Stab Magazine | Ryan Callinan Wins The Pipe Trials, And Ethan Ewing Can Still Qualify
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Ryan Callinan Wins The Pipe Trials, And Ethan Ewing Can Still Qualify

No açaí bowls were lost today. 

news // Dec 13, 2018
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

The waves were not very good for the start of the Pipe Masters trials.

Morning sickness and a yet-to-arrive swell welcomed Bruce Irons, Jamie O’Brien, Makai McNamara and Ryan Callinan in Round 1 Heat 1, and thanks to a questionable no-make call by the judges, JOB and Brucey were relegated to the bleachers.

For the entirety of the first round, only three surfers acquired a double digit heat score… and not for lack of trying. The boys were sending it. Airs, end section whacks, closeout Backdoor lumps, and all the rest. 

As the day progressed, the swell filled in and bigger scores followed.

In the last quarterfinal, Ethan Ewing put together the day’s first excellent heat score, including a wild foamball ride to long curtain navigation, earning himself an 8.83 and an easy path to the semifinals. Before the heat was over, Ethan took off on a left and threaded its small, running funnel, doing his best to escape before the wave collapsed around him. On his way out of the doggy door, Ethan was compressed to his board by lip and put in a compromising position.

Ewing DX20485 Pipe18 Sloane

Poor Double-E. But it ain’t all bad. Photo: WSL

When Ethan emerged from the whitewater, he could be seen screaming and then immediately returned to shore. Upon closer inspection, it was revealed that Ethan had sprained his ankle.

Ethan’s injury reinforces a long-held truth: when a Pipeline wave lands on your back, something has to give. If you’re lucky it’s the board. If you’re not, it’s ankles, knees and backs. Ethan was the unfortunate subject of this physical law and despite his remarkable tubes would be unable to compete in the semis.

Despite that, Ewing remained invested in the Trials’ outcome.

Reason being, if Ryan Callinan could make it through the Trials and manage to win the entire Pipe Masters, he would qualify through the CT, thus double-qualifying him for next year’s CT, meaning that Ethan, as the next guy out of the QS qualifying slot, would actually get bumped up into the 2019 CT.

…That’s assuming Griffin Colapinto maintains his current spot within the top-22.  

Long story short: if Ryan Callinan wins the Pipe Masters, Ethan Ewing will (probably) be on next year’s CT.

Going into the semis, the waves continued to slowly increase in quality. Heat one saw Torrey Meister backdoor a Pipe wedge for a high six. In heat two Noa Mizuno slipped through a low-five, Soli Bailey snuck a mid-six and Benji Brand packed a wild Pipe left for the best score of the day – 8.87.

Brand DX20276 Pipe18 Sloane2

Benji continues to prove himself as a legitimate Pipe threat. Photo: WSL

With Torrey Meister, Ryan Callinan, Soli Bailey and Benji Brand locked in for the final, everything pointed toward a hard-hitting match between four proven tub monkeys.

The ocean had different ideas.

As the final began, the winds simultaneously increased and tilted more north, turning the once-clean lineup into a sea of crumbly white.

What more, the waves completely disappeared. In stark contrast to the four-to-six footers seen in previous heats, the final consisted of two-foot burgers and four single-point heat totals.

“It looks like the wind beat down the swell,” Pottz proclaimed.

He was right.

With most competitors having messed around on insiders and collected ones and twos, Ryan Callinan waited for the first legit wave of the heat and stroked in from Second Reef (or at least somewhere close to it). Ryan dropped in, slipped a short tube, got slapped in the head and escaped on his feet.

A huge score of four points. Straight to first.

The heat continued with more turns, air attempts, and closeout head-dips until Ryan stroked into another three-foot Second Reefer and got a slightly better tube and almost claimed it.

5.67.

The wind got worse and that was it. Ryan Callinan first, Benji Brand a distant second and both of them into the Masters.

Winners DX20561 Pipe18 Sloane

Here’s to a better tomorrow. Photo: WSL

With Benji hailing from South Africa, it should be noted that there are no “true” Hawaiians entering the main event from the Trials, although Benji does wave a Hawaiian flag in his corner. 

While the Trials were mostly underwhelming, let us hope the waves and wind improve for tomorrow’s inevitable start. But for now, it’s time to hit the Billabong house for a Parko retirement party.

Nevermind his heat in the morning.

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