Softtops, 11am Tins, Last Minute Heroics & Much Leaderboard Shuffling
36 heads get axed on day two of the Vans Pipe Masters.
- Eithan wears 46” boardies, channels Andy and summons Backdoor nug
- Harry Bryant muscles first Backdoor pit, on the tins at 11am
- Top 4 shuffles and swaps just about every heat
- Wave of the day: Carissa Moore’s late-drop Backdoor drainer (29.5/30)
- Laura Enever’s wipeout reel (& $1000 cash bonus)
- JOB rode a catchsurf soft-top log and caught the best wave of his heat with a GoPro in his mouth
- Kaulana Apo’s last second jump to first place in R2H10
- Heaps of brown bags of cash getting around – very hood, I like it
Chart oracle and contest director Nate Fletcher called it this morning. “My prediction is that we’re in for an outstanding day of surfing”. He was bang on. Despite the odd slow heat, the day was packed with big performances and insightful commentary from the booth.
Harry Bryant woke twenty minutes before the first heat of the morning, grabbed his 6’5” Tokoro, hobbled down to Banzai on a newly-reconditioned ankle, and packed his first proper Backdoor pit. “Was good to shake the monkey off my back and get a proper Backdoor wave,” he remarked in his post-heat interview, before washing down his W with an 11am Pale Ale.
Eddie Rothman’s mid-sentence transition from explaining the Da Hui Backdoor Shootout format to his live sketch of Eithan’s Backdoor drainer is the kind of off-the-cuff unbleeped froth we need more of on the broadcast. “Ho, look at dis wave, lesgo. Ho, comin out, fuck yeah… that was a good wave”.
In heat two Billy Kemper and Eimeo Czermak both found combos that momentarily had them in the top four. Neither would stay there. Billy looked to be enjoying no-priority, finding three or four waves compared to everyone else’s one or two. Interestingly, Eimeo Czermak said he chose to be in a heat with Billy, and that Pipe is an easier wave than Teahupo’o. Two sizzling hot takes. Heat ended with Billy snapping his leash and a shaving cut on the chin courtesy of the Banzai barber.
Craig Anderson was nudged off a double up by Noah Beschen in heat three. Not sure who was technically “deeper” here but party waves should be encouraged IMO. Imaikalani Devault channeled his inner Johnny Boy Gomes to climb into the top 4, Yago backed him up in the next heat with the first proper tube-to-air combo of the event. 2/4 surfers in the final are from Volcom. Who said stones don’t emit magical powers?
Riss Moore, the most highly paid Red Bull surfer of all time courtesy of sweet performance bonuses (see HSGP ep 4), kicked off womens round one with a Backdoor clinic. Banked a mid-size tube followed by two turns early, then with a minute left, airdropped into a deep long Backdoor cavern and got blown to the shoulder. A 29.5/30 and one of the most memorable waves at Backdoor surfed by a female in competition. Red Bull accountant working Xmas day again…
Ladybird Bela Nalu burning Tati was also notable.
Bettylou and Caity traded off perfect mid-size tubes in heat three with much panache. Will be very interesting to see how these two fare in the Pipe Pro come Jan with all this early-season practice. Riss, Caity, Betty and Moana all winners of round one.
Kaulana Apo was the biggest upset of the day, moving from way down the rankings to first in the last minute of the last heat of the day with two staunch meat and potatoes Pipe bombs.
Peak performance: Carissa Moore (R1H1), Joao Chianca R2H9, Kaulana Apo R2H10
Hit replay: Men’s H1R1, Yago jetski floater R2H4
- Eithan and Harry’s Backdoor waves
- Yago tube to air-rev combo
- Carissa Moore Backdoor tube
- Laura Enever in the lip
- Makana Pang
- Kaulana Apo
One-liners: “If you were smart, you wouldn’t be out there, you’d be watching the show” – Mason Ho
Laura Enever talks incredibly well for someone who subjects herself to so much head trauma. Threw herself off the top-ropes on multiple occasions in heat two. “Sorry Mum!” she caveated her post-heat interview with. Copped a $1000 cash bonus in a brown paper bag for her masochism that she’ll put towards her ‘prang with a Tacoma earlier in the week’.
Speaking of them brown paper bags – how gangster. Was kind of Makua to remind recipients to “keep them on the downlow” when getting around the several mile miracle.
Sophie Bell is a boss. One of the most low-profile competitors coming into this event who proved to be an absolute maniac with a magnetism on camera. Radiates good vibes and received a $500 cash prize for her savagery. “The rent in South Africa sucks, so this is a lot for me”.
Joao Chianca, Balaram Stack, Kaulana Apo and Griffin Colapinto through to the finals. Yes! Not the usual suspects and no one is complaining (lol jks).
Caught behind: Craig Anderson, Mikey Feb (just)
Caught Inside: Billy Kemper – R2H2, Laura Enever, Sophie Bell
Say what? “Me and my gf thinking of starting an OnlyFans” – Koa Rothman on the livestream YT feed
Craig Anderson’s wave count is a let down. Would’ve loved to have seen some more of his fangs and ‘compete’ for some more quality waves. Then again, it’s probably why you’d much prefer to do an Indo trip with him than most other competitors.
In a similar vein, seeing Mikey February momentarily crack the final cutline against a bunch of Pipe specialists was a super exciting prospect. Good to periodically remind yourself he’s surfed 15 CT events with his best result coming at Teahupo’o. Having said that, how else you gonna score Kaulana Apo’s postcard Pipe bombing?
The next call for the VPM is tomorrow morning at 8 HST beginning with Round 2 of the women’s, then into the finals (all finals heats are one hour).
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