Heats Held: Rounds 3 and half of Round 4
Conditions: 2- to- 3 feet and shallow.
Nature's Call: "First, the 'Off-the Wall Masters.' Now, the 'Aint's Pro.' Ha!"
Predictions: Someone's going to win this event by doing three turns to the beach.
Pipeline and the ASP aren't getting along this winter. They're both really bitter at one another for various reasons. Pipe is pissed at the 'CT and 'QS because they only call when they need something. The ASP is salty because the Banzai has been flaky all season. Not too mention, when Backdoor and Pipe decide to show up it's usually sloppy, small and hung over with morning sickness.
Their long and rocky relationship has recently been revealed at the second day of The Monster Energy Pipeline Pro presented by Billabong. The 3-star WQS event was forced to add Off-the-Wall to the contest area because, well, let's just say that Pipe and Backdoor are still moody. Aint's, the peak between Off-the Wall and Backdoor, also became a viable source for good waves.
Pipeline Pro officials made a good call though, as competitors dropped big scores throughout the day. Florida's Devon Tresher and Hawai'i's Kawika Stillwell both scored ten-point tube rides and advanced on to the next round. But, the big barrels were few and far between. Thus, competitors opened up their high performance bag of tricks over the shallow coral heads. "It's probably less than a foot out there. My last turn was pretty much over dry reef," said Joel Centeio. "I know it's shallow because I couldn't get out after my last one. I was touching the bottom with my hands."
Centeio won his Round 4 heat with tubeless waves from OTW. The 24-year-old demolished two rights and laid down his signature, front side hack and combined them with ankle-breaker floaters.
Another Hawaiian who won his heat and is known for his gouge is 'CT surfer Pancho Sullivan (pictured above). Pancho clawed his way from the trials to winning the most stacked heat of the contest against Rob Machado, Myles Padaca and Roy Powers.
"When the conditions are challenging like this, I think it's good for the local guys to learn that you really have to adapt to the conditions to elevate your surfing," said Pancho, who appeared in the 2007 Billabong Pipeline Masters final. "What's funny is that the conditions [of the Pipeline Pro and Pipe Masters] are similar right now. It's small and tricky, but you have to make something out of nothing."
Pancho's surfing adapted well to OTW as he found three green rooms on the rights to advance out of the heat with Roy Powers. Although the ASP's competitors are favoring the reefs directly west of Backdoor, it's doubtful that the governing body of pro surfing will ever divorce Pipe. But for the time being, they are not officially broken up. They're just on a break.