By Daniel Ikaika Ito
Reef McIntosh is $30,000 richer and his North Shore street cred is at an all-time for winning the 2012 Da Hui Backdoor Shootout yesterday. The 35-year-old regular foot from Kauai has dedicated his career to the Banzai Pipeline and his devotion to the world's most dangerous wave paid off.
"Indescribable," replies Reef when asked what this win feels like. "I don't have much experience with these oversized checks. I've never won anything in my life."
Reef is overcome with joy as he rambles off another set of post-win clichés. He's also probably a little tipsy after being doused with seven bottles of Korbel during the awards ceremony.
"I'm really enjoying this moment because I'll probably never have another moment like this in my life," says Reef. "I don't know. It could, but this is pretty much it."
Next to The Eddie, Da Hui Backdoor Shootout is the most core event because of its unique contest format and the high caliber of Pipe surfers invited to the contest. Sponsors field a four-man team and pay $2,500 per surfer to compete. There's no elimination at the Shootout and each of the 32 competitors surf an equal amount of heats. Each ride is judged on a 12-point scale and the four best waves are totaled. It's a contest "for the surfers, put on by the surfers."
"Every surfer in the event is a hands-down, good Pipeline surfer," says Reef. "All the guys in this event would smoke those guys on the 'CT [in the Pipe Masters]."
Da Hui Backdoor Shootout only runs if the waves are epic and Pipe was firing for the three days of competition. Day 1 and 2 saw 8-to 10-foot-heavy barrels with the occasional Second Reef 12-foot set exploding in the lineup. The final day was a lot more manageable at 6-to 8-foot, yet by the end of the second day Reef had the win sowed up.
Reef is famous for being an all-around happy dude and getting some of the best waves at Pipe. Not only did the 2012 Da Hui Backdoor Shootout victory reaffirm his spot in the lineup, it's also helping his wedding plans.
"I recently got engaged and we were planning on having the wedding in a year," he says while proudly displaying the oversized check. "But maybe now we'll have it a lot sooner."
2012 Da Hui Backdoor Shootout Results
1) Reef McIntosh $30,000
2) Jamie O'Brien $20,000
3) Marcus Hickman $10,000
4) Bruce Irons $5,000
5) John John Florence $2,500
Volcom [Marcus Hickman, Bruce Irons, Dean Morrison, and Dusty Payne]