Nate Florence Wins Steep And Deep Pipe Challenge

Nathan Florence

Nathan Florence’s winning wave for the Steep and Deep Pipeline Challenge in memory of Sion Milosky. Photo by Tony Heff.

Nathan Florence And Tony Heff Win The 2nd Annual Steep and Deep Pipeline Challenge

Another awesome season for the Steep and Deep Pipeline Challenge. The boys were out charging steep and deep and the photographers were out in the line up getting their fair share shooting sick images. Professional Surfer Nathan Florence and Water Photographer Tony Heff honored the legacy of Sion Milosky by winning the 2012-13 Steep and Deep Pipeline Photo Challenge.

The winning surfer and Photographer each take home $2,500 plus a custom engraved frame with winning image. Also, Nathan Florence (John John Florence younger bro) gets a custom made board by Will Scovel. Tony Heff wins a prize package by Aqua Tech who manufactures camera essentials worth $3,000. The other finalists walk home with a handsome prize package by GoPro, Oakley and Kicker audio gear. We received hundreds of sick submissions. The judges had their work cut out for them and did a great job narrowing the images down from the final 15 to the final top 5 images. The scores were close and we have a tie for 5th place.

Nathan Florence and Tony Heff's well deserved, epic backside, body drag, drop-in to pipe on what seemed to be a not so good day at pipe according to them, proved to be the winner of this years Steep and Deep Pipeline Photo Challenge. This wave came out of nowhere and Nathan was on it and Heff was at the right place and right time to shoot it. Both Nathan and Tony feel that winning the event goes deeper than bragging rights, cash and prizes but more meaningful because this event is held in memory of Big Wave, Pipeline Legend Sion Milosky. Both winners respected and looked up to Si for the man he was in and out of the water.

We met up with Nathan to give him his amazing trophy and he humbly said "this is huge for me, to be the winner of this challenge means so much to me! Out of all the contests out there to win, this is the one I wanted to win badly".

Florence—was awarded a $2500 prize purse from Vans, a custom-engraved-framed-picture of the winning image, a custom Will Scovell surfboard and Kicker audio gear—had his eyes set on the Steep and Deep Pipeline Photo Challenge from the start. He was unsure about his chances of winning. So the teenager from the North Shore of Oahu was over-the-moon stoked to find out he won.

Sion Milosky was known for being in the right spot when Pipeline was huge. Miloksy was an inspirational person for the way he skillfully charged and negotiated giant waves and the Banzai Pipeline. Furthermore, Sion's commitment to his family, friends and trade is perhaps the most inspiring part of his life says Nathan Florence.


Nathan Florence and Tony Heff.

"Sion was one of the gnarliest guys to ever come out of [Hawaii]," said Nathan Florence, 19, who is the younger brother of John John Florence. "The sick part was that he had a family, he had a job building custom-gates—like we have a sick gate system on our house that he built—during his off-time he was making money for his family and picking up his kids from school and bringing them to the beach. He was charging big Pipe or big outer reefs harder than anyone. We all definitely looked up to him a ton and it was one of the most radical shockers when he passed away because it's hard to believe such a good person could go so fast like that. Sion is definitely one of the top legends."

"This is the sickest thing I ever won! Pretty much our whole little group—or our generation or age group—was so psyched when the [Steep and Deep Pipeline Photo Challenge] came out and the fact that I actually won is baffling," beamed Nathan. "I had no idea because I entered kind of late that one of my shots would win. It feels super good and I'm super psyched!"

Ecstatic Tony says, "Si was a huge inspiration and hero of mine, not only because of how he charged in the lineup but how he was as a family man- a straight up good guy".

"Pipe was pretty good that day and then the evening was a little tricky with not as many good waves coming through [compared to the morning]," explained Heff. "I went down to the beach thinking it was going to be really good and perfectly backlit evening session at Pipe, but it was not looking good at all. There was absolutely nobody shooting from the water, but I was there with all my stuff so I decided to swim out and see what I could get anyway. There was a lot of current and all over the place. I swam out and that was the only wave that came through and I shot. It was the only photo I got from the whole swim that evening. It just all came together. Like I said, it was all over the place so being in the right spot was little trickier than some days out there."

We are stoked on the turnout and images this year. More importantly we know Si is stoked!

Final Results:
2nd pl. Ricardo Dos Santos and Paulo Barcellos
3rd pl. Koa Rothman and Brent Beilmann
4th pl. John John Florence and Zak Noyle
5th pl. *tied with Evan Valiere and Brent Beilmann and JD Irons and Juan Munoz

Thank you very much for all the sponsors, judges, participants and supporters of this seasons Steep and Deep Pipeline Challenge. See you all again next season. A Hui Hou! Special thanks to Volcom, Vans, Surfing magazine, AquaTech, Kicker, Chris Kalima, Will Scovel Boards, Oakley and GoPro. Mahalo Nui Loa!!