Bettylou Sakura Johnson of Hawaii wins the Final at the Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold Haleiwa Challenger on December 5, 2021 in Haleiwa, Hawaii. (Photo by Tony Heff/World Surf League)

  • Sakura Johnson Joins John John Florence for Hawaii Sweep in Haleiwa
  • Hawaii Surfers Earn Top Three Spots In Final Alongside Australia’s India Robinson
  • More Available at WorldSurfLeague.com

Bettylou Sakura Johnson (HAW) won the World Surf League (WSL) Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold Haleiwa Challenger, the final stop of the 2021 Challenger Series, following a dramatic Final to close the event over Gabriela Bryan (HAW), Carissa Moore (HAW), and India Robinson (AUS). Sakura Johnson overcame inconsistent, three-to-four foot swell and provided moments of brilliance  to secure her first major WSL victory and secure her qualification on the 2022 Championship Tour. 
 
“This is such a huge moment in my life,” said Sakura Johnson. “Just a big thanks to everyone being here, rain or sunshine, and I’m just going to have a big smile. Thank you to everyone in Haleiwa, helping me and supporting me, and I’m really happy to represent Haleiwa and do it here. I’m truly in shock.”

The 16-year-old’s calm demeanour with CT qualification looming was beyond her years as Sakura Johnson dropped an excellent 8.00 (out of a possible 10) to take the lead. Efforts from Bryan moved her into the runner-up spot over five-time WSL Champion Moore, but Sakura Johnson was out of reach after an immaculate finals day showing beginning with her Quarterfinal runner-up behind CT veteran Lakey Peterson (USA) and eventual fourth-place finisher, Robinson. Conditions tested Sakura Johnson’s ability to be patient, but she rose to the occasion in phenomenal form.

Gabriela Bryan of Hawaii surfs in the Final at the Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold Haleiwa Challenger on December 5, 2021 in Haleiwa, Hawaii. (Photo by Tony Heff/World Surf League)

Gabriela Bryan’s (HAW) determination and powerful surfing guided her way straight into the Final with clutch performances to advance through the Quarterfinal and Semifinal bouts over Challenger Series threats and CT hopefuls. The confirmed 2022 CT Rookie came into Haleiwa wanting to finish the year strong and did just that to claim the Challenger Series rankings leader as she looks to keep her confidence heading into the HIC Pipe Pro in coming days and the Billabong Pro Pipeline to start the CT season. 
 
“I’m so happy to win the Challenger Series and I’ve gotten so much confidence throughout the year at these events,” said Bryan. “Surfing against Carissa (Moore) multiple times definitely helped build that and she’s been one of my idols since I started surfing. I can’t wait to be on the CT next year and start it here in Hawaii.”

Five-time WSL Champion Carissa Moore of Hawaii prior to surfing in Heat 1 of the Semifinals at the Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold Haleiwa Challenger on December 5, 2021 in Haleiwa, Hawaii. (Photo by Brent Bielmann/World Surf League)

Moore’s powerful surfing was on full display en route to the Final with the day’s highest heat total, a 16.27 (out of a possible 20) in the Semifinals, and single-wave score of an 8.40 (out of a possible 10) in the Quarterfinals. The 5X WSL Champion and Olympic gold medalist ended qualification runs for Alyssa Spencer (USA) and Vahine Fierro (FRA) with her dominant performance in the Semifinals.
 
“I was just having fun out there and this is quite some weather we’re having out here today,” said Moore. “I’m stoked there’s waves left over and happy to be back in a jersey again – especially to be at home. The next generation of Hawaii women is so great and it’s really exciting that we’re going to have more of them on Tour next year.”

India Robinson of Australia qualifies for the 2022 Championship Tour after surfing in Heat 3 of the Quarterfinals at the Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold Haleiwa Challenger on December 5, 2021 in Haleiwa, Hawaii. (Photo by Brent Bielmann/World Surf League)

Australia’s Robinson came into this event with plenty of hype behind her and the 21-year-old lived up to it. A dominant showcase of her forehand attack led her to a massive Quarterfinal victory before yet another win in the Semifinals, ultimately leading to the elimination of fellow Australian threat Molly Picklum. But, despite a fourth-place finish, Robinson had the work done and will be among the world’s best in 2022. 

