Stab Magazine | The top 5 moments from an all-time day at the Volcom Pipe Pro
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The top 5 moments from an all-time day at the Volcom Pipe Pro

Words by Jed Smith Pipe was all-time today.North Shore lifeguard and local hellman, Dave Wassel, called it the best Pipe in two years. Dusty Payne said they were the waves he used to draw in his school textbooks. The biggest and best west swell of the season hit Pipe for day two of the Volcom […]

news // Mar 8, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Words by Jed Smith

Pipe was all-time today.
North Shore lifeguard and local hellman, Dave Wassel, called it the best Pipe in two years. Dusty Payne said they were the waves he used to draw in his school textbooks. The biggest and best west swell of the season hit Pipe for day two of the Volcom Pipe Pro, lighting up the lefts as we know they can. Late season Banzai is a sure bet, the sand washed from the reef by early season swells clearing the way for some premium, unaffected orbs. Bruce Irons took full advantage, driving through this Backdoor freight train on his way to a 9.4 and a heat win.

Mr Florence. Photo: WSL/tony heff

Mr Florence. Photo: WSL/tony heff

John Florence did what John Florence does.
The most winningest surfer in the history of the Volcom Pipe Pro (four times) was as you’d expect in the all-time conditions. JJF put up the highest heat of the total of the day (18.84) featuring a 9.57 for an under the lip take off on a genuine bomb, followed by two sections, and a foam ball wrestle on the end.  He did it with aplomb, giving us a rare glimpse of satisfaction as he exited.  “I got those first two waves and I was really stoked on that. It’s firing now and I’m just stoked to watch it,” he said.

The 43-year-old Japanese man with part of the reef named after him made his heat.
His name is Takuya Wakita and he’s one of the most respected foreigners to ever surf the wave. “Brah, I don’t even get my own bowl out there!” says Jamie O’Brien, of the man originally from the Shonan prefecture, an hour south of Tokyo.
A bona fide cult hero on the North Shore, Wakita first arrived on the seven mile miracle in the winter of ’89/90, taking up a spot so impossibly deep in the lineup it’s been named after him.
“My main motto is I don’t wanna bother all the local guys,” says Wakita. “I know where I sit is too deep for the spot but that’s okay. Sometimes with the current it pulls people around and if I’m in the right place I have to try,” he says.
In the same Gath Helmet he’s worn since 1996, he scooped into a dreamy Pipeline left for a 7.4 and a second place finish behind Seabass. All in time to make the late shift at Liam McNamara’s North Shore Surf Shop where he holds down a job in sales. He takes on Slater, Jack Robinson and Ezekiel Lau in round four, heat three, tomorrow.

Gavin_Beschen_VPP_2016_photo-

Gav Besch, by Lugo Lugo.

Blast from the past.
It could have been 2006 with Kelly Slater, Chris Ward and Gavin Beschen lining up for a heat in all-time Pipe conditions. It was the first time Kelly and Wardo had faced off in a heat since that famous chocolate-barrel Pipe Masters final back in 2008. Kelly got him then but not today, Wardo dropping a 9.5 for a classic no-hands Pipe keg and the win. He also had this piece of advice for anyone lining up against the GOAT: “Staying away from him before the heat is always good. Just learning from him and beating him is always something. He’s been such an inspiration.”

Volcom does an epic broadcast.
So roots, so whacky, soooo classic. It’s a world away from the WSL, but you’ve gotta love it. Between Pipe hellman and North Shore Lifeguard, Dave Wassel, the smooth tones of Sal Masakela and the Aussie punk froth of eternal groover, Vaughan Dead, it’s a barrel of laughs to go with the big blue ones on the reef. Some pretty classic animations from Drew Toonz, too.

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