PRESTIGIOUS XBOX GERRY LOPEZ PIPELINE MASTERS INVITEES SELECTED Can A.S.P’s Best Beat the Best of Pipeline in the Third Jewel of the 2001 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing
NORTH SHORE, OAHU, Hawaii (October 29, 2001) – The field has been chosen for the 31st annual Xbox Gerry Lopez Pipeline Masters, a $150,000 Association of Surfing Professionals (A.S.P.) sanctioned specialty event and the third stop of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing(TM). The contest will take place December 8-17, 2001, at the world’s premier tube-riding location: Oahu’s Banzai Pipeline.
As the longest running professional surfing tournament in the United States, the Xbox Pipeline Masters opens a new chapter this year with its specialty status. Not limited to the entry of the world’s top 44 ranked competitors, this year’s Pipeline Masters will feature 48 surfers that have been hand-picked to take on ‘Pipe’ in a showdown of tube-riding. (See list of invitees below). The result will be the world’s most hotly contested tube-riding event which will crown the world’s premier tube rider.
While millions around the world can lay claim to being a surfer, only an elite 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 to 20 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 the A.S.P.’s 2001 World Championship Tour events take on eight former Pipeline Masters champions, eight select tube-riders from the A.S.P. ranks, eight seasoned 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 the challenge of Pipeline’s more seasoned riders? Can Hawaii’s legendary riders Michael and Derek Ho still weave their magic through the Pipeline? Can international specialists rip the rug out from under Pipeline’s locals? Who will take home the $30,000 winner’s purse? These questions and more will be answered during the three days of competition to be held in the biggest and best that Pipeline has to offer this season.
The Xbox Gerry Lopez Pipeline Masters is the third and final jewel of the 19th annual Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. Along with the preceding G-Shock Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa (November 13 to 25) and Rip Curl Cup at Sunset Beach (November 26 to December 7), it will determine this year’s Vans Triple Crown champion who will enter his name into the record books along with some of surfing’s finest and claim an additional $15,000 purse. As a testament to the special skills it takes to succeed at three different big-wave venues in Hawaii, only eight surfers in 18 years have shared the honor of being the Vans Triple Crown Champion. Of those eight surfers, five have been chosen to surf in the Xbox Pipeline Masters – Sunny Garcia (Hawaii), Kelly Slater (Florida), Tom Carroll (Australia), and local brothers Derek and Michael Ho (Hawaii).
In a coup for professional surfing, the Xbox Gerry Lopez Pipeline Masters will return to network television, to be aired around the world on NBC in early January, with the other Vans Triple Crown events set to air on Fox Sports Net in the early Spring of 2002.
The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing series hosts the final men’s and women’s World Qualifying Series (WQS) events – the G-Shock Hawaiian Pro and Roxy Pro – Haleiwa, November 13-25, the final men’s and women’s World Championship Tour (WCT) events – the Rip Curl Cup – Sunset Beach, November 26-December 7, and Billabong Girls – Maui, November 25-December 6, and will crown the 2001 A.S.P. world champions.
The Vans Triple Crown (TM) Series features the world’s top athletes competing inn three championship events in each of the following sports: Skateboarding, Wakeboarding, Surfing, Snowboarding, BMX, Freestyle Motocross and Supercross. The Series is made possible through proud sponsors 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 additional support of Rip Curl, Quiksilver Roxy, Billabong, Surfrider Foundation, the Association 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, snowboard boots and bindings. Its contributions to Core Sports include the Vans Triple Crown(TM) Series, the operation of nine large-scale Vans Skateparks, the High Cascade Snowboard Camp(TM), ownership of the Vans Warped Tour(R) and continued sponsorship of the Vans World Amateur Skateboarding Championships(TM). Vans collections are sold in the United States through 148 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.
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) – 2000 Kelly Slater (Florida) – 1999, 1996, 1995, 1994, 1992 Jake Paterson (Australia) – 1998 John Gomes (Hawaii) – 1997 Derek Ho (Hawaii) – 1993, 1986 Tom Carroll (Australia) – 1991, 1990, 1987 Mark Occhilupo (Australia) – 1985 Michael Ho (Hawaii) – 1982
2001 ASP WCT Event Winners (5): Mick Fanning (Australia) – Rip Curl Pro, Australia Cory Lopez (Florida) – Billabong Pro, Tahiti Trent Munro (Australia) – Rio Pro International, Brazil Jake Paterson (Australia) * double qualifies as previous Pipeline Champion – Billabong Pro, S. Africa Winner 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