Two weeks ago, the prospect of an epic Pipeline Masters seemed like just a pipe dream (that was lame, sorry).
The season had been slow to say the least, and with a dismal forecast for Haleiwa, the whole Triple Crown was looking pretty crappy. Pipeline was choked with sand, and showing no signs of cleaning up.
That was then, this is now, and on the North Shore one’s luck can change just that fast. An epic Sunset event, and a couple big Wests later, and the Pipe Event is looking to fire. A proper second reef WNW swell is caressing the buoys as we speak, and thursday could see a green light for the Billabong Pipe Masters.
This would be the time to make jokes about the elite getting nightmares and faking injuries to get out of the event, but truth be told there are a bunch of big no-shows. Mick Fanning has opted out of the event due to a nagging back problem, defending champ Jeremy Flores, Heitor Alves, and Pat Gudang are also officially on injured reserve.
Replacing them in the draw are Adam Melling, Cj Hobgood, Laurie Towner and Jack Freestone. The ASP has also awarded the top 2 qualifiers with spots in the event, which go to Kolohe Andino and Willian Cardoso. This will be a test for the youngster from San Clemente.
Young Brazilians Miguel Pupo and Alejo Muniz are also in danger of missing the contest with bum legs, and considering the event should get going right out of the gate, we may see 2 more wildcards enter the draw.
With such a large field for a WCT event, the comp will be employing the Slater-method of overlapping heats, and three seeded rounds of man-on-man action. This means that top seeds like Kelly won’t be surfing on the first day of competition, as there are two whole rounds of 12 heats before his round begins.
The event could and should be live tomorrow, Thursday the 8th.
2011 BILLABONG PIPE MASTERS
UPCOMING ROUND 1 HEATS:
Heat 1: Matt Wilkinson v. Marcus Hickman
Heat 2: CJ Hobgood v. Kekoa Bacalso
Heat 3: Fred Patacchia v. Evan Valiere
Heat 4: Travis Logie v. Bruce Irons
Heat 5: Kai Otton v. Ian Walsh
Heat 6: Chris Davidson v. Kai Barger
Heat 7: Daniel Ross v. Aamion Goodwin
Heat 8: Dane Reynolds v. Jamie O’Brien
Heat 9: Kolohe Andino v. Laurie Towner
Heat 10: Willian Cardoso v. Shane Dorian
Heat 11: Tanner Gudauskas v. Jack Freestone
Heat 12: Mason Ho v. Hank Gaskell
UPCOMING ROUND 2 HEATS:
Heat 1: Adrian Buchan v. TBA
Heat 2: Miguel Pupo v. TBA
Heat 3: Bede Durbidge v. TBA
Heat 4: John Florence v. TBA
Heat 5: Taylor Knox v. TBA
Heat 6: Raoni Monteiro v. TBA
Heat 7: Brett Simpson v. TBA
Heat 8: Adam Melling v. TBA
Heat 9: Kieren Perrow v. TBA
Heat 10: Dusty Payne v. TBA
Heat 11: Tiago Pires v. TBA
Heat 12: Jadson Andre v. TBA
UPCOMING ROUND 3 HEATS:
Heat 1: Joel Parkinson v. TBA
Heat 2: Alejo Muniz v. TBA
Heat 3: Adriano de Souza v. TBA
Heat 4: Julian Wilson v. TBA
Heat 5: Damien Hobgood v. TBA
Heat 6: Kelly Slater v. TBA
Heat 7: Gabriel Medina v. TBA
Heat 8: Michel Bourez v. TBA
Heat 9: Owen Wright v. TBA
Heat 10: Jordy Smith v. TBA
Heat 11: Josh Kerr v. TBA
Heat 12: Taj Burrow v. TBA
NOTE: Draw subject to change pending withdrawals.