Ready for big, nasty tubes at Pipe? Does the thought of JJF and Slater taking on an army of Pipe specialists get you fired up? Hell yeah it does, and we're right there with you. Before we dive deep into the depths of the Volcom Pipe Pro webcast, which could start as early as Jan. 29, we thought it wise to give you a quick swell update and our picks for who will be standing tall on the podium come event's end.
The Forecast: The holding period for the Volcom Pipe Pro begins Thursday, Jan. 29. Out of the gates, the current forecast models are predicting the remnants of a well-overhead WNW swell will still be hanging around, and that should provide solid conditions to squeeze in the opening rounds. However, there looks be some issues with the wind as we move into Thursday afternoon. The swell will then fade through the weekend, but a new storm is predicted to reinforce Thursday's swell late Saturday and early Sunday. Long story short: forecast looks good for the event to run in the beginning of the holding period.
The Prodigy: There are relatively few things that are a sure bet in competitive surfing, but John John dominating at Pipeline is a practically a damn certainty. Throughout the past few months, John's been the standout surfer at Pipe and Backdoor time and again, weaving his frame through the heaviest of tubes with ease. To boot, he has a rather impressive history with the Volcom Pipe Pro…he's won it three times.
The King: Last year, Slater put on a clinic at the event, dropping a 10 and our collective jaws in the Round of 32. He almost didn’t even enter, with his annual stop at the Pro Am in Pebble Beach overlapping the waiting period, but then to little surprise he went on to win the event outright. On the heels of a disappointing finish in the 2014 Pipe Masters, you can rest assured knowing that Slater will be focused and looking for redemption when he hits the water. Then he’ll likely go celebrate on the links.
The Army: While the event roster is seeded with surfers from around the world, the bulk of the boys wearing singlets will be calling Hawaii home. For the locals, this event isn't only a chance to compete at Pipe, it's also a feeder event for the Pipe Masters Trials, which the top 16 non-Tour competitors will be seeded into come December. With bragging rights and a crucial opportunity to compete against the World Tour at the Pipe on the line, don't expect to see the Hawaiians—whether they're relatively unknown or seasoned Pipe specialists—to hold anything back when the opening horn sounds. Specifically, we'll be keeping an eye on surfers like Jamie O'Brien, Danny Fuller, Ian Walsh, Mason Ho, and Reef McIntosh. Each of one of these non-WT surfers should be considered a contender.
All Green, Everything: A “Deep Blue Surfing Event” is an operation that meets criteria set by Sustainable Surf, our 2014 Surfer Poll Agent of Change, in regards to energy, waste, community support, transportation, and climate change. For the third year in a row, Volcom has raised the eco-bar to earn that distinction, putting a lot of effort into making sure the footprint of this contest on the North Shore is minimized. You’ll see a lot of green on the website, and just as many green vibes on the beach. Here’s a video on the program: Sustainable by Design 2014.
The waiting period is Jan. 29 – Feb. 8. Watch the webcast live at VolcomPipePro.com.