As dawn slowly crept over Pipeline on Oahu’s North Shore Monday morning, the roar of the ocean could be heard from miles away, and giant triangular peaks started to show through the darkness.
Surf fans were about to be treated to a long day of epic Pipe. Luckily, Day 2 of the Volcom Pipe Pro was scheduled to run, with the most highly anticipated heats featuring back-to-back battles between some of the world’s best Pipeline surfers and some up-and-coming youngsters hellbent of conquering real deal Pipeline.
After a block of incredible heats rolled through the morning, it was evident that Pipeline was in charge of the fortunes of the surfers, handing out beating after beating, and offering up a handful of perfect tubes for each heat. A solid field of international and local surfers traded blows with Pipeline throughout the day, but it was Heat 8 and Heat 9 in the round of 64 that really had the crowds excited, both on the beach and on the webcast.
Heat 8 was an all-star affair featuring 11-time world champ and pipe master Kelly Slater, hard charging favorite Chris Ward, World Qualifying Series warrior Luke Davis, and certified hellman Alex Gray. Ward ran away with the heat early, while Slater uncharacteristically struggled and took multiple poundings at the hand of Pipe and Backdoor. As time winded down, a visibly rattled Slater squeaked through the heat, and shook off a few harsh wipeouts before hanging on the beach for a good half hour, signing autographs and chatting with fans. "I got worked," said Slater later that morning. "I slammed the bottom, smashed my elbow, and took a few good ones on the head."
Heat 9 was another banger, featuring many people's pick for best Pipe surfer in the world, John John Florence, matched up against young guns Parker Coffin, Evan Geiselman, and South African upstart Michael "Freestyle" February. The result in this one wasn't what anyone expected.
Indeed, Parker Coffin accomplished what few others on Earth ever have—he scored a 9-plus wave at Pipeline and beat out John John Florence all in one heat.
"Best day of my life!" he shouted after making his way onto the beach, literally shaking with joy. "I just can't even believe that just happened."
Evan Geiselman also had the heat of his life, racking up two scores in the excellent range on his way to winning Heat 9 in the round of 64. Yep, the same heat that Parker Coffin got his incredible waves in, and yes, the same heat that showed us John John Florence has shockers just like the rest of us.
With John John Florence out, smart money now goes to a handful of favorites still going in the event, whose next call is 7:30 a.m. Hawaii Standard Time on Wednesday. Jamie O'Brien is looking solid along with Damien Hobgood, Mitch Coleborn, Fred Patacchia, Conner Coffin, Tanner Gudauskas, Olamana Eleogram, Brian Toth, and Brazil’s David Du Carmo, just to name a few. And Kelly Slater is an obvious choice to win, but as we saw on Monday, anything is possible, and you can expect the unexpected at the Volcom Pipe Pro.
Plus, by the looks of the charts, things are about to get even more nuts.
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