Unknown Kid from North Carolina Steals the Show at Volcom Pipeline Pro

Unknown Kid From North Carolina Steals the Volcom Show

Pipeline, North Shore, Oahu, HI – (Jan. 29, 2010) – Nobody at the world’s most venerated surfing spot, the Banzai Pipeline, expected a young kid from North Carolina to show up in the middle of a record big-wave winter and steal the show. But 20-year-old Brett Barley did exactly that today, during day two of the Volcom Pipeline Pro. Barley posted the highest score of the event so far with two incredible rides at the right peak known as “Backdoor”: 19.67 points out of a possible 20. Even more crazy, he has only ridden a total of three waves at Backdoor in his life, and those were two of them, under the pressure of a 25-minute heat and with thousands of people watching. One and a half more days of this $120,000 ASP pro-sanctioned event remains.

Brett Barley

Above: a frame-grab of Barley taken from video of the event shot during his heat.
To watch the video, click here.

Wave face heights were in the 10- to 15-foot range this-morning, smooth as glass and peeling turquoise perfection like you only find in Hawaii. Barley wasted no time, paddling straight into his first wave that would be the 10. Watching on in amazement was none other than the living legend of Pipe: Gerry Lopez, who had this to say about him:

“Boy, that kid, the horn went, he paddled into a wave and got the best right that anyone had all morning,” said Lopez.

“It was really difficult because it was on his backhand. It was one of those waves that just stayed hollow enough. He had a low line. Normally, I would never have given him much chance of coming out. But that wave barreled all the way to the end. He popped out at the very bottom of the wave at the end. He made it out! I watched the replay and the close-up on his face – I think he was surprised as we all were on the beach.

“They gave him a perfect 10. Then he went back out and did almost as good a ride as he did on the first one – an equally deep tube ride, very difficult on his backhand. Unbelievable! I guess Cape Hatteras is considered the best place on the whole east coast. It must have taught him something, because he rode those waves really well.”

Despite the ripples of excitement on the beach, Barley was all smiles but surprisingly calm and collected when he returned to shore.

“I didn’t really have any expectations,” said Barley. “I was just happy to go out there and surf with just a couple of guys – you never get that opportunity out here. All I wanted to do was catch waves. I actually haven’t gotten to surf here a whole lot, but it kind of breaks like home, it’s real steep and fast, so that helps.”

On his perfect 10: “I was in shock,” he said. “When I took off I didn’t really know what was going to happen and when I pulled in I couldn’t really see because a little chandelier of whitewater came down so I was like ‘hold on!’. Right at the end I knew that if I didn’t straighten out I wouldn’t make it, and nine times out of 10 you get clipped by the lip, so I was just happy that I came out.

“That’s a win. I don’t even care what happens anymore. That first wave? Even if I didn’t get the second one, that was all I wanted. I know that I can surf these waves, but I never would have imagined getting a 10, much less another nine, so I’m thrilled.”

Barley’s score still stands at the end of two day’s of competition, and he is through to the business end of the event, which may wrap up this weekend, surf pending.

Australia’s Anthony Walsh was the highest scoring non-Hawaii surfer after Barley today, keeping a good pace going in this event as he looks forward to a return to big waves this weekend. The forecast is leaning towards Sunday for the final, in conditions very similar in size and shape to yesterday’s macking 20-foot-plus faces.

Anthony Walsh
Above: Anthony Walsh (Australia). Photo: Bernie/ASPHawaii

Walsh was scratching through the first half of his heat today, battling to find an open wave. It seemed that the Backdoor was spent by the time midday rolled around.

“It’s really tricky,” said Walsh. “The current’s sucking straight through the lineup and I had a bad start. I had two (at Backdoor), I didn’t make them, and then got two (at Pipe) at the end that did make it. I went out there with the theory of going right. I hadn’t really seen too many lefts. So I was just out there trying to get rights. Those two little wedgy lefts, they were really tricky… so I had to really power through it and stand safety stance almost just to push through it.”

