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Final Day for Pipeline Masters: On and Looking Good

Friday, December 12th, 2008

joel parkinson pipeline masters

The call for the final day of competition has been made at the 2008 Billabong Pipeline Masters. Kelly Slater is going for his 6th Pipeline Masters win, Andy Irons is right behind him with 4 and shooting for #5. Bede Durbidge and Jamie O’Brien are both shooting for their 2nd. The rest of the final 16 surfers would become a Pipeline Master for the very first time, enscribing their names into surfing’s history books forever.

A massive rainstorm pounded Oahu and left various parts of the North Shore under water. The storm has since passed, and in it’s wake left a building 6-8 ft WNW swell @14 seconds with wind out of the south/southeast. The weather in Oahu should be clear, leaving us with a beautiful day to complete the 2008 Billabong Pipeline Masters. Go to http://triplecrownofsurfing.com/ for all of the action.

Billabong Pipeline Masters Round 4 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Marcus Hickman (HAW) vs. Luke Stedman (AUS)
Heat 2: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Tim Reyes (USA)
Heat 3: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Kieren Perrow (AUS)
Heat 4: Aritz Aranburu (EUK) vs. Jamie O’Brien (HAW)
Heat 5: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Tom Whitaker (AUS)
Heat 6: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Kamalei Alexander (HAW)
Heat 7: Chris Ward (USA) vs. Bede Durbidge (AUS)
Heat 8: Evan Valiere (HAW) vs. Andy Irons (HAW)

Winners of the Pipeline Masters
2008- ? 2007 Bede Durbidge 2006 Andy Irons 2005 Andy Irons 2004 Jamie O’Brien 2003 Andy Irons Hawaii 2002 Andy Irons Hawaii 2001 Bruce Irons Hawaii 2000 Rob Machado California 1999 Kelly Slater Florida 1998 Jake Paterson Australia 1997 John Gomes Hawaii 1996 Kelly Slater Florida 1995 Kelly Slater Florida 1994 Kelly Slater Florida 1993 Derek Ho Hawaii 1992 Kelly Slater Florida 1991 Tom Carroll Australia 1990 Tom Carroll Australia 1989 Gary Elkerton Australia 1988 Robby Page Australia 1987 Tom Carroll Australia 1986 Derek Ho Hawaii 1985 Mark Occhilupo Australia 1984 Joey Buran USA 1983 Dane Kealoha Hawaii 1982 Michael Ho Hawaii 1981 Simon Anderson Australia 1980 Mark Richards Australia 1979 Larry Blair Australia 1978 Larry Blair Australia 1977 Rory Russel Hawaii 1976 Rory Russel Hawaii 1975 Shaun Tomson South Africa 1974 Jeff Crawford USA 1973 Gerry Lopez Hawaii 1972 Gerry Lopez Hawaii 1971 Jeff Hakman Hawaii

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Pipe Masters Update: Pipe Passed Today, Possible Friday Finale (VIDEO)

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

andy irons pipeline masters

As expected, the rain and Kona winds have kept the 2008 Billabong Pipeline Masters from running it’s final day of action today. Conditions at Pipe are a sloppy, wind-blown 2-3 ft; nothing even close to being worthy of crowning a champion for the prestigious event.

Fresh off chasing swell in the Caroline Islands, 9x world champion Kelly Slater showed up just in time for his 3rd Round heat against wildcard Ezra Sitt. He promptly busted out his 5′10″ and proceeded to cruise to an easy heat win. A victory at Pipeline for a record 6th time would be icing on the cake for Slater, but he doesn’t appear to be too concerned about the event, and that could be trouble for the rest of the Pipe Masters hopefuls. “A win at Pipe would be great, but to be honest with you, it doesn’t really matter at this point,” Slater said. “Not that Pipe doesn’t matter, but I’m just enjoying not having the constant contest stress. If I win it is definitely a huge bonus, but in a way, I’d like to see somebody else win, someone who hasn’t won it before. I’ve got a couple, Andy’s got a couple, Bede won one last year. Maybe it’s Parko’s year or maybe Brucey will pull off another win here to finish his year off.”

The Brucey that Slater referred to would be the one and only Bruce Irons. Bruce looked completely in form in his first heat, but lost a very close heat to Tom Whitaker in Round 3. While he won’t be leaving full-time tour duties on a winning note, he has made it clear he’ll be back to compete soon enough. “I’m sick of people saying this is going to be my last event. I’m not going to be on tour officially, but I am still going to surf the Tahiti and Pipe events. You can’t get rid of me that easy.”

