Big, left barrels on the first day of the Volcom Pipeline Pro
By Daniel Ikaika Ito/Contrastmagazine.com

Mark Healey is all smiles after winning his second round heat at the 5-star QS Volcom Pipeline Pro. The 28-year-old, goofy-foot just got barreled out of his gourd, scoring a 17.83 out of a possible 20 points– the second highest two-wave total of the event.

"I want to go back out surfing," says Healey as he waits for the customary heat winner interview. He stares out and hoots as a Pipeline barrel rolls through the lineup. Healey is beyond psyching at this point on the epic surf at the world's most dangerous wave.

"This is classic, 6-to 8-foot Pipeline," said Healey of the conditions for the first day of competition at the Volcom Pipeline Pro.  "This is one of the best days all winter for sure."

That's a heavy statement considering that this winter is going down in the history books for the amount of big swells that bombarded the North Shore this season. Two days ago the waves were in the 20-foot range and was closing out Pipeline.

The surf finally dropped yesterday to a contestable size for the 5-star Qualifying Series Volcom Pipeline Pro. According to Healey-who advanced to the next round of competition– yesterday favored the goofy foots because Pipeline offered a higher scoring potential than Backdoor.

"Finally we get a contest that favors the goofy-footers, these damn regular footers get all the Backdoor days and Pipe Masters," joked Healey. "I'm stoked [the goofy footers] get a day.

Fellow goofy-footed, Pipe Specialist Danny Fuller was also frothing on the lefts, scoring a perfect 10 in the round of 96 and advancing to the second day of competition. To the current Mr. Pipeline, Jamie O'Brien, it doesn't matter if it's Backdoor or Pipe, the 26-year-old, regular foot is still going to get shacked.

"Everyday is a great day at Pipeline, but when the waves are this good it's really great," said O'Brien who also scored a 10-point ride yesterday.

O'brien– who has won this event and the Pipeline Masters before– also captured the highest two-wave heat total of the event so far: a 19.33.

This is the most QS prestige in the history of the Pipeline Pro, boasting big ratings points and a $120,000 total prize purse. Thus, helping Hawai'i-born surfers like O'Brien, Fuller and Healey to gain entry into the big winter surf contests.

"I'm glad Volcom stepped up and made this event a 5-star event," said Healey. "This gives us an opportunity to be in the Triple Crown so I want to thank Volcom for helping the Hawaii guys."

With the northwest swell forecasted to decline throughout today, the wave face heights are expected to hover in the 12- to 16-foot range at Pipe. Therefore, the 5-star Volcom Pipeline Pro will most likely resume competition.

Watch the webcast live HERE.