PRESTIGIOUS XBOX GERRY LOPEZ PIPELINE MASTERS INVITEES SELECTEDCan A.S.P’s Best Beat the Best of Pipeline in the Third Jewel of the 2001 VansTriple Crown of Surfing
NORTH SHORE, OAHU, Hawaii (October 29, 2001) – The field has been chosenfor the 31st annual Xbox Gerry Lopez Pipeline Masters, a $150,000Association of Surfing Professionals (A.S.P.) sanctioned specialty eventand the third stop of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing(TM). The contestwill take place December 8-17, 2001, at the world’s premier tube-ridinglocation: Oahu’s Banzai Pipeline.
As the longest running professional surfing tournament in the UnitedStates, the Xbox Pipeline Masters opens a new chapter this year with itsspecialty status. Not limited to the entry of the world’s top 44 rankedcompetitors, this year’s Pipeline Masters will feature 48 surfers that havebeen hand-picked to take on ‘Pipe’ in a showdown of tube-riding. (See listof invitees below). The result will be the world’s most hotly contestedtube-riding event which will crown the world’s premier tube rider.
While millions around the world can lay claim to being a surfer, only anelite few will ever know how it feels to be a tube-riding specialist -particularly in the hair-raising winter waves of Hawaii’s Banzai Pipeline.To succeed at ‘Pipe’ a surfer must take on steep wave faces measuring up to20 feet and then ride in the only way possible to make it to the end -inside the barrel over a shallow coral reef.
The lineup for the Xbox Pipeline Masters will see the champions of theA.S.P.’s 2001 World Championship Tour events take on eight former PipelineMasters champions, eight select tube-riders from the A.S.P. ranks, eightseasoned Pipeline specialists, eight international tube-riding specialists,seven up-and-coming Pipeline juniors, and four wildcards.
Can the best of the A.S.P. survive against Pipeline’s home-grown greats?Can the young guns looking to become another Gerry Lopez stave off thechallenge of Pipeline’s more seasoned riders? Can Hawaii’s legendary ridersMichael and Derek Ho still weave their magic through the Pipeline? Caninternational specialists rip the rug out from under Pipeline’s locals? Whowill take home the $30,000 winner’s purse? These questions and more will beanswered during the three days of competition to be held in the biggest andbest that Pipeline has to offer this season.
The Xbox Gerry Lopez Pipeline Masters is the third and final jewel of the19th annual Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. Along with the preceding G-ShockHawaiian Pro at Haleiwa (November 13 to 25) and Rip Curl Cup at SunsetBeach (November 26 to December 7), it will determine this year’s VansTriple Crown champion who will enter his name into the record books alongwith some of surfing’s finest and claim an additional $15,000 purse. As atestament to the special skills it takes to succeed at three differentbig-wave venues in Hawaii, only eight surfers in 18 years have shared thehonor of being the Vans Triple Crown Champion. Of those eight surfers, fivehave been chosen to surf in the Xbox Pipeline Masters – Sunny Garcia(Hawaii), Kelly Slater (Florida), Tom Carroll (Australia), and localbrothers Derek and Michael Ho (Hawaii).
In a coup for professional surfing, the Xbox Gerry Lopez Pipeline Masterswill return to network television, to be aired around the world on NBC inearly January, with the other Vans Triple Crown events set to air on FoxSports Net in the early Spring of 2002.
The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing series hosts the final men’s and women’sWorld Qualifying Series (WQS) events – the G-Shock Hawaiian Pro and RoxyPro – Haleiwa, November 13-25, the final men’s and women’s WorldChampionship Tour (WCT) events – the Rip Curl Cup – Sunset Beach, November26-December 7, and Billabong Girls – Maui, November 25-December 6, and willcrown the 2001 A.S.P. world champions.
The Vans Triple Crown (TM) Series features the world’s top athletescompeting in three championship events in each of the following sports:Skateboarding, Wakeboarding, Surfing, Snowboarding, BMX, FreestyleMotocross and Supercross. The Series is made possible through proudsponsors Xbox, Mountain Dew, Ford Ranger, Right Guard Xtreme Sport,G-Shock, Transworld Media, Fox Sports Net and NBC Sports.The Vans Triple Crown (TM) of Surfing is made possible by the additionalsupport of Rip Curl, Quiksilver Roxy, Billabong, Surfrider Foundation, theAssociation of Surfing Professionals and the Hawaiian Visitors Bureau.
Vans (Nasdaq: VANS) is a leading worldwide brand for Core Sports(TM)specializing in performance and lifestyle footwear, apparel, snowboardboots and bindings. Its contributions to Core Sports include the VansTriple Crown(TM) Series, the operation of nine large-scale VansSkateparks, the High Cascade Snowboard Camp(TM), ownership of the VansWarped Tour(R) and continued sponsorship of the Vans World AmateurSkateboarding Championships(TM). Vans collections are sold in the UnitedStates through 148 company owned stores and factory outlets as well as anetwork of independent retailers. Vans also distributes to more than 50countries internationally through distributors, sales agents and itssubsidiaries in the United Kingdom, Mexico, Brazil and Argentina.
For more information on Vans and the Vans Triple Crown Series, please visitwww.vans.com.
For international media information and on-site in Hawaii:Jodi Young, Ocean Promotion, at (808) 638-7700.
XBOX GERRY LOPEZ PIPELINE MASTERS INVITEES:Previous Pipeline Champions (8):Rob Machado (California) – 2000Kelly Slater (Florida) – 1999, 1996, 1995, 1994, 1992Jake Paterson (Australia) – 1998John Gomes (Hawaii) – 1997Derek Ho (Hawaii) – 1993, 1986Tom Carroll (Australia) – 1991, 1990, 1987Mark Occhilupo (Australia) – 1985Michael Ho (Hawaii) – 1982
2001 ASP WCT Event Winners (5):Mick Fanning (Australia) – Rip Curl Pro, AustraliaCory Lopez (Florida) – Billabong Pro, TahitiTrent Munro (Australia) – Rio Pro International, BrazilJake Paterson (Australia) * double qualifies as previous Pipeline Champion- Billabong Pro, S. AfricaWinner of the Rip Curl Cup at Sunset Beach, Nov.26-Dec.7 (to be determined)
ASP WCT Select Invitees (8):Andy Irons (Hawaii)Sunny Garcia (Hawaii)Shane Dorian (Hawaii)C.J. Hobgood (Florida)Damien Hobgood (Florida)Luke Egan (Australia)Kalani Robb (Hawaii)Mick Lowe (Australia)
Pipeline Specialists (8):Liam McNamara (Hawaii)Tamayo Perry (Hawaii)Braden Dias (Hawaii)Brian Pacheco (Hawaii)Pancho Sullivan (Hawaii)Myles Padaca (Hawaii)David Cantrell (Hawaii)Stryder Wasilewski (California)
International Specialists (8):Rizal Tandjung (Indonesia)Paul Canning (South Africa)Carlos Cabrero (Puerto Rico)Takayuki Wakita (Japan)Naohisa Ogawa (Japan)Didier Piter (France)Renan Rocha (Brazil)Manoa Drollet (Tahiti)
Young Guns (7):Bruce Irons (Hawaii)Rocky Cannon (Hawaii)Danny Fuller (Hawaii)Mark Healey (Hawaii)Fred Patacchia Jr. (Hawaii)Jonah Morgan (Hawaii)Jamie O’Brien (Hawaii)
Wildcards (5):Shea Lopez (Florida)Joel Tudor (California)Christian Fletcher (California)Nathan Fletcher (California)Triple Crown contender after first two events