The sentimental favorite, 13-year-old Landon McNamara was unfortunately eliminated today, but had nothing to be ashamed of after losing to a trio of the best Pipe riders in the world: Bruce Irons – who scored the only other perfect 10 of the day, Mark Healey, and Tom Whitaker (Australia). (NOTE: It was incorrectly reported yesterday that Landon was 16.) Landon’s debut heat yesterday in extremely serious Pipeline surf was still the talk of the town today; a gutsy, mature, and passionate performance that proved the future of Pipeline is in very capable hands.

Surfline.com has put the fire under competitors remaining in the Volcom Pipeline Pro with a call for solid surf in the 15-20+ wave face height range for Sunday. Tomorrow will see another temporary decline in surf size and quality before ramping up in the afternoon.

The highest heat scores of the day:
19.67 – Brett Barley (NC), also the highest heat score of the competition so far
16.77 – Bruce Irons
15.74 – John John Florence (Oahu)
15.5 – Marcus Hickman (Oahu)
15.43 – Anthony Walsh (Australia)
14.9 – Reef McIntosh (Kauai)


The Volcom Pipeline Pro has one day of competition remaining between now and the end of its holding period: February 5. The final will be broadcast live on the internet at Volcom.com/pipelinepro. In Hawaii, watch live on Oceanic Time Warner Cable channel 250 and 1250.

For exclusive Volcom Pipeline Pro video, photos and more, go to Transworldsurf.com.
To check out the forecast for Pipeline tomorrow, go to Surfline.com.

This is Volcom’s first ever ASP event and is a critical component of the 2010 ASP Hawaii season, offering valuable points towards World Tour qualification, as well as wildcard berths into the December Pipeline Masters.

FUEL TV will air a 30-minute wrap up show in America, Australia and Portugal at the conclusion of the event – details to be announced shortly.

Mahalo also to Electric for helping to bring this event to life.

Media requests for courtesy digital images and news footage should be directed to Jodi Wilmott, Ocean Promotion.

Round of 64: (heats 1 through 14 completed. Heats 15 & 16 will be on the next day of competition.)
1st & 2nd advance; 3rd=33rd; 4th=49th
Surfers from Hawaii unless noted otherwise.
H1: Marcelo Trekinho (BRZ); Takayuki Wakita (JPN); Jonah Morgan; Roy Powers
H2: Ian Walsh; Solomon Ortiz; Hank Gaskell; Cory Lopez (USA)
H3: Marcus Hickman; Jamie O’Brien; Flynn Novak; Gavin Gillette
H4: Anthony Walsh (AUS); Marc Lacomare (FRA); Albee Layer; Dylan Melamed
H5: Rob Machado (USA); Sunny Garcia; Devon Tresher (USA); Jose Maria Cabrera (CNY)
H6: John John Florence; Kevin Sullivan; Casey Brown; Kawai Lindo
H7: Clay Marzo; Nils Schweizer (USA); Pancho Sullivan; Kai Barger
H8: Bruce Irons; Mark Healey; Tom Whitaker (Aus); Landon McNamara
H9: David Wassel; Fred Patacchia; Evan Valiere; Keito Matsuoka (JPN)

Remainder of Round of 96:
Listed in order of 1st through 4th; 1st & 2nd advance; 3rd=65th; 4th=81st
H11: Myles Padaca; Makuakai Rothman; Kalani Chapman; Daniel Jones
H12: David Giddings (USA); Andrew Bennett (USA); Alex Smith; Carlos Munoz (CRI)
H13: Nathan Fletcher (USA); Matt Pagan (USA); Love Hodel; Derek Ho
H14: Kamalei Alexander; Sion Milosky; Gabriel Villaran (PER); Killian Garland (USA)
H15: Reef McIntosh; Travis Beckmann (USA); Dege O’Connell; Cheyne Willis
H16: Brett Barley (USA); Joe Tanaka (JPN); Kaupena Miranda; Naohisa Ogawa (JPN)