Kalani Champman made good use of his wildcard entry at the Volcom Pipe Pro. The 28-year-old, goofy-foot dominated his third round heat yesterday, winning with a two-wave total of 16.60 out of a possible 20 points. Waves were in the four-to six-foot range, providing ample barrels¬ -- both lefts and rights -- for Chapman. He beat Damien Hobgood, who advanced into the next round in second place, Alex Gray and Tyler Newton.
"I was really stoked on that heat," said Chapman who resides on the North Shore. "At the very start I got a good right and had to call everybody off of it. I got a good Backdoor barrel, a nice long one with a good shape. Then I paddled back out and got a little left."
Chapman was seeded straight into the Round of 64 in this 5-star ASP event for winning the Volcom Wildcard Challenge. This wildcard contest was open to the public. Contestants submitted five clips of their best waves at Backdoor and Pipeline with Mike and Derek Ho deciding on which surfer was the most worthy. With a little bit of influence from Gerry Lopez, the Ho brothers gave the nod to Chapman.
"I thought it was great, and a super cool concept," said Chapman about the Volcom Wildcard Challenge. "I hope they keep doing it because it really helps the locals."
It seems like Kalani Chapman has been an Internet video sensation. In addition to winning the Volcom Wildcard Challenge, Champan was also awarded the $20,000 for catching the "Wave of the Winter" deemed by Surfline.com and Nike 6.0.
"It's just luck," stated Chapman of his recent success with video clips. "I got some good waves and thatʻs really what did it all. Hopefully it keeps going."
Volcom Pipe Pro heats are different from Billabong Pipe Masters heats because this event features more surfers, like Chapman, who dedicate their whole career to surfing Pipeline and Backdoor. Another Pipe Specialist that did well yesterday was Kauaiʻs Evan Valiere. The 26-year-old, goofy foot advanced out of his second round heat behind Charles Martin. According to Valiere, the biggest difference between the Pipe Pro and Pipe Masters is fitness and familiarity with the worldʻs most dangerous wave.
"I think the difference between this event and the Pipe Masters is that surfers on the World Tour train everyday, all day long as professional athletes for competition," explained Valiere who had a 13.30 two-wave total yesterday. "The local surfers in (the Volcom Pipe Pro) are a lot more comfortable and know how to surf this wave a lot better." Valiere gives props to anybody that can get properly shacked at the Banzai Pipeline, but if the swell rises and produces more lefthanded barrels then the Hawaii residents have a clear advantage.
"I think if it came down to big lefts at Pipeline the local guys would regulate, for sure," stated Valiere. "I think people who put more time in can surf the lefts better. If it's big lefts it seems like guys are a little bit more scared." With two good-sized northwest swells forecast to hit Thursday night through into Saturday, there will probably a lot more big lefts for the final two days of the Volcom Pipe Pro.
Volcom Pipeline Pro Day 2 Results:
Round of 96 (Round 2, 1st and 2nd advance, 3rd=65th, 4th=81st):
H11: Olomana Eleogram (HI); Flynn Novak (HI); Derek HO (HI); Stephen Walsh (AUS)
H12: Nic Von Rupp (DEU); Sion Milosky (HI); Nils Schweizer (USA); Casey Brown (HI)
H13: Charles Martin (GLP); Evan Valiere (HI); Jonah Morgan (HI); Liam McNamara (HI)
H14: Ian Walsh (HI); Marcus Hickman (HI); Mark Healey (HI); Dege O'Connell (HI)
H15: Makuakai Rothman (HI); Pancho Sullivan (HI); Matthew Bromley (ZAF); TJ Barron (HI)
H16: Kevin Sullivan (HI); Stephen Koehne (HI); Manuel Selman (CHL); Albee Layer (HI)
Round of 64 (Round 3, 13 of 16 heats completed):
H1: Brad Ettinger (USA); Cory Lopez (USA); Anthony Walsh (USA); Billy Kemper (HI)
H2: John John Florence (HI); Sunny Garcia (HI); Solomon Ortiz (HI); Gabriel Villaran (PER)
H3: Reef McIntosh (HI); Cory Arrambide (USA); Dean Morrison (AUS); Rudy Palmboom (ZAF)
H4: Wiggolly Dantas (BRA); Chris Ward (USA); Jason Shibata (HI); Dennis Thiara (BRA)
H5: Kekoa Becalso (HI); Kai Barger (HI); Dimitri Ouvre (BRB); Angelo Lozano (MEX)
H6: Tim Reyes (USA); Dane Gudauskas (USA); Jesse Mendes (BRA); Jesse-Merle Jones (HI)
H7: Damien Fahrenfort (ZAF); Mason Ho (HI); Danny Fuller (HI); Heath Joske (AUS)
H8: Kalani Chapman (HI); Damien Hobgood (USA); Alexander Gray (USA); Tyler Newton (HI)
H9: Frederick Patacchia (HI); Bruce Irons (HI); Ricky Whitlock (USA); Sean Moody (HI)
H10: Leandro Bastos (BRA); Aamion Goodwin (HI); Kiron Jabour (HI); Luke Davis (