Two days into Oahu’s Pipe Masters, the finale to the 2012 ASP World Tour, and the ocean has scheduled a nice little intermission for us to catch our collective breaths. In addition to the World Title race, which has lost Mick Fanning in round 3, there have been several other notable moments.
For one, Sebastian Zietz and his rampage through the Triple Crown continues. Not only has Seabass qualified for the 2013 tour, and clinched his first ever Triple Crown title, but he has also booked himself a spot in the quarterfinals of the Pipe Masters, the final event of the Triple Crown, and seems to be untouchable at the moment. With a win at the first jewel of the Triple Crown, the Reef Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa, and a third at the second jewel, the Vans World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach, Sebastian is poised to become only the second surfer in history to make all three finals of the Triple Crown. The first being Sebastian’s childhood neighbor and hero, Andy Irons.
World Tour retiree Dane Reynolds is also having another impressive wildcard performance. Reynolds is touted as the world’s best freesurfer for his aerial and rail game, but when there are only three other guys in the water at Pipeline, Dane shows that he is no slouch in big, scary tubes. He is matched up against CJ Hobgood in round 5 for a spot in the quarters. He has already made one final this year as a wildcard, in the Quiksilver Pro France, where he got second to Kelly Slater.
Brazilian rookie Gabriel Medina continues to up his game, seemingly perfecting every facet of his repertoire. Clips of Gabby landing massive backflips in his North Shore freesurfs appeared before the Triple Crown even began, and while his air-game has always been well documented, critics pointed out that he has yet to dominate in big waves. He then made the final at Sunset using mature rail work in waves that did not suit him–big lumpy rights without an air section in sight. Now he’s one heat away from the quarterfinals in a firing Pipeline. You may or may not recall that Gabby quietly made the quarters of last year’s event, in similar conditions. The young phenom has made a concerted effort to silence all critics, and it seems to be paying off nicely.
With Pipeline being the last event of the season, the qualification picture has become very clear–with one exception, Yadin Nicol. With all other bubble boys having lost out earlier, Yadin is the only campaigner remaining who could possibly leap into qualification. The likable Aussie was a long shot for qualifying going into the event at No. 56 in the rankings, far outside the top 32 cutoff. He will likely need to make the final in order to climb back on to the tour for 2013, and he has a round 4 match-up against Shane Dorian and Miguel Pupo to make the quarters when competition resumes.
Surfing magazine has a photo gallery from the action so far, which can be seen here. Vans also has event photos here. Photos of Sebastian Zietz (top) and Gabriel Medina (bottom) courtesy Vans. Photo of Dane Reynolds (middle) by Macfarlane/Surfing magazine.
A solid NW swell is forecasted for Friday, which is expected to be the final day of the event.
BILLABONG PIPE MASTERS REMAINING ROUND 2 RESULTS:
Heat 4: Shane Dorian (HAW) 13.77 def. Alejo Muniz (BRA) 11.10
Heat 5: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 14.60 def. Ricardo dos Santos (BRA) 12.76
Heat 6: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 12.73 def. Travis Logie (ZAF) 12.17
Heat 7: Dane Reynolds (USA) 17.00 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 13.26
Heat 8: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 15.66 def. Adam Melling (AUS) 9.90
Heat 10: Yadin Nicol (AUS) 14.17 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 12.17
Heat 11: Kolohe Andino (USA) 9.47 def. Brett Simpson (USA) 3.83
Heat 12: Kieren Perrow (AUS) 16.33 def. Heitor Alves (BRA) 7.12
BILLABONG PIPE MASTERS ROUND 3 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 15.00 def. John John Florence (HAW) 7.83
Heat 2: Damien Hobgood (USA) 16.10 def. Owen Wright (AUS) 10.83
Heat 3: Dane Reynolds (USA) 17.83 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 8.50
Heat 4: Kieren Perrow (AUS) 14.16 def. Julian Wilson (AUS) 13.17
Heat 5: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 11.60 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 8.87
Heat 6: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 16.17 def. Kalani Chapman (HAW) 13.50
Heat 7: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 18.50 def. Kolohe Andino (USA) 14.06
Heat 8: Josh Kerr (AUS) 18.13 def. Bede Durbidge (AUS) 17.13
Heat 9: Kelly Slater (USA) 18.63 def. Billy Kemper (HAW) 15.50
Heat 10: Yadin Nicol (AUS) 12.83 def. Taj Burrow (AUS) 11.66
Heat 11: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 11.83 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 10.10
Heat 12: Shane Dorian (HAW) 15.67 def. Mick Fanning (AUS) 15.07
BILLABONG PIPE MASTERS ROUND 4 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 16.40, Damien Hobgood (USA) 14.17, Dane Reynolds (USA) 9.96
Heat 2: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 18.10, C.J. Hobgood (USA) 6.20, Kieren Perrow (AUS) 5.83
REMAINING BILLABONG PIPE MASTERS ROUND 4 MATCH UPS:
Heat 3: Gabriel Medina (BRA), Josh Kerr (AUS), Kelly Slater (USA)
Heat 4: Yadin Nicol (AUS), Miguel Pupo (BRA), Shane Dorian (HAW)