Pipe Masters Undergoes Format Change

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Photo by ©ASPWORLDTOUR.COM Tostee
Rob Machado, winner of the 2000 Pipe Masters.
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Pipe Masters Undergoes Format Change

Posted 09.17.2001
A dramatic format change and record prize purse will lure the very best of the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Top 44 to challenge Pipeline’s elite for the title of world’s best tube rider at the $150,000 Xbox Gerry Lopez Pipeline Masters, December 8 to 21.

The final jewel in the 2001 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, the Xbox Pipeline Masters is held at Hawaii’s famed North Shore big wave venue, Banzai Pipeline, and determines the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing Champion.

The prestigious event celebrates its 31st anniversary this winter and a return to network television, airing on NBC Sports in early 2002. It is the wave of every surfer’s dreams – even those who can only hope to master it in their dreams. It is the most recognizable surf spot on the planet because of both the aquamarine wall of water spinning into liquid barrels that crash onto razor-sharp coral, and the name: Banzai Pipeline.

Just 100 feet offshore, swells that have traveled more than 2,000 miles to end in spectacular fashion on a shallow reef will rise up to five stories high before tumbling into hollow tubes that will send surfers hurtling toward shore at breath-stopping speeds.

According to Randy Rarick, Vans Triple Crown of Surfing executive director, riding these tubes has long been considered the most specialized and ‘amazing’ skill in the sport of surfing. And while the ASP World Tour format had precluded some of the Pipeline specialists in prior years, the Xbox Pipeline Masters new “Champions of Champions” format frees the world’s most famous surfing venue to crown the world’s best tube rider.

“With the ASP designating this a “Champions of Champions” specialty event, the Xbox Pipeline Masters returns to the original essence of the event,” said Rarick. “The very best of the ASP competitors will be matched up against Pipeline specialists and we’ll see probably the most intense tube riding action of the past decade!”

A selection committee, comprised of contest officials, previous champions, “select” Pipeline invitees and surf photographers, will issue invitations by October 1. The innovative 48-man field will showcase the eight World Championship Tour (WCT) winners, eight select WCT Top 44 including Shane Dorian, Kalani Robb, Sunny Garcia and Andy Irons and eight previous Pipeline champions such as Kelly Slater, Rob Machado, Derek Ho and Tom Carroll.

The remainder of the field will be made up of Pipeline aficionados and hot local talent such as Tamayo Perry, Liam McNamara, Bruce Irons and Braden Dias, along with top competitors from Australia, Brazil, Japan, Tahiti and other countries. The competition format will follow standard WCT rules, with man-on-man heats following round one.

Californian Phil Edwards first paddled into Pipeline’s power and majesty in the early ’60s, followed by the first surfer recognized as “Mr. Pipeline”, Butch Van Artsdalen, who proved man and surfboard could disappear into the hollow space between wave and cascading crest and exit alive. And ever since contest namesake, Hawaiian Gerry Lopez, a two-time event champion, added his unique style to riding Pipeline in the late ’60s and early ’70s, this strip of sand on the North Shore of Oahu has been the ultimate test for the world’s best surfers.

Even today, with adventurers exploring every break on every remote island on the globe, Pipeline is a surfers’ Mecca, the proving grounds where the sports’ greatest have soared to unseen new heights and also had their dreams pummeled in an explosion of whitewater on coral reef.

The 2001 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing features the final World Qualifying Series (WQS), World Championship Tour (WCT) and Specialty events on the pro surfing calendar, from November 12 to December 21. The overall Vans Triple Crown champion is decided on points accumulated during competition in the $100,000 G-Shock Hawaiian Pro at Alii Beach Haleiwa, November 12-25, the $250,000 Rip Cup at Sunset Beach, November 26 – December 7, and the Xbox Pipeline Masters.

The Vans Triple Crown Series events will be the year’s final battleground for a number of pro surfers who are fighting to stay on the WCT for 2002, or competitors hoping to ascend to the Top 44 for the first time. Viewers from around the world will also be able to catch the series on NBC Sports and Fox Sports Net.

The Vans Triple Crown Series features the world’s top athletes competing in three championship events in each of the following sports: Skateboarding, Wakeboarding, Surfing, Snowboarding, BMX and Freestyle Motocross. The Series is made possible through proud sponsors Xbox, Mountain Dew, Ford Ranger, Right Guard Xtreme Sport, G-Shock, Rolling Stone, Fox Sports Net, Transworld Publications and NBC Sports.

Vans (Nasdaq: VANS) is a leading worldwide brand for Core Sports™ specializing in performance and lifestyle footwear, apparel, snowboard boots and bindings. Its contributions to Core Sports include the Vans Triple Crown™ Series, the operation of eight large-scale Vans Skateparks, the High Cascade Snowboard Camp™ and continued sponsorship of the Vans Warped Tour? and the Vans World Amateur Skateboarding Championships™. Vans collections are sold in the United States through 146 company owned stores and factory outlets as well as a network of independent retailers. Vans also distributes to more than 50 countries internationally through distributors, sales agents and its subsidiaries in the United Kingdom, Mexico, Brazil and Argentina.

For more information on Vans and the Vans Triple Crown Series, please visit www.vans.com.



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