The most interesting moment of the contest was when Mick Fanning interfered with John John Florence’s final wave in their Round 4 heat. It was a strategic move on his part to avoid facing Florence in Round 5. Florence is surfing in his own backyard here at Pipeline and knows this wave better than most. He is a very difficult draw for anyone, including potential world champs.
Pipeline - the most famous wave in the world. Day one of this years Pipe Masters contest began with near perfect Pipeline surf. Sometime during this contest, the ASP 2013 World Title will be decided. If Mick Fanning gets past the Quarter Finals, he will win the title, even if Kelly Slater wins the contest. Kelly is basically in the position of needing a miracle to win title #12 this year. That being said, he is the greatest competitive surfer ever, so don’t write him off just yet. If Mick loses in the Quarters or before, Kelly still has to win the event to claim the title. It doesn’t get much more exciting than this in pro surfing!
For the first time in the history of this contest, organizers had to extend the event for an extra day due to an unseasonable flat spell for most of the waiting period. Not what you expect on the North Shore of Oahu at this time of year.
This is what happens when you grow up in a house on the beach right in front of the most well-known wave in the world. The North Shore of Oahu, known as the “Seven-Mile Miracle” in the surf world, delivered the goods once again for the Volcom Pipe Contest. John John has become one of the most dominant surfers in the world. He makes it look effortless, whether he is riding two foot shore break or charging double overhead Pipeline. Watch out, Kelly!
If you go to the Volcom event website, you can catch every minute of the contest using the Heat Analyzer. ESPN2 will be broadcasting a 1-hour special on the contest on Feb 24 at 8am PST, 11am EST.
“I finally f++king won!” Sometimes, a t-shirt nails it. And Kustom’s victory shirt for Parko summed up the combination of relief and joy on the beach today. After 12 years battling out on tour, including four-runner-up finishes and three Triple Crown titles, Joel Parkinson finally f++king won the world title - and the Pipe Masters to boot.
About time, too.
“Over the last 12 years, people have seen how much he puts into his surfing and his family and his life; Parko really deserved it,” Mick Fanning said just after Kerrzy took down Slater in the semis, giving Joel the title. “Today was incredible. First it was in Kelly’s court, he had to perform.
Then it swung back. And then it swung back. A lot of times, the title comes down to one heat, but the back-and-forth was electric. And even though they didn’t surf against each other, Parko and Kelly were battling each other emotionally.”
A Parko/Kelly final would’ve been Hollywood material, but the scriptwriter must’ve not taken into account Josh Kerr, who bounced back from a R4 injury to take down the 11-time world champ in what turned out to be a slow semifinal.
“I felt like physically I was gonna be sick after Kerr’s first wave (a 9.2), like ‘could this really happen?’” Parko said of the Kerr/Slater semi. “And then it felt like time started going backwards. I can’t believe it’s actually happened — it feels very surreal.”
While the seconds ticked off and Kelly holding a 4.9 heat total - and only needing an 8-something - Parko’s camp at the Billabong house paced and whistled, started jumping up and down and hugging and clapping as the buzzer sounded. He was chaired up the beach in what was arguably the longest, soft-sand chair in ASP history.
Today is the final day of competition in the 2012 Billabong Pipe Masters on the North Shore of Oahu. First heat in the water features Kelly Slater, who is attempting to win an unprecedented 12th ASP World Title. The only 2 surfers that have a shot at the title anymore are Kelly and Joel Parkinson. There is a good chance that both of them will advance to the finals and face each other in an exciting, epic showdown. Down to the wire! The contest will be starting at 9:00am Hawaii time (11:00am Pacific). Not to be missed!
Check out some of the videos in this feature to get an idea of what Pipeline really looks like when the surf is up and it’s not a contest. Pipeline is such an amazing wave that literally everyone wants to be out there when it’s good. In fact, there were over 100 people in the water after the contest finished for the day. It’s hard enough to just ride one of the heaviest waves in the world. Trying to pick off a good one when there are 99 or more other guys trying to do the same thing in the same tight little take off zone is not for the faint of heart.
A notable television executive once said: “give me dramatic surf with winners and losers and the best surfers in the world at 2pm on a Sunday afternoon and you’ve got yourself a lucrative deal.”
Right. Like this ever happens. It’s called the Dream Tour for a reason. For more than a decade, the size and quality of surf - not size and quality of the parking lot or number of watching households - dictates when and where events go down.
‘Course occasionally planets align. Occasionally, right around 2pm on a Sunday afternoon, one might find the best surfers in the world battling
head-to-head in dangerous, barreling surf for careers and titles and money and fame and respect. Occasionally, there’s a Cinderella story (Seabass winning the Triple Crown) next to a former champ stepping out of the race (Fanning) surrounded by an ever-tightening world title race between a potential 12-time world champ and a perennial runner-up. (Kelly v Parko.)
This was today. Today was good TV.
If the final day has waves of similar quality to the first two, this will certainly be one of the most exciting finishes in the history of the ASP. Pipeline is typically one of the most crowded waves on the planet when it is this good. These guys are getting to surf with only a few other people in the water in flawless conditions.
Solid swell continues on the North Shore of Oahu and day 2 of the Pipe Masters contest is underway!
Building swell and the first heat is in the water now.