The guy is on a serious roll. On Thursday, February 5th Pancho Sullivan, 30, won yet another major contest on the North Shore of Oahu, his second of the year (he won the Faith Ezekiel Pro as well). By winning the Shootout, held at Pipe and Backdoor, Pancho netted $40,000—one of the richest purses in professional surfing. And this was no slacker filled field. Reigning A.S.P. (Association of Surfing Professionals) World Champ Andy Irons, former Shootout champ Kalani Robb, Shane Dorian, Bruce Irons, and Jamie O’Brien were just some of the surfers battling it out for the cash.
Battling may not be the best word to describe the event however. The unique format made it so there was less hassling—and more explosive surfing, than in a normal contest. According to contest director Craig Inouye, “It’s a surfer’s contest—and he couldn’t be more correct. With a team format (four guys to each team with alternates and a captain), one of the best waves on the planet as the venue, serious cash to be won, and a relaxed vibe in the water, the competitors enjoyed every minute of it—especially Pancho. “The team aspect keeps everyone interested and the non-elimination format allows you to focus on making crazy, unmakeable waves.” says Pancho. “It’s neat to be out there with best surfers in the world, too.” Yeah, it’s also pretty neat to win 40 G’s.
By means of a $15,000 “extortion fee, as Da Hui’s Eddie Rothman called it, the A.S.P. allowed some of it’s biggest stars to participate in the event creating excellent surfing in the three- to six-foot conditions, which weren’t perfect, but good enough for the world’s best to blow up. A unique judging scale allowed for rides with a score up to twelve points and a surfers top three waves throughout three thirty minute heats were counted as their total score. Sullivan’s top scoring wave, a heaving double barrel at Backdoor, was scored elevens and twelves, and secured him the victory.
In an interesting twist, the only independent team (surfers of different sponsors) called Da Boys won the team side of the event and were represented by Sullivan, Benji Weatherly, Alex Cox, and Kalani Robb. Sullivan joins an elite club of former Shootout Champs—Kelly Slater, Johnny Boy Gomes, Sunny Garcia, and Kalani Robb.
Teams For The 2004 Da Hui Backdoor Shootout
Da Hui: Makua Rothman, Marcus Hickman, Miles Padaca, Jonah Morgan
Billabong: Andy Irons, Brian Pacheco, Tory Barron, Shane Dorian
Hurley: Kahea Hart, Braden Dias, Mike Todd, Peter Labrador, and Betet Merta, Sean Moody, Kolea Fukumitsu, Joel Centeio
Quiksilver: Reef McIntosh, Mark Healey, Nathan Fletcher, Fred Pattachia, Todd Morcom
Red Bull: Ian Walsh, Jamie Sterling, Chava Greenlee, Jamie O’Brien
Da Boys: Pancho Sullivan, Kalani Robb, Alex Cox, Benji Weatherley
Volcom: Bruce Irons, Tom Dosland, Gavin Beschen, Dave Wassel, Kamalei Alexander
1st Pancho Sullivan $40,000
2nd Andy Irons $20,000
3rd Shane Dorian $10,000
4th Kalani Robb $6,000
5th Bruce Irons $5,000
6th Jamie O’Brien $4,000