11 million peeps tuned into the Billabong Pro webcast of the Pipe Masters to watch the world title race go down to the wire in epic surfing conditions. Not without controversy either. But once the dust settled we have Kelly Slater taking the Pipe title and Mick Fanning the World Title. It's Micks 3rd world title, and Slaters 56th tour victory. Will he be back for 2014? 'Course he will!
Controversy lovers were not disappointed either. There were quite a few questions asked about the judging calls, pretty much based upon which surfer you were supporting. But Mick's final wave score against Yadin in his quarter final heat is the one getting the most attention. Basically Mic had to win the heat to win the world title....
So what we have is Fanning behind Yadin Nicol with just a few minutes left in the heat. But a happy ending was the order of the day, and a set marched in from the horizon. Fanning whipped around and pulled into the wave that would see him chaired up the beach to the podium.
But the beach was buzzing with the score he was awarded for the wave...just enough to see him take the heat.
“He needed a nine, and I didn’t even think that last wave was a 9 – and he got a 9.5,” said Kelly Slater, who admitted to watching the heat on a computer. “It’s different when you’re at the beach, though,” he continued. ”There’s definitely something poetic about it for Mick. To have the heat come down to the last couple of minutes in both of those heats.”
Richard Porta, the ASP’s Head Judge, gave an explanation on why Mick’s World Title wave was better than Yadin’s – and it doesn't ring true for many.
“For us, that bottom turn is probably that tiny bit of difference between the two rides. Yadin drops and runs and Mick has to bottom turn up and into it; both amazing rides,” said Porta in an interview on the webcast.
This is what the website Inertia had to say:
Why is dropping and running in worse than dropping, fading, bottom turning and getting a barrel? Are we asking the surfers at eight-foot Pipe to drop straight and bottom turn instead of grabbing rail and pig-dogging? Does Porta know that if Yadin would’ve dropped straight on his 9.33, by the time he would’ve wanted to bottom turn, he would have taken a lip in the face and probably broken his board and his ribs?
It is clear that you don’t drop straight, fade and do a long bottom turn, like Mick did, when you surf Pipe. In most of the best rides at Pipe when it’s breaking the size it was during that final heat, the surfer adjusts his direction and takes the barrel. Check last year’s Ricardo Santos’ wave of the winter at Pipe. Or check Kalani Chapman’s wave of the 2010 winter, or check all of last year’s finalists.
As an alternate way of judging, check which of yesterday’s rides look more like all the waves of the winter? Mick’s or Yadin’s? It is clearly Yadin’s.
Dropping and running doesn’t look wrong to me, as Porta alludes. It sounds better than dropping and fading, because if you drop and fade, you are not surfing a real Pipe wave (on that size). Mick’s barrel was amazing and it was long, but it was small and he had to fight a lot to find it. That’s not real Pipe surfing, that’s trying hard to get a barrel in the shoulder, and it is definitely not a 9.7.
Mick’s wave was easier to make, he almost didn’t touch the foamball, and he came out with the spit. Yadin’s was a tougher drop, a bigger barrel, and he came out after the spit.
Still, I understand what happened. We need to put it in context: It could’ve gone either way. A last minute long barrel in the hunt for the title can always be a game changer. The problem is that surfing and judging is still too amateur to handle those situations. And that’s the greater issue."
But everyone can moan all they want...cos Micks holding the trophy, and good for him. He's a great surfer with an excellent work ethic, and certainly deserves another title.
Bring on 2014!!
It's that time of year again. The last comp of the ASP tour for 2013 is underway. And there's everything to play for. World title is up for grabs. Just not the same without Jordy being in the mix, bummer he had to pull outta the comp.
PIPELINE, Oahu/Hawaii (Sunday, December 8, 2013) – The opening day of the Billabong Pipe Masters, in Memory of Andy Irons, commenced today in firing six-to-eight foot (2 metre) waves and the world’s best surfers put on an incredible display of technical barrel riding at Pipeline and Backdoor to complete Rounds 1 and 2. The Billabong Pipe Masters is the third and final leg of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, hydrated by vitaminwater.
