Last year, nineteen-year-old Jamie O'Brien used his local knowledge and sheer bravado to take the Hansen's Energy Pro in perfect Pipeline surf. Tom Dosland, another nineteen year old, surprised everyone in the best surf Pipeline has seen since the same contest last year. The event was upgraded to a four-star WQS (World Qualifying Series) from last year, and the Maui native sealed his victory over O'ahu surfers Mikey Bruneau, Pancho Sullivan, and Fred Patacchia with a thick Backdoor barrel and a massive, twisting and turning, ten-foot Pipe bomb.
Coming into the closing minutes of the final, Dosland, who comes from the small rural town Huelo, had the arduous task of sitting on Sullivan (the winner of three events this season) to prevent him from taking the lead. He was able to do that and fend off a late charge by Bruneau, who in the semis had one of the best rides of the contest–a perfect ten.
It was Dosland's first win as a professional and a major stepping stone for the young man, who as one of the younger Volcom house residents takes his fair share of abuse and hazing from the crew–but not this day. As the final heat ticked away, the beachfront party pad started to rumble, and neighbors began to worry about the ensuing festivities if a resident won.
There fears would be well founded.
With a minute to go in the final, the “Pipeline Posse” began streaming toward the shoreline, waiting for one of their youngest members to be victoriously hoisted up and deposited into the melee they call home. As Dosland exited the water, his surrogate older brothers, Tai Van Dyke and Kaleo Roberson, carried him up the beach and into the now riot-like party–which went well into the morning.
Along with his 10,000-dollar first-place check, word on the beach had Volcom team manager Brad Dougherty promising Dosland, a.k.a. “Tom Grom,” that Volcom would match his first-place purse if he were to win. The rest is history and a huge payout for a kid who a couple months ago on a TransWorld SURF Maui mission could only afford to put two bucks in his gas tank. He won't have to worry about gas money for a while, but his victory speech could use some fine-tuning. “I'm baffled” was all an elated Dosland could muster up after the ceremonial champagne dousing. Once he gained his composure, Dosland had more to say, “I want to thank Volcom, HGA (Hawai'i Grom Association), all my boys, and I need a surfboard sponsor!”–Justin Cote