series. The top 12 of the series claim places on the Elite Championship Tour of the World Surf League for 2022. The holding period for Haleiwa Challenger begins today. WSL via Getty Images / Ed Sloane Photo

Imaikalani deVault is about to make surfing history for Maui, but it’s the kind heart he showed earlier this month that could reveal more about the Valley Isle’s fast-emerging professional surfer / p> DeVault currently ranks fourth in the World Surf League Challenger Series, with the last event’s hold period starting today.

The top 12 of the Challenger Series – which ends with the Michelob Ultra Pure Gold Haleiwa Challenger, which runs today until December 7th – advance to the Elite WSL Championship Tour, which is limited to the 32 best surfers in the world is.

DeVault, a 24-year-old 2015 graduate from Kamehameha Schools Maui, has been surfing since he was 6 and competed since he was 7.

« It has always been a goal from me, « said deVault on Wednesday. “I always knew I could do it, I really think so, that’s why I stuck with it. I’ve been doing the (Qualifying Series) full-time since 2016. So it was a process.

Imaikalani deVault is surfing the Hawaiian Pro at the Vans World Cup of Surfing on November 25, 2019 on Sunset Beach. With Dusty Payne (2011), DeVault will only be the second Maui surfer to make it onto the top-level championship tour. WSL via Getty Images / Tony Heff Photo

« Being in this position now is pretty surreal. I’ve wanted to do the tour since I was 12 – it was always on my head. ”

DeVault has already had three solid results in the Challenger Series of five events, with surfers getting their three best results for the final standings counting.

His team did the calculations and from all they can see deVault is already a virtual lock to get promoted to the Championship Tour.

He would be only the second CT surfer ever from the Valley Isle, alongside Dusty Payne, who became the first Mauian to make it to the top level of the sport in 2011.

“Dusty is the only Maui surfer to ever qualify, and there have been a few who have almost made it since Dusty but never quite made it, so it’s pretty special for me, ”said deVault. “This last event starts in two days and in about a week I’ll know exactly. At the moment it looks pretty safe, I’m almost 99 percent sure I’ll make it.

The dream would never have been born if it hadn’t been for the Hawaii Surfing Association events in Maui and across the state . At an HSA event at Hookipa Beach Park November 6-7, HSA equipment worth more than $ 10,000 was stolen, putting the event at risk.

When it became known on social media, drove deVault and his mother to the website and asked how much more money would be needed to cover the loss.

When told that $ 8,500 would be needed to replace the stolen property, brought deVault pulled out his checkbook and wrote a check for $ 8,500.

“It was really great that I could do this just to give something back because the surfing community on Maui, these HSAs, started there Said deVault. “Keeping this going and helping Papa John Willard and the family was very special for my family. We were super grateful to the HSA and the Maui Surf Ohana – that’s the base, that’s where it all started.

“To help the community and to give back, I always wanted to be in this position. It’s pretty great that I’m there and can do it. « 

Willard is the director of HSA Maui and said on Wednesday, » It was such a bittersweet thing. We didn’t even know if we’d be able to have a competition that day because they kind of took everything, but we put it all together and actually started half an hour early. « 

 » That kid seeing my nephew just blown up for HSA just remembering where he came from and remembering his roots was amazing – chicken skin, tears in his eyes, « said John Willard.

With the almost certain certainty that he is on the WSL Championship Tour 2022, deVault is simply looking forward to the opportunity to pin things down on Oahu’s North Shore.

“I’m not worried about it, now I’m looking forward to it just looking to do more in Hawaii and surf this final event, ”he said. « It’s kind of a way of thinking, ‘Oh, I’m there.’ Now it’s just time to perform. « 

 » It’s great, I think it’s so cool, and I’ve always dreamed of it ever since I watched Dusty as a kid and he was that hometown hero and all the kids on Maui Have looked up to him all our lives, ”deVault said. “It’s pretty crazy to be in this position now, representing Maui. It’s time because Maui has so much talent.

« There are more than enough people that should be on this tour, but it’s really hard to get there so it’s pretty special and I can’t wait to put Maui back on the map. »

« It’s so hard, some guys are doing this qualifying series, the QA, and trying to qualify for all of their lives, » said deVault. “You think about how many talented surfers there are all over the world, in the end there are 32 people on this tour and it’s really hard. It’s a drag.

“To qualify, you have to be in the top 10 in the QA, and that’s an achievement in itself. So hard. I’m fourth right now so it’s definitely kind of unreal. It hasn’t really hit me yet. … It’s like a dream, it doesn’t feel real right now. ”

DeVault has many people to thank for bringing him this far, including coach Pedro Robellino from Brazil.

« My family and friends and the entire surfing community on Maui always pushed me to get there and they always believed in me, » said deVault. « You really made me believe I could be there. »

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