With only one full day needed to crown a champion, Randy Rarrick is hoping for a classic Pipeline finish. The swell forecast is showing a possible swell for Friday and another for early next week. Stay tuned to 5ones updates, and check out the vids below for some of the top 2008 Pipeline Masters footage so far.

Billabong Pipeline Masters Round 3 Results:
Heat 1: Marcus Hickman (HAW) 14.56 def. Mick Fanning (AUS) 13.83
Heat 2: Luke Stedman (AUS) 7.34 def. Damien Hobgood (USA) 5.50
Heat 3: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 20.00 def. Dusty Payne (USA) 15.16
Heat 4: Tim Reyes (USA) 14.83 def. Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 10.56
Heat 5: Kelly Slater (USA) 17.77 def. Ezra Sitt (HAW) 7.90
Heat 6: Kieren Perrow (AUS) 14.83 def. Taylor Knox (USA) 10.50
Heat 7: Aritz Aranburu (EUK) 11.50 def. Bobby Martinez (USA) 6.60
Heat 8: Jamie O’Brien (HAW) 16.50 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 9.86
Heat 9: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 18.26 def. Daniel Wills (AUS) 17.94
Heat 10: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 13.83 def. Kekoa Bacalso (HAW) 12.16
Heat 11: Tom Whitaker (AUS) 16.24 def. Bruce Irons (HAW) 16.10
Heat 12: Kamalei Alexander (HAW) 12.56 def. Taj Burrow (AUS) 9.00
Heat 13: Chris Ward (USA) 17.27 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 13.83
Heat 14: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 13.93 def. Shane Dorian (HAW) 12.63
Heat 15: Evan Valiere (HAW) 18.13 def. C.J. Hobgood (USA) 16.60
Heat 16: Andy Irons (HAW) 14.37 def. Dean Morrison (AUS) 13.17

Billabong Pipeline Masters Round 4 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Marcus Hickman (HAW) vs. Luke Stedman (AUS)
Heat 2: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Tim Reyes (USA)
Heat 3: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Kieren Perrow (AUS)
Heat 4: Aritz Aranburu (EUK) vs. Jamie O’Brien (HAW)
Heat 5: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Tom Whitaker (AUS)
Heat 6: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Kamalei Alexander (HAW)
Heat 7: Chris Ward (USA) vs. Bede Durbidge (AUS)
Heat 8: Evan Valiere (HAW) vs. Andy Irons (HAW)

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Andy Irons Returns at Pipeline Masters

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008

pipeline masters

The 2008 Billabong Pipeline Masters became complete with the late entry of Hawaii’s own Andy Irons into the event. The 3x world champion is returning from a couple months off of competition and will be going strong after his 5th Pipe Masters’ crown. “I took a break for about a month and came back to the North Shore to train and get my rhythm back,” Andy Irons said. “The Pipe event has been in the back of my head for over a month now, and these past couple weeks of surfing and training have brought my confidence back to where it needs to be. I’m ready. I know I can win out here.”

There has been a lot of spectulation about Andy’s personal life and his decision to take a break mid-tour. None of that matters, Andy Irons is one of the best ever to surf the legendary left and his presence in this years event makes an already epic surf contest that much more exciting. Kelly Slater with his 5 Pipe Master’s titles is the only person ahead of Andy at Pipe. If Irons can clinch the title in 2008, he and Slater will share the record for the most victories at Pipeline. That alone will have Andy chomping at the bit to get in the water.

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WQS: The Final 15, Marlon Lipke Awaits

Monday, December 8th, 2008

asp world tour logoAfter a full year on the 2008 ASP WQS Tour, the final 15 surfers that find themselves at the top of the rankings have guaranteed themselves spots on the 2009 Dream Tour. It’s a hell of an accomplishment for all of these guys; the ‘QS can be a grueling tour and a lot of sacrifices have to be made just to make it through the entire year, let alone finish in the top 15.

The man at #16, German shredder Marlon Lipke, has a couple of outside, although very possible scenarios in which he could sneak on to next year’s WCT. Dream Tour surfer Tiago Pires could possibly double qualify, meaning he has already sealed his spot for next year by finishing #13 on the ‘QS. He’s at #30 on the ‘CT going into the Pipeline Masters. A solid finish would boost into the top 27 and allow Lipke in. There has also been speculation about whether or not Andy Irons will participate in next year’s tour. I personally hope he doesn’t and just takes the year off to freesurf and film. There’s never enough fresh footage of Andy surfing; I’m guessing Marlon Lipke feels the same way.

