It’s Monday, the second day of the competition window for the Pipe contest. Althogh too small to hold heats at Pipeline, it’s perfect for Rocky’s. The swells that’ve been pounding the North Shore for two weeks have literally taken the gas out of Rocky Point. Until today, everybody’s favorite playground looked like a giant field of whitewash, but a sudden drop in swell gave Rocky Point license to show everyone what it can do, and nobody’s happier than ex-world champ Mark Occhilupo.[IMAGE 1]
Like whales migrating or gravity, Occy at Rocky is a phenomenon you can always count on. At random times of the day you can look down the beach and see the trademark short-john wetsuit and long flowing hair walking down the point. As he paddles out, everyone finds a seat along the point, photographers position the lenses, and the show begins.
The ageless wonder just seems to get better and better and this year’s no different. The rip current created a left that bowls at various points–perfect for big, powerful goofy-foot slashes. Despite sickeningly huge crowds, Occ somehow seemed to find the nuggets. He didn’t punt airs or get swallowed by giant tubes, just the slashes and top turns that have made Mark Occhilupo the legend he is.
Depending on conditions, his session times vary from 30 minutes to two hours. When he exits the water, he usually says his greetings to friends, waves to fans, and then he disappears back up the point.–AC