Billabong Pipe Masters: Excellent Rides in Windy Conditions
The Billabong Pipe Masters in Memory of Andy Irons, the final stop on the 2018 World Surf League Men’s Championship Tour, got underway on Thursday with Round One taking place in a windy 4-to-6 foot swell. Waves improved throughout the afternoon, offering excellent scores from three-time Vans Triple Crown of Surfing Champion Joel Parkinson (AUS) and 2017 Vans World Cup winner Conner Coffin (USA).
World Title contenders Gabriel Medina (BRA) and Julian Wilson (AUS) advanced through their opening heats at Pipeline. 2014 WSL Champion and two-time Billabong Pipe Master finalist Medina won his battle against Connor O’Leary (AUS) and wildcard Benji Brand (HAW), locking in a 13.16 point total (out of a possible 20).
“I was just trying to get a lot of waves,” Medina stated. “I’m really happy to make it through. Today the waves are really challenging out there. This year has been challenging with a couple of ups and downs. I’m stoked to come to Hawaiʻi with a little advantage over the other competitors. But, I’m really focused on myself. I need to make the Final so I’ll stay focused and try and do my best every single heat.”
2014 Billabong Pipe Master Wilson stuck to the wave face and managed to take the edge over Tomas Hermes (BRA) and replacement surfer Seth Moniz (HAW), courtesy of a four-maneuver combination at Backdoor – Pipeline’s right-handed wave – for a 5.57. Wilson backed it up with a straight turn in the Pipe lip to advance into Round 3 and distance himself slightly from Toledo.
“I’m mostly focusing on just trying to find some opportunities out there,” Wilson said. “They’re few and far between and I kind of just found a couple. I’m definitely closer this year, but still needing a really big result to get it. I feel like the three of us that are in contention are all thinking we need a big result to clinch it. We’re all in the same boat. It feels really good to get through a heat that’s so tricky like that.”
Filipe Toledo (BRA) will have a chance to redeem himself in Round 2 when competition resumes, as he will face lethal local wildcard Brand for a spot into Round 3.
Billabong Pipe Masters Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 12.00, Kelly Slater (USA) 11.43, Frederico Morais (PRT) 4.47
Heat 2: Yago Dora (BRA) 9.83, Owen Wright (AUS) 9.60, Miguel Pupo (BRA) 2.00
Heat 3: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 13.30, Joan Duru (FRA) 11.67, Keanu Asing (HAW) 5.66
Heat 4: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 6.03, Filipe Toledo (BRA) 5.04, Caio Ibelli (BRA) 4.93
Heat 5: Julian Wilson (AUS) 8.07, Tomas Hermes (BRA) 6.40, Seth Moniz (HAW) 4.57
Heat 6: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 13.16, Benji Brand (HAW) 9.97, Connor O’Leary (AUS) 9.67
Heat 7: Griffin Colapinto (USA) 7.07, Ryan Callinan (AUS) 6.77, Wade Carmichael (AUS) 4.50
Heat 8: Michael February (ZAF) 6.30, Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 6.10, Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 4.03
Heat 9: Michel Bourez (PYF) 12.03, Ian Gouveia (BRA) 12.00, Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 10.90
Heat 10: Conner Coffin (USA) 15.07, Jeremy Flores (FRA) 14.00, Jesse Mendes (BRA) 9.20
Heat 11: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 11.23, Kolohe Andino (USA) 8.10, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 5.13
Heat 12: Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 11.44, Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 7.60, Willian Cardoso (BRA) 5.04
Billabong Pipe Masters Round 2 Matchups:
Heat 1: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Benji Brand (HAW)
Heat 2: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Seth Moniz (HAW)
Heat 3: Wade Carmichael (AUS) vs. Caio Ibelli (BRA)
Heat 4: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) vs. Keanu Asing (HAW)
Heat 5: Kolohe Andino (USA) vs. Miguel Pupo (BRA)
Heat 6: Willian Cardoso (BRA) vs. Kelly Slater (USA)
Heat 7: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Ryan Callinan (AUS)
Heat 8: Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs. Ian Gouveia (BRA)
Heat 9: Ezekiel Lau (HAW) vs. Jesse Mendes (BRA)
Heat 10: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) vs. Patrick Gudauskas (USA)
Heat 11: Frederico Morais (PRT) vs. Connor O’Leary (AUS)
Heat 12: Joan Duru (FRA) vs. Tomas Hermes (BRA)
Watch LIVE: The Billabong Pipe Masters will be broadcast LIVE on WSL’s Facebook page and WorldSurfLeague.com.