The final stop on the ASP World Championship Tour (WCT), the Billabong Pipe Masters will decide the 2013 ASP World Title Race, the coveted Vans Triple Crown of Surfing Champion and the final qualification slots for next season’s Top 34.
Gabriel Medina (BRA), 19, would put together an amazing show at the iconic lefts of Pipeline to kick off the Billabong Pipe Masters, navigating through a heavy barrel on his opening score to post a near-perfect 9.67. The Brazilian Prodigy would quickly back up the ride, earning an additional 9 point score for another deep Pipe tube punctuated with a massive alley-oop, eliminating Bruce Irons (HAW), 34. Medina’s unlikely aerial at Pipeline puts him in the running for a 250,000 mile prize from Hawaiian Airlines Airshow award.
“I got a little bit lucky,” Medina said. “I got three really good barrels and did the air at the end. I was watching the guys always getting big scores at backdoor and had them in my mind. Somehow, I found those lefts and that was such a fun heat. I’ve always watched Bruce (Irons) and I really respect him. To be surfing with him is a dream come true.”
Medina will face off against John John Florence (HAW), 20, in Heat 5 Round 3 of the Billabong Pipe Masters.
Sebastian Zietz (HAW), 25, defending Vans Triple Crown of Surfing Champion, immediately found his rhythm at Pipeline, earning the first perfect 10-point ride of Billabong Pipe Masters competition for an unbelievable Backdoor barrel.
“It was a dream start to the event,” Zietz said. “I got one little Pipe wave, paddled back out and it was nice having Ryan (Callinan) instead of one of the Hawaii boys. He let me pick apart the first half of that heat. He didn’t try and battle me too much. Bruce (Irons) looked at that wave and I don’t know what he was thinking. He probably should have gone because he probably could have got a 10 easily on it. I just dropped in and the foam-ball hit me and I was on one foot for a second. I put my foot down and was going the perfect speed to get barreled all the way through. That was just a perfect wave.”
Zietz will take on Brazilian Adriano de Souza (BRA), 26, in Heat 8 of Round 3.
Mitch Crews (AUS), 23, qualifier for the 2014 ASP WCT, was responsible for one of the day’s biggest upsets, eliminating big wave charger and former WCT veteran Shane Dorian (HAW), 41, in Round 1. Crews would continue his successful Billabong Pipe Masters campaign in Round 2, topping fellow countryman Matt Wilkinson (AUS), 25, to claim his second heat win of the day.
“This Hawaii season’s one of the best I’ve ever had,” Crews said. “This has been an incredible run and that heat was a great time. I saw the heat draw and knew I’d draw someone from Hawaii who was incredible. Shane Dorian, he’s the guy. I saw him the other day and was star struck. I decided I was going to try and just get a few waves at backdoor. I never usually even get waves out here, so I’m really happy.”
Crews will face off against 11-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA), 41, in Heat 9 of Round 3.
Jeremy Flores (FRA), 25, 2010 Billabong Pipe Masters Champion, was electric in the offshore barrels in his afternoon heat. Flores would drive through Pipeline and Backdoor barrels to earn one of the day’s high heat-totals, topping dangerous wildcard Tanner Gudauskas (USA), 25, while advancing to Round 3.
“The waves started to get better and I saw the wind switching and saw those perfect A frames,” Flores said. “I was pretty stressed because I was frothing so hard and thought I might take off on too many waves. I think it’s only going to get better from now on, hollow barrels, and it’s good for everyone. It’s Pipe. It’s a dream.”
Flores will surf against Michel Bourez (PYF), 27, in Heat 11 Round 3.
While the Billabong Pipe Masters delivered some incredible highlights, a reminder of the danger that comes with surfing Pipeline became apparent when former Billabong Pipe Master Kieren Perrow (AUS), 36, was forced to shore early with a dislocated shoulder following a heavy wipeout. This was not the way Perrow anticipated retiring from competition. The Billabong Pipe Masters was his swansong.
Vans Triple Crown leader Ezekiel Lau (HAW), 20, also made an early exit from the Billabong Pipe Masters, falling in Round 1 to Patrick Gudauskas. Lau’s elimination opened up the doors for fellow frontrunners Michel Bourez, Fredrick Patacchia (HAW), 31, and Jeremy Flores for the prestigious Vans Triple Crown of Surfing Title.
Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow morning at 6:30am local time for a possible 8am start.
The Billabong Pipe Masters in Memory of Andy Irons holds a waiting period from December 8 – 20, 2013 and is webcast LIVE viatriplecrownofsurfing.com
Surfline, official forecasters for the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, are calling for:
Overlapping NNW swells prevail Sunday through Tuesday with good size surf at Pipe. Wind is light Sunday and Monday, with trades rebuilding by Tuesday.
BILLABONG PIPE MASTERS ROUND 1 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 13.66 def. Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 12.83
Heat 2: Damien Hobgood (USA) 11.27 def. Joel Centeio (HAW) 6.66
Heat 3: Alejo Muniz (BRA) 16.00 def. Marcus Hickman (HAW) 11.67
Heat 4: Kaimana Jaquias (HAW) 16.16 def. Kieren Perrow (AUS) 12.84
Heat 5: Yadin Nicol (AUS) 14.83 def. Kahea Hart (HAW) 11.44
Heat 6: Bruce Irons (HAW) 9.24 def. Raoni MOnteiro (BRA) 7.00
Heat 7: Dusty Payne (HAW) 13.73 def. Reef McIntosh (HAW) 12.84
Heat 8: Jadson Andre (BRA) 9.30 def. Olamana Eleogram (HAW) 8.17
Heat 9: Mitch Crews (AUS) 9.40 def. Shane Dorian (HAW) 7.73
Heat 10: Granger Larsen (HAW) 13.50 def. Kalani Chapman (HAW) 7.66
Heat 11: Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 12.17 def. Ricardo Dos Santos (BRA) 5.67
Heat 12: Ryan Callinan (AUS) 17.76 def. Dane Reynolds (USA) 9.77
BILLABONG PIPE MASTERS ROUND 2 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Kaimana Jaquias (HAW) 15.67 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 11.30
Heat 2: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 18.67 def. Bruce Irons (HAW) 11.87
Heat 3: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 17.83 def. Ryan Callinan (AUS) 6.06
Heat 4: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 17.20 def. Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 13.43
Heat 5: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 13.16 def. Granger Larsen (HAW) 6.30
Heat 6: Mitch Crews (AUS) 14.50 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 10.66
Heat 7: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 14.17 def. Jadson Andre (BRA) 9.04
Heat 8: Dusty Payne (HAW) 9.00 def. Brett Simpson (USA) 7.24
Heat 9: Yadin Nicol (AUS) 7.34 def. Travis Logie (ZAF) 4.40
Heat 10: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 9.70 def. Alejo Muniz (BRA) 4.27
Heat 11: Adam Melling (AUS) 14.56 def. Damien Hobgood (USA) 4.07
Heat 12: Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 10.44 def. Kolohe Andino (USA) 8.93
UPCOMING BILLABONG PIPE MASTERS ROUND 3 MATCH UPS:
Heat 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Yadin Nicol (AUS)
Heat 2: C.J. Hobgood (USA) vs. Fredrick Patacchia (HAW)
Heat 3: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Patrick Gudauskas (USA)
Heat 4: Nat Young (USA) vs. Bede Durbidge (AUS)
Heat 5: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Gabriel Medina (BRA)
Heat 6: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Kaimana Jaquias (HAW)
Heat 7: Josh Kerr (AUS) vs. Miguel Pupo (BRA)
Heat 8: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Sebastian Zietz (HAW)
Heat 9: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Mitch Crews (AUS)
Heat 10: Kai Otton (AUS) vs. Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 11: Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Jeremy Flores (FRA)
Heat 12: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Dusty Payne (HAW)
The comp started off with a paddle-out to celebrate Madiba. Plenty of surfers took to the water to pay their respects to the great man. Even a coupla peeps who's first time it was on a board!
Then it was straight into the action with everyone from groms to Masters surfing their pips off under the floodlights. A great Friday & Saturday of surfing for all - surfers and spectators included.
Shot to Sunset Surf for hosting another kiff night surf comp and to all the sponsors, including Billabong, for putting up some great prizes.