Rip Curl Pipe Masters Day Three — Friday 12/17/04

Well, Friday started with Bruce, and it ended with Bruce. But it ain’t over yet. Bruce, who won the Eddie. Bruce, who needs a fifth place at Pipe to re-qualify for the tour. Bruce who’s in solid contention for another Triple Crown title. Bruce. And Pipe.

Top of the morning and the younger Irons is surfing in the hell heat: Dorian, Parko, and Trent Munro. He breaks a board while in last place and loses crucial minutes on the replacement. But a moment later, he sideslips into a nice little Pipeline hidey-hole and finds the 4 points he needs to creep back into it. As the buzzer blows, second place is good enough.

Pipe wizard Jamie O’ also crept through his morning heat, busting some mono-ski tube-action after a near-devastating stint caught inside some Backdoor bombers. When asked for a post-heat wrap up, Jamie dropped a nice little public service announcement: “Yeah, just make sure you all pick up your trash off the beach when you leave,” he said. “And you’re all welcome back here anytime you want.” In other words, “This is MY house, show some respect.” Later in the afternoon, OB1 shook out his doormat by dominating his heat with world champ {{{CJ}}} Hobgood and road-warriors Darren O’Rafferty and Lee Winkler.

Someone tried to yawn before Andy Irons’ heat and they were escorted off the beach. This heat went OFF. Kalani Robb, Tim Curran andwildcard Mikey Bruneau just went mental, upping the ante barrel after barrel. But in the end, it was Curran and Kalani, both upsetting the world champ and defending their much-needed positions on next year’s tour. “I’d have chewed my arm off for a wave out there,” said Kalani. “Andy’s already got his title, so he’s just laughing at us.”

Then came Slater. The uber-competitive six-time world champ and five-time Pipe master exploded into his heat with a Backdoor barrel that went on for days, landing the first Perfect 10 so far.

So far, that is. ‘Cause then came Bruce again, opening his account with Perfect 10 and backing it up with another solid one before anyone else had even caught a wave. Two more heats, and BI is officially re-qualified for next year’s tour. Now everyone knock on wood.

Do it.