Surf: Six to 10 feet, clean with windy periods
Events Held: Trials, seven heats of Round One
Nature’s Call: Yes, it’s December at last
Predicted: Small increase/consistent pulses through weekend Hell of a day at Pipeline today. A day to sweep aside weeks of dreadful winds and trashy swells. Perfect walls and peaks smacked the ancient reef. Bruce Irons flowed and cruised. Jamie O’Brien switched feet in the tube, going in regular and coming out goofy. And Marcus Hickman scored a 10. Yeah, you name dropping bastards. Marcus Hickman. Marcus is 24 years old. Regular foot. He’s big and strong and rides with the sturdy yet loose style of his Da Hui teammates Myles Padaca and Makua Rothman. He grew up on the North Shore, surfing with all the groms who’re famous now: Fred Pattachia, Makua, Nainoa Surrat. He’s got two sisters; one’s on the East Coast “trying to be a movie director”, the other’s working in California. He rides Dennis Pang’s boards and did his first and only surf trip (so far) to Indo this past summer. (“The wave are so soft everywhere else,” he says, without attitude.)

It’s not even as if Pipe’s his obsession, the way it seems with some of the crew who always roll up for the trials here. “I don’t often even come out here — all the crowds, all the publicity. Only when I need a photo.” Marcus scored his 10 — the only perfect ride of this event so far — with a crazy drop under the lip of something so square it was bound to give him a shot, as long as he could hold some sort of line out of the free-fall. He could, and carried the momentum of that great ride into round one of the main event, where he out-barrelled WCT surf stars Danny Wills and Tom Whitaker to roll into round three. “Oh man, it’s sooo much easier than surfing against my friends!” was Marcus’s judgment on the WCT pro vibe. “You can’t dog your friends, you know. But these guys I don’t know, so I don’t mind.” Just then Fred pulled into a BOMBING left and rode it in classic Pipeline style, standing upright with arms extended through that famed spray-lined pit. Man! If anybody had doubted it, that ride, and Marcus’s success, was living proof this was Local’s Day. Like all great surf spots, the Pipeline’s always been about local knowledge. That’s why the Pipe trials have always seemed to mean more than most such events: Chances are, any trialist who makes the cut will prove a fearful rival to the established WCT order. This year, a mad rumor circulated for sometime before the event — that the trials would be abandoned, and 16 of the top Pipe riders would instead be elected to ride against the WCT’s top 48, making an expanded 64-man main event, and for sure a hell of a lot of trouble for all those high paid travelers on tour. It was never gonna happen. But an unprecedented bail-for-home rate on the part of top 45 members has left a total of nine spots open for local trials competitors, and today’s fine conditions gave ’em all plenty of excellent practice time. The result? Along with predictable Brucie and Jamie, Pancho Sullivan, Jonah {{{Morgan}}}, Brian Pacheco, Kalani Chapman, Derek Ho, Fred, and Marcus still remain to torment the top WCT pros. The whole mega-hell showdown between Andy and Kelly lurks in the background here, like the payoff in a movie whose script is yet to be resolved… You know it’ll flare hot as those two surfers begin their respective climbs toward the final — they’re on opposite sides of the draw, and can’t meet before the last heat of the whole damn year. But just for today, other, more homely matters were uppermost. For instance — Sunset Beach Elementary School, just across the street, was thrown into confusion by the heat announcements. “Did you hear that? Bruce got a 3.