Pipeline, Oahu-Hawaii (Friday, Dec 15, 2000) Hawaiians Bruce Irons andPancho Sullivan today survived their respective semifinals and the final ofthe Mountain Dew Gerry Lopez Pipe Masters to advance into the main event. Inperfect 6-8 foot conditions at Pipeline, both competitors put on a stunningdisplay of tube riding as competition got underway this morning and claimedthe two-wildcard positions on offer.
[IMAGE 3]Irons, 21, who has qualified for the past three consecutive Pipe Masters andfinished runner-up to Australian Jake Paterson in the final of the 1998event, once again showed his knowledge at Pipe demands a spot in the mainevent. His timing and positioning saw him maneuver through tube-after-tube,with the judges ultimately deeming him the trials champion.
“It’s serious out there,” said Irons afterward. “It’s not a joke, that’s forsure. You can definitely get really hurt. You’ve just got to play it safe.This is definitely my favorite contest and every year I just hope to make itthrough the trials. I’ll just try and keep the same routine in the mainevent.”
“I think a lot of it has to do with luck because if you get the right wavesyou can make the heat,” he continued. “The trials are definitely some of thehardest competition I’ve ever had to deal with.”
[IMAGE 2]Sullivan, in second position, is another respected Pipe expert who found hisown fair share of barrels to now meet the world’s top-44 ASP rated surfersin the main event.
“It feels unreal,” said Sullivan. “It’s been at least three-or-four yearssince I’ve been in the main event of this contest and it’s my favorite wavein the world, so to be able to do well out here is real gratifying.
“Unfortunately contests come down to luck most of the time, so you’ve justgot to try and put yourself in position and hope your three-or-four wavesstay open,” he explained. It’s anybody’s ball game out there.”
Last year’s Mountain Dew Gerry Lopez Pipe trials winner Tamayo Perry (Haw)was another finalist this morning, but despite committing himself to themost threatening of rides, eventually placed outside of the top-two infourth. His last wave – a particular nasty one – left him needing medicalattention after smashing his right knee into the treacherous reef when hefailed to make the beyond-vertical take-off. Suffering scraps and minorbruises, he was helped up the beach by the on-site medical team.
Puerto Rico’s Carlos Cabrero also put on a fantastic performance today tofinish third, but it wasn’t enough to secure a main event slot.
Round one of the main event is currently in the water. A detailed pressrelease will follow the completion of the day’s surfing.
[IMAGE 1]Official results of Mountain Dew Gerry Lopez Pipe Masters Trials
1st Bruce Irons (Haw) 16.70
2nd Pancho Sullivan (Haw) 16.60
3rd Carlos Cabrero (Prco) 11.40
4th Tamayo Perry (Haw) 7.95
SF1: Carlos Cabrero (Prco) 22.00; Pancho Sullivan (Haw) 19.75; Tiago Pires(Port) 3.60; Roy Powers (Haw) 2.35
SF2: Tamayo Perry (Haw) 19.10; Bruce Irons (Haw) 17.00; Braden Dias (Haw)9.70; Joel Tudor (USA) 9.50