The Main Event Kicks Off In Dreamy Conditions.

SURF: 8-10 foot and dreamy.
NATURE’S CALL: 10 out of 10.
PREDICTIONS: Biggest surf in years hits North Shore Wednesday. The Eddie is GO! But probably too big for Pipe.

Six-time world champ Kelly Slater and North Shore standout Pancho Sullivan paddle side-by-side, shoulder to shoulder, for the heaving, 8-foot, Pipeline A-frame. Glassy face. Clear blue skies. Perfect Pipe. Slater goes left. Pancho goes right. Both pull simultaneously and disappear from sight. One second. Two seconds. Three seconds. Both come flying out. Perfection.

All day long.

The Rip Curl Pipeline Masters is off and running in absolutely ideal conditions. Not too big. Not too small. Not too hot. Not too windy. Every grain of sand just where it’s supposed to be. Can I get an Amen?

After a stagger-step near start in yesterday’s elephant stampede, competitors woke up early with little doubt that today was the day to push PLAY. Even before the sun was up, some 30 or 40 competitors were crowding the bull-pen. Aussie Nathan Hedge dislocated his shoulder, forcing him to concede his seed to first alternate Shane Dorian, before it was even light out. Following a couple, sleepy, dawn-patrol haole-heats, Kalani “K-Rock” Robb woke the crowd up with his heat-winning Backdoor vanishing act. After that, it just got better and better. {{{CJ}}} Hobgood’s three second Pipecleaner with the optional railgrab gouge attachment. (Poor Ceej lost his wedding ring on the reef: “My wife bought me a cheap one just for that reason.” What he didn’t lose, however, was the heat.) Then there was Slater’s last minute 9.77 heat winner. Pancho’s pig-dog bull-dog madness. Parko and Sunny trading the lead like a hot potato, wave after wave, tube after tube, until Sunny was left holding it at the buzzer. Also Dean Morrison’s double-up miracle shack. And Occy’s raging bull heat domination. “Ha, ha,” chuckled Occ after the heat, “That was fun.”

And then there was Bruce.

Or actually, where was Bruce? There’s probably not a soul on the beach who doesn’t want to see this former Pipe Master do well. After an erratic rookie year on the WCT tour, BI needs to place at least equal fifth in this event to secure his place on next year’s tour. If it was anyone but Bruce, that might be a pretty tall order. But this is Bruce. And this is Pipe. This is where possibly the world’s most inventive freesurfer earns himself such lofty accolades.

But today, for Bruce Irons, was not to be. Troy Brooks opened the heat with a solid 9, and after that the declining swell seemed to take a little afternoon nap, and Bruce was left without a decent score.

But that’s why this is only Round One. And all the brilliant surfers who didn’t win their heats today - like Pipe locals Jamie O’Brien and Pancho Sullivan, and pro tour leaders like Joel Parkinson and Taj Burrow — all get a second chance to advance through the ranks. So the fat lady ain’t singing quite yet. But she just got here, and she’s warming up her voice.


Heat # 1
1st – Pat O’Connell, 2nd – Jake Paterson, 3rd – Shane Beschen
Heat # 2
1st – Toby Martin, 2nd – Darren O’Rafferty, 3rd – Michael Lowe
Heat # 3
1st – Raoni Monteiro, 2nd – Peterson Rosa, 3rd – Greg Emslie
Heat # 5
1st – Kalani Robb, 2nd – Luke Egan, 3rd – Luke Hitchings
Heat # 6
1st – CJ Hobgood, 2nd – Richard Lovett, 3rd – Eric Rebiere
Heat # 7
1st – Lee Winkler, 2nd – Jamie O’Brien, 3rd – Taj Burrow
Heat # 8
1st – Andy Irons, 2nd – Mikey Bruneau, 3rd – Cory Lopez
Heat # 9
1st – Kelly Slater, 2nd – Pancho Sullivan, 3rd – Paulo Moura
Heat #10
1st – Sunny Garcia, 2nd – Joel Parkinson, 3rd – Bruno Santos
Heat #11
1st – Neco Padaratz, 2nd – Armando Daltro, 3rd – Daniel Wills
Heat #12
1st – Nathan Webster, 2nd – Victor Ribas, 3rd – Phillip MacDonald
Heat #13
1st – Dean Morrison, 2nd – Chris Davidson, 3rd – Guilherme Herdy
Heat #14
1st – Mark Occhilupo, 2nd – Trent Munro, 3rd – Marcelo Nunes
Heat #15
1st – Troy Brooks, 2nd – Tom Whitaker, 3rd – Bruce Irons
Heat #16
1st – Taylor Knox, 2nd – Michael Campbell, 3rd – Kieren Perrow
Heat # 4*
1st – Tim Curran, 2nd – Shane Dorian, 3rd – Beau Emerton

* – Due to an injury to Nathan Hedge, heat #4 was delayed until the end of Round 1. Nathan Hedge has officially pulled out of the event. Shane Dorian will be taking his place as first alternate.