{{{62}}}!” whispered the fourth-graders to each other. “Coco’s dad made it!!” Coco’s dad is Derek Ho, and Derek did more than make it. The old bastard capped off Local’s Day in style. Derek’s wearing the long hair and six day growth of his glory years in the late 1980s. He paddled out against Mick Fanning and Guilherme Herdy in the last heat of the day and had ’em on the ropes from the first wave — a late drop, a straight line from behind the peak, and a minor victory dance on the shoulder. “Do it for the old guys!” yelled ’80s ex-pro Marty Thomas, and just a few minutes later, with wave number two, Derek did. What the hell are you doing still winning heats, demanded Surfing. Derek flicked the hair back with a glint in his eye, and declared: “Just doing what my Dad put me on Earth to do!!”Can’t argue with that one. — Nick Carroll Stay tuned for SURFING’s ruthless blow-by-blow online coverage of this ASP WCT super-event all weekend! And check the ASP site for live scoring. HEAT DRAW:Trials – Xbox Gerry Lopez Pipeline Masters (Top 9 surfers receive a wildcardinto the main event – 1sts and 2nds and highest third from the quarters. Noneed to run the trials beyond the quarters as we just need to determine thetop 9.)Round 1:{{{H1}}}: Bruce Irons (Haw), Takayuki Wakitwa (Jpn), Evan Valeire (Haw), JoelCenteio (Haw){{{H2}}}: Pancho Sullivan (Haw), Mark Healy (Haw), Jesse Merle-Jones (Haw), JoelTudor (USA){{{H3}}}: Myles Padaca (Haw), Rob Machado (USA), Danny Fuller (Haw), Naohisa Ogawa(Jpn)H4: Derek Ho (Haw), Jamie O’Brien (Haw), Raimana Boucher (Tah), MakuaRothman (Haw)H5: Braden Dias (Haw), Jonah Morgan (Haw), Love Hodel (Haw), Manoa Drollet(Tah)H6: Tamayo Perry (Haw), Brian Pacheco (Haw), Hira Terinatoofa (Tah),Christian Fletcher (USA)H7: Fred Patacchia (Haw), Jamie {{{Sterling}}} (Haw), Liam McNamara (Haw), RockyCannon (Haw)H8: Marcus Hickman (Haw), Kalani Chapman (Haw), Jason Frederico (Haw), EricRebiere (Haw)Quarter Finals:H1: Bruce Irons, Pancho Sullivan, Mark Healy, Takayuki WakitaH2: Jamie O’Brien, Derek Ho, Rob Machado, Myles PadacaH3: Brian Pacheco, Jonah Morgan, Braden Dias, Tamayo PerryH4: Kalani Chapman, Fred Patacchia, Marcus Hickman, Jamie Sterling (Hickmanhighest 3rd)Round 1: (1st to round 3, 2nd & 3rd will be reseeded into round 2)H1: Marcus Hickman (Haw) 14.66, Tom Whitaker (Aus) 13.74, Daniel Wills (Aus)10.0H2: Tim Curran (USA) 15.16, Nathan Hedge (Aus) 8.83, Jake Paterson (Aus) 6.9H3: Victor Ribas (Brz) 13.83, Fred Patacchia (Haw) 12.94, Taylor Knox (USA)2.33H4: Michael Lowe (Aus) 15.0, Bruce Irons (Haw) 14.4, Paulo Moura (Brz) 1.23H5: Jamie O’Brien (Haw) 16.76, Trent Munro (Aus) 15.73, Kieren Perrow (Aus)15.44H6: Joel Parkinson (Aus) 16.33, Peterson Rosa (Brz) 14.73, Pancho Sullivan(Haw) 10.97H7: Derek Ho (Haw) 16.27, Guilherme Herdy (Brz) 11.83, Mick Fanning (Aus)9.33H8-16 to be held tomorrow.H8: Andy Irons (haw), Richard Lovett (Aus), Kalani Chapman (Haw)H9: Kelly Slater (USA), Kalani Robb (Haw), Brian Pacheco (Haw)H10: Taj Burrow (Aus), Philip MacDonald (aus), Jonah Morgan (Haw)H11: Luke Egan (Aus), Neco Padaratz (Brz), Fabio Gouveia (Brz)H12: Shea Lopez (USA), Chris Davidson (Aus), Danilo Costa (Brz)H13: Dean Morrison (Aus), Beau emerton (Aus), Toby Martin (Aus)H14: Cory Lopez (USA), Flavio Padaratz (Brz), Luke Stedman (Aus)H15: Damien Hobgood (USA), Shane Powell (Aus), Shane Dorian (Haw)H16: Mark Occhilupo (Aus), Lee Winkler (Aus), Luke Hitchings (Aus)