Stab Magazine | One 10 and lots of Twos: Pipeline Today

One 10 and lots of Twos: Pipeline Today

Words by Morgan Williamson  It rained all morning and Kieren Perrow made the call, the Pipe Masters was on. News cracked this morning that Owen Wright had to withdraw from Pipe, and the world title race, due to a head injury. “My heart broke for Owen when I heard,” CJ Hobgood told me beneath the […]

news // Mar 8, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Words by Morgan Williamson 

It rained all morning and Kieren Perrow made the call, the Pipe Masters was on. News cracked this morning that Owen Wright had to withdraw from Pipe, and the world title race, due to a head injury. “My heart broke for Owen when I heard,” CJ Hobgood told me beneath the event scaffolding. “I wish he would’ve stayed in knowing the contest would probably be on today.” Italo Ferreira continued his crazy impressive rookie season by casually adapting to the tricky conditions. The morning beach crowd was minimal, the wet weather kept the tourists away. The typically packed Kamehameha Highway during the Pipe Masters was without traffic… until the sun pierced the grey and the typical mayhem resumed. Uneasy spectators shouted at me as I blocked their view, and boards and leashes were once again snapping with consistency in the shifty, windy peaks. Frothy little groms were scooping up splintered crafts left and right and snagging autographs from their favourite pros. The beach was generally in good spirits, although the absence of Owen Wright was still ringing through everyone’s mind.


Not so calm after the rain. Big, shifty and mean with glimmers of gold. Photo: WSL

“I caught a wave and got smashed and Owen was right there,” Mick tells me. “We took a few on the head. I don’t know what happened to him, we were fine when we came in. A little later he wasn’t feeling well. He’s doing better though. He should be out in a couple of days, they just want to keep him monitored with the concussion. He’s a good dude, he’ll be fine.”

The heat scores were generally low throughout today’s heats, four out of the twelve heats had winners who didn’t break double digits. “I didn’t think the conditions could be worse than yesterday,” Jamie O’Brien told me after his heat. “But they were. There’s a lot of rip in the waves and it’s pretty unruly out there. I don’t think they’ll run tomorrow and wait for that clean swell coming through next week. That way we can have a little time to relax. I’m super stoked to get the wildcard though.”

Mick was in form putting up the third highest single wave score of the day. “Yeah, I’m feeling good. Got that one out of the way and now it’s back to business,” he told me outside of Pupukea Grill over a poke bowl. “It’s always nerve wracking in the first round. Especially when you’ve got Bruce (Irons) and Seabass (Zeitz), they’re such great surfers. I just wanted to make smart decisions. It looks like there’s some waves on the way. We’ll wake up and see what’s going on tomorrow. If it’s not on then we know there’s another good swell on the way next week.”

Mr Hobgood’s always a threat at Pipe, and he reiterated with the only perfect score of the day. “They should have given John John a 10 right?” he laughed when I complimented him on his heat. “That was like confirmation why I should leave the sport. That barrel to air combo John did, I can’t do that.” CJ was all smiles. “I feel like I’m holding the sport back. I can’t get barreled then do those airs, I’m not evolving as these kids are. It’s the yin and yang, I guess.”

“If you’re waiting there and a really good one comes in you can tell it’s a good one.” CJ continues. “But beyond that trying to find anywhere between a two and a six is literally impossible. I was trying to find a back up because of course Kelly’s gonna get two good waves. So I knew I needed at least a six. But with the conditions today it’s hard to figure out what a six looks like.”

Round two is suiting up to be a foul demon for three of the title contenders. The Brazilian aerial specialist Filipe Toledo’s up against Bruce Irons. Adriano de Souza is up against The Jack Robinson, who seemed to adjust to the Pipe Masters with ease after yesterday’s event. Adriano might be the smartest competitor in the Pipe Masters, as we’ve heard that he’s enlisted JOB as his coach for surfing Pipe. “Man, I saw Adriano pack a good one before the contest started,” Sunny Garcia told me yesterday. “Which is good to see, he’s more known for small waves but he’s been doing his homework and is ready for some solid surf.” To add to the title drama Julian Wilson lost out to a 9.73 by Kai Otton in heat seven. Three of the five title contenders face the sudden death round when the contest’s called back on. And it’s hard placed to say that Gabriel Medina can’t surf big barrels well anymore.

If Mick Fanning finishes 25th/13th at Pipe
– Owen Wright and Julian Wilson will need a 1st
– Gabriel Medina will need a 3rd or better
– Adriano de Souza will need a 9th or better
– Filipe Toledo will need a 13th or better to clinch the World Title
If Mick Fanning finishes 9th
– Gabriel Medina will need a 1st
– Adriano de Souza will need a 5th
– Filipe Toledo will need a 9th
If Mick Fanning finishes 5th
– Gabriel Medina will need a 1st
– Adriano de Souza will need a 3rd
– Filipe Toledo will need a 5th
If Mick Fanning finishes 3rd
– Adriano will need a 2nd
– Filipe will need a 3rd
If Mick finishes 2nd
– Adriano will need a 1st
– Filipe will need a 1st
And if Mick Fanning wins the event he will clinch the World Title.


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