After some serious beatings dished out by shifting 3-to-6 foot Pipeline peaks on Friday, and pouring rain on Saturday, the first ever women’s shortboard competition at Pipeline was won by Alana Blanchard, a 15-year-old Hanalei, Kauai student.
Blanchard was the underdog, yet she eliminated world No.8 ranked Melanie Bartels and four other top women surfers to claim first place. Conditions in the shortboard final were super inconsistent, offering only the occasional barrel and not a whole lot of open-faced rides. But Blanchard found her way onto the longest, cleanest waves to emerge a clear-cut champion of the history making event. “I just wanted to come here and do the best I could,” Blanchard said. “I didn’t think I had that many good rides, but I guess it was the same for everyone.”
Blanchard’s top two scores of 6.83 and 6.33, each out of a possible 10, pushed her 2.5 points clear of second placed Crystal Dzigas of Honolulu. Third place was 14-year-old Punalu’u ripper Ashley Hunter, followed closely by Brenda Fried of Haleiwa in fourth, Melanie Bartels of Waianae had to settle for fifth when her earlier brillance faded, and Kim Hamrock of California ended up in sixth place.
Hamrock and Dzigas were surfed out by the conclusion of the day’s competition, having worked their way through semi-finals and finals of both the shortboard and longboard divisions today after surfing bigger Pipe all day yesterday.
Dzigas had the crowd going during the final of the shortboard when she pulled into a glassy, dredging overhead Backdoor barrel. This was a real wave of consequence and she almost squeaked out the end.
“I could hear the guys out there yelling for me to go, so I went,” said 21-year-old Dzigas. “I always thought that Pipeline was for the guys, but now I’m ready for another one of these events!”
Hamrock, a professional surfer for over 20 years, a mother of four, and now Pipeline Longboard Champ and shortboard finalist. “This was a really awesome competition,” said Hamrock. “I’m just happy to have been in it. I am so impressed with the way the girls are surfing. For me, it’s just a blessing to be out there. It was so much fun.”
The longboard final was taken out by Californian Kim Hamrock of Huntington Beach, the oldest competitor in the event at 44 years of age. Hamrock was solid as a rock and used her years of competetion experience and top physical condition to claim the victory.
Conditions for the final were contestable at a fairly clean 3-5 feet offering wave scores for the best riders in the 6-8 point range out of ten.
The inaugural T & C Surf Women’s Pipeline Championship was a success as many Pipeline and Backdoor waves were ridden and no serious injuries were reported. The first ever stand-alone women’s surfing event at Pipeline, offering three separate division, attracted a total of 100 competitors from nine nations.
1st – Alana Blanchard (Hanalei)
2nd – Crystal Dzigas (Honolulu)
3rd – Ashley Hunter (Punalu’u)
4th – Brenda Fried (Haleiwa)
5th – Melanie Bartels (Waianae)
6th – Kim Hamrock (Huntington Beach, CA)
1st – Kim Hamrock (Huntington Beach, CA)
2nd – Crystal Dzigas (Honolulu)
3rd – Alex Florence (Haleiwa)
4th – April Grover (Haleiwa)
5th – Marlene Gonzales (Haleiwa)
6th – Caron Farnham (Australia)