On the day before the final day of competition at the last event of the Triple Crown, news broke that Da Hui had sued the ASP over their use of two-man heats at the Pipe Masters and a local judge has recently ruled in their favor.
According to Honolulu county law, surf contests must have four-man heats at all times as a means to keep the duration of events short. In the lawsuit, Judge Karl Sakamoto ruled in favor of Da Hui, citing existing county law. "Clearly each surf meet must have at least four surfers, and no man-on-man or one-on-one heats are allowed," he wrote in his opinion.
The ASP has been running man-on-man heats at the Pipe Masters since 2008. But according to the organization, they hold a variance—essentially a waiver—from the law. "We actually have a variance with the City and State that allows us to run the format that we want to," the ASP's Dave Prodan told Honolulu-based news station Hawaii News Now.
Earlier this year, it was announced that the Pipe Masters would do away with the 16 wildcards that had traditionally been allowed to compete in the event and instead, allow only the top-two finishers of a new trials event to surf in the Pipe Masters. Da Hui has made no secret that they were angry over the thinned-down roster of local surfers that were allowed to compete in the event. It's assumed that this lawsuit stemmed from that frustration.
"There’s no respect for the law, no respect for the judge, no respect for the surfers, no respect for the people” Stacy Moniz, director of Da Hui, told Hawaii News Now.
It's unclear as to what steps the city might take to address the issue. But as of press time, it appears that the ASP will be moving forward with the final day of competition.