Final 2008 ASP WQS Top 16
1. Nathaniel Curran USA
2. Chris Davidson AUS
3. Michel Bourez PYF
4. Gabe Kling USA
5. Jihad Khodr BRA
6. David Weare ZAF
7. Josh Kerr AUS
8. Nic Muscroft AUS
9. Kekoa Bacalso HAW
10. Greg Emslie ZAF
11. Tim Boal FRA
12. Dustin Barca HAW
13. Tiago Pires PRT
14. Phillip MacDonald AUS
15. Drew Courtney AUS
16. Marlon Lipke GER

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Dane Reynolds Speaks On His Injury/Return

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

dane reynolds air

There are few young surfers in the world who get me amped about what’s possible in surfing and the direction our sport is headed the way Dane Reynolds does (Clay Marzo and Dusty Payne being a couple of the others). When Dane went down with an ankle injury following the Billabong Pro Mundaka, he left a noticeable void on the Dream Tour. With Kelly wrapping up the world championship so early and Bruce and Andy Irons going on sabbatical, Dane was one of the few guys left that really made the tour exciting to watch. Just like Slater, you really have no idea what you’re going to see on every wave he takes off on. Dane is single-handedly progressing the sport the way few others have.

Dane is working on making his way back from the brutality he imposed on his ankle. For the first time since injuring himself in Spain, Dane has opened up on his blog about the injury and where he’s at in the recovery process. Check the video, the very wave he injured himself on is a testament to how talented Dane Reynolds is.

His goal is to make it back by the time the Pipeline Masters rolls around and he seems cautiously optimisic about it. We look forward to his recovery and wish the best for the man Slater calls “the best surfer in the world right now by a mile.

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Get Ready for the Eddie Aikau: Video

Monday, December 1st, 2008

eddie aikauThe “Eddie”….the sound of those two words alone carry with them a mystique and level of respect that few other surfing competitions throughout the world come even close to matching. Otherwise known as the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau contest, the Eddie is still, as it has been since it’s inception, the premier big-wave riding event in surfing. And it is now officially open to run whenever Mother Nature decides to cooperate.

The call to run the Eddie hasn’t been made since 2004. That was the year Bruce Irons shocked the surfing world and claimed victory with an incredible winning wave at Waimea Bay. The standards for the Eddie are as high as any with one day of at least 20-foot surf needed for the call to be made. With all of the early swell activity seen on the North Shore already this year, hopes are high that the revered event will end it’s 4-year hiatus.

The names of those invited to participate are listed below. One that stands out is South Africa’s Grant “Twiggy” Baker. Twiggy added his 2008 Red Bull Big Wave Africa victory earlier this year to his stunning win at Mavericks in 2006. A win at Waimea Bay would be huge in securing his spot as one of, if not the premier big-wave surfer in the world right now.

Regardless, there is so much more to the Eddie than just a big-wave surf contest and I strongly recommend those who are unfamiliar with the story of Eddie Aikau to make an effort and seek out as much knowledge as possible regarding one of surfing’s greatest stories.

2008 Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau Invitees:

1. Andy Irons (Hawaii)
2. Brian Keaulana (Hawaii)
3. Brock Little (Hawaii)
4. Bruce Irons (Hawaii)
5. Carlos Burle (Brazil)
6. Clyde Aikau (Hawaii)
7. Darryl Virostko (California)
8. Grant “Twiggy” Baker (South Africa)
9. Greg Long (California)
10. Ian Walsh (Hawaii)
11. Ibon Amatriain (Spain)
12. Jamie O’Brien (Hawaii)
13. Jamie Sterling (Hawaii)
14. Kelly Slater (Florida)
15. Keone Downing (Hawaii)
16. Makua Rothman (Hawaii)
17. Mark Healey (Hawaii)
18. Michael Ho (Hawaii)
19. Noah Johnson (Hawaii)
20. Peter Mel (California)
21. Ramon Navarro (Chili)
22. Ross Clarke-Jones (Australia)
23. Rusty Keaulana (Hawaii)
24. Shane Dorian (Hawaii)
25. Sunny Garcia (Hawaii)
26. Takayuki Wakita (Japan)
27. Tom Carroll (Australia)
28. Titus Kinimaka (Hawaii

Previous Winners:
1985 – Denton Miyamura (Hawaii)
1986 – Clyde Aikau (Hawaii) – Eddie Aikau’s younger brother
1990 – Keone Downing (Hawaii)
1999 – Noah Johnson (Hawaii)
2000 – Ross Clarke-Jones (Australia)
2002 – Kelly Slater (Florida, USA)
2004 – Bruce Irons (Hawaii, USA)