“I can’t believe I made the Final after such a big week and it’s a dream come true,” said Robinson. “I’ve worked so hard for this and it has paid off. I’m still in shock, but wow, I can’t wait for next year.”

The next event will be the HIC Pipe Pro QS 1,000 beginning December 8 – 20 at Banzai Pipeline, North Shore, Oahu.

For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com

Women’s Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold Haleiwa Challenger Final Results:
1 – Bettylou Sakura Johnson (HAW) 13.17   10,000 points
2 – Gabriel Bryan (HAW) 11.50                       8,000 points 
3 – Carissa Moore (HAW) 9.76                        6,500 points 
4 – India Robinson (AUS) 2.00                        6,100 points

Women’s Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold Haleiwa Challenger Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Carissa Moore (HAW) 16.27, Gabriela Bryan (HAW) 12.17, Alyssa Spencer (USA) 10.30, Vahine Fierro (FRA) 10.30
SF 2: India Robinson (AUS) 11.43, Bettylou Sakura Johnson (HAW) 11.20, Lakey Peterson (USA) 10.23, Molly Picklum (AUS) 9.26

Women’s Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold Haleiwa Challenger Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: Alyssa Spencer (USA) 7.73, Vahine Fierro (FRA) 7.70, Pua Desoto (HAW) 6.74, Yolanda Hopkins (PRT) 6.27
QF 2: Carissa Moore (HAW) 15.27, Gabriela Bryan (HAW) 13.43, Brisa Hennessy (CRI) 12.84, Luana Silva (HAW) 12.10
QF 3: Molly Picklum (AUS) 11.50, India Robinson (AUS) 10.73, Sarah Baum (ZAF) 10.47, Amuro Tsuzuki (JPN) 9.57
QF 4: Lakey Peterson (USA) 11.70, Bettylou Sakura Johnson (HAW) 10.60, Macy Callaghan (AUS) 9.30, Savanna Stone (HAW) 6.37

Women’s Challenger Series Rankings:
1. Gabriela Bryan (HAW)
2. Brisa Hennessy (CRI)
3. Bettylou Sakura Johnson (HAW)
4. Caitlin Simmers (USA)
5. India Robinson (AUS)
6. Carissa Moore (HAW)
7. Luana Silva (HAW)

Watch LIVE
The Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold Haleiwa Challenger will be broadcast LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com, the WSL app, and on WSL’s YouTube Channel. Also, check local listings for coverage from the WSL’s broadcast partners.

For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com

The Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold Haleiwa Challenger is proudly supported by Michelob ULTRA, Vans, Shiseido, Hydro Flask, Sambazon, Draft Kings, Expedia, and HIC.

COVID-19 Updates
The health and safety of athletes, staff, and the local community are of the utmost importance and the WSL has been working closely with local authorities to put in place a robust set of procedures in place. This includes testing and advance screening protocols, physical distancing, and limited personnel on-site.

About the WSL 
Established in 1976, the World Surf League (WSL) is the home of the world’s best surfing. 
 
A global sports, media and entertainment company, the WSL oversees international tours and competitions, a studios division creating over 500+ hours of live and on-demand content, and via affiliate WaveCo, the home of the world’s largest high performance, human-made wave. Headquartered in Santa Monica, California, the WSL has regional offices in North America, Latin America, Asia Pacific, and EMEA.
 
The WSL annually crowns the men’s and women’s surfing World Champions. The global Tours and Competition division oversees and operates more than 180 global contests each year across the Championship Tour, the development tiers, including the Challenger, Qualifying and Junior Series, as well as longboard and big wave properties.  
 
Launched in 2019, WSL Studios is an independent producer of unscripted television projects, including documentaries and series, which provide unprecedented access to athletes, events, and locations around the world. WSL events and content are distributed on linear television in over 743M+ homes worldwide and across digital and social media platforms around the world, including WorldSurfLeague.com
 
WaveCo includes the Surf Ranch Lemoore facility and the utilizing and licensing of the Kelly Slater Wave System.
 
The WSL is dedicated to changing the world through the inspirational power of surfing by creating authentic events, experiences, and storytelling to inspire a growing, global community to live with purpose, originality, and stoke.  
 
For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.