Kite Surf Pro Maui underway at Hookipa

Competition began Sunday in the Cabrinha Kite Surf Pro Maui, with men’s qualification and the start of the main event at Hookipa Beach Park in Kuau.

In the first round of the official bracket, Cruser Putnam of Haiku posted the second-best heat score of the day, a 14.37. The top score was a 14.83 by reigning world champion Ke-ahi De Aboitiz of Australia.

Jesse Richman of Haiku and Kai Lenny of Spreckelsville were among the six competitors to advance from the qualification rounds.

Lenny, who claimed this year’s Stand Up World Tour and Stand Up World Series paddling championships, won his first-round heat Sunday, while Richman, who won the Kiteboard Pro World Tour series championship in 2008, was eliminated with a third-place finish.

Patri McLaughlin of Kihei won his first-round heat as well.

The second round will have eight two-person heats – each winner will advance to the quarterfinals.

The event will continue today, if conditions permit, beginning with the opening round of women’s competition. The women’s event also started Sunday, but was abandoned due to deteriorating wind.