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Kelly Slater Passing the Torch

Monday, November 17th, 2008

“Dane Reynolds is the best surfer in the world right now by a mile. If he doesn’t win this thing for the next 20 years, there’s something wrong I think.” – Kelly Slater

dane reynolds

Kelly Slater has never been shy about his thoughts on the potential possessed by Dane Reynolds to usher in the next revolution for surfing. For years now, Kelly has been generous and unrelenting in heaping praise on his Quiksilver counterpart. More so than any other world champion, as far as I can remember, Slater has gone out his way to pass the torch to Dane, and never was this more evident than at the most recent edition of the Surfer Poll awards where Kelly not only won his unprecedented 14th Surfer Poll, but also witnessed Dane finish third overall in the Surfer Mag poll. The list of surfers finishing behind Dane was pretty impressive, including the likes of Joel Parkinson, Andy Irons, Bruce Irons, Taj Burrow and others considered to be among the worlds best.

And Dane’s response to all of the respect being thrown this way and being considered the new revolution?

“I don’t know if I’ve really arrived, I’m only young…Everything I do is just a tiny notch toward…I don’t know what. A baby step toward something. I’m just a surf bum, really.”

Classic Dane, and part of the reason why Kelly’s prophecy of Dane’s greatness is likely to be fulfilled. Contest results, hype, awards and everything else don’t really seem to phase Dane much. He just loves to ride and is one of the most progressive, talented guys out there doing it.

Kelly speaks on the future of Dane…

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Andy Irons Responds

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

andy irons“Living a happy life is my main priority. You guys may think I am selfish for “wasting my talent” by staying away from events for a bit, but I am finally at a comfortable place where I can honestly say, if you guys see me out on tour again it’s because I am there to win, and I’m going to go 100%. If you don’t see me on tour, it’s because I have found happiness away from winning, and that might be the biggest achievement I could ever accomplish.” – Andy Irons

In an interview done by Surfline’s Lewis Samuels, 3-time ASP World Tour champion Andy Irons opened up and responded to some of the questions that have come as a result of erratic performances, enigmatic no-shows in France and Spain(Billabong’s own Pro Mundaka), an an apparent overall disinterest in the tour itself ,similar to that of his brother Bruce. Why did you no-show for your heat in France? Are you going to the next ASP event, in Brazil? Do you plan on surfing the Pipe Masters this year? Did losing twice in a row to Kelly at the beginning of this season have any effect on your desire to compete? Samuels fired away, Andy answered candidly…

We’ve seen this mid-career, soul searching journey from former world champions before. Curren, Occy, and Slater all stepped away in similarly abrupt manners while at the peak of their careers. In their own ways, each returned from their time away from the bright lights of the tour renewed and seemingly fulfilled.

Will this be the case with Andy Irons? Will we see a world championship run return from him just like those of Occy and Slater? Or will he simply be content with freesurfing the worlds best waves with Bruce and making random Pipeline Masters appearances? Only time and A.I. himself will answer those questions. Hopefully this time away will see Andy find whatever it is that has kept him holed up in hotel rooms and on the verge of a melt-down. And hopefully, as Andy himself put it, this time away will allow Andy Irons fall in love with surfing all over again.

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A Few Good Kelly Clips (Video)

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008

Kelly Slater

It’s good to be king. The surfing world is all things Slater right now, and for good reason. Since winning his 9th world championship last week in Mundaka there has been an absolute whirlwind of fresh press popping up regarding Kelly’s run. The chatter surrounding Quiksilver’s offering Kelly Slater a $10,000,000 bonus for winning #10 started long before he took to the water for the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast to kick-off his campaign for #9.

Kelly accomplishing that remarkable feat in Spain last week has eliminated the variable from the issue and turned speculation into a legitimate question. While it’s still officially unknown whether or not Quiksilver has thrown out such an offer, the mere fact that this is even a consideration is unreal. I would be through the roof if someone was even considering paying me $10 to surf the best waves around the world for a year, let alone $10 million.

Surfer Mag’s Chris Mauro penned a solid Kelly piece that sheds some light into just where Kelly is at in his career and puts into perspective the fact that he has reached a point of dominance at 36 yrs. of age. Will a 36-year-old Andy Irons have it in him to win a title in 2014? Will a 36-year-old Mick Fanning have it in him to win another one in 2017? Will Jordy perhaps stand a chance in 2024? I guess anything is possible, but the chances of it being their 9th world championship for any of the surfers mentioned by Mauro are, at best, very slim. Especially given Irons apparent disinterest in the tour at the moment.

Surfing guru and WQS Tour Manager Al Hunt brought up an interesting comparison between Slater and his reign and Lance Armstrong’s 7 Tour de France victories. Over the past few weeks that have led up to Slater’s #9, stories of Armstrong’s return to cycling and the drama surrounding that have far outnumbered any mentions of Slater’s utter dominance in competitive surfing. It’s never really bothered me that networks like ESPN don’t as much of a mention in respect to Slater. I’ve just never really understood the rationale behind it.

Apparently there is more of an interest is an MMA brawler named Kimbo Slice getting knocked cold in 14 seconds then Kelly Slater winning his 9th world championship in a 16 year span. It’s too bad, but for whatever the reason the vast majority of news/sports networks would rather cover some big dude get pummeled for a few seconds over the brilliant performance that took place in Kelly’s title-clinching heat (pay attention to the 00:45 second mark, how he pulls off that floater is still beyond me)

Regardless of how the rest of the world regards Kelly Slater and what he is accomplishing, the surfing community is well aware of just how incredible what we are witnessing Slater do really is.

It’s definitely good to be king, but right now, it’s even better to be Kelly Slater.

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The State of Pro Surfing in Hawaii

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

clay marzo

It’s been 32 years since the ASP World Tour officially began. And in every year since 1976 there has been at least one Hawai’i surfer in the Top 10 come years end. With only 3 events left for the 2008 year on tour, that streak is in jeopardy of coming to an end.

With a total of 5 world championships making their way back to the islands over the past 31 years, Hawai’i’s professional surfers have always had at least some sort of impact on the world title race. However when Andy Irons unexpectedly skipped out of his 2nd round heat with Jihad Khodr at the Quiksilver Pro France, the Kauai’i surfer tumbled all the way down to no.13 in the overall ASP rankings and left Hawaii without any representation in the current Top 10. That has to be pretty strange for the place that many consider to be the epicenter of the surfing world. Even stranger than that is the real scenario that Hawai’i could go from having 5 surfers on tour in 2008 to a mere 2 on the 2009 Dream Tour.

‘08 has been anything but a smooth ride for Hawai’s current WCT surfers. Although he hasn’t been the same dominant, intimidating A.I. that we’ve come to know in recent years, Andy had been fairly consistent up until the Trestles event. He went home with a 33rd from the Trestles event, and then followed that result up with his France no-show. Brother Bruce, and current world no. 14, made his overall displeasure with the tour known by announcing his decision to bail on full-time tour status next year. In classic Bruce Irons fashion, the Volcom-rider completely blew minds on his way to winning the “Somewhere in Indo” event, and then went on to blow minds again, although in a very different way, with laying down of scores in the 2+ range during his very brief appearance at the Quik Pro.

Fred Patacchia started off the year with a frustrating leg-injury at the hands of Pipeline and it really took Fred a few events to get back into form. He finished runner-up to Bruce in Indo and, aside from his Trestle’s showing, seems to be riding some decent momentum. He’s currently sitting at no. 18 and will more than likely seal himself a spot on the ‘09 tour in the next couple of events.

Roy Powers and Pancho Sullivan round out the rest of Hawai’i’s pro-surfing contigent. Pancho, at no. 40, will definitely have to climb back on tour via the WQS next year and Roy, at no. 23, is flirting with having to do the same.

The overall future for Hawai’i’s pro’s is actually very bright. Between Clay Marzo, John John Florence, Torry Meister, Mason Ho, and many others, Hawai’i has an absolute slew of up and coming rippers that will most likely compete for the world championship for years to come. However it may be another few years before those guys are actually set to make noise on the Dream Tour. If Roy doesn’t finish in the Top 27, that basically leaves Hawai’i’s tour hopes heaped upon the enigmatic A.I., and a somewhat resurgent Freddy P. Sunny Garcia, currently no. 20 on the WQS tour, has an outside shot of being on the ‘CT next year, but even then you have to wonder about how well he’ll be able to compete with the new breed of surfing that’s taking place on tour.

So while there are still 3 events, and most importantly the Pipeline Masters left for Hawai’i’s current group of pros to make some noise, it’s been an uncharacteristically off year for the state of pro-surfing in Hawai’i. While this seems to be more of an abnormality than a sign of things to come, the possibility of having no surfers in the Top 10 come years end is something that none of us expected at the beginning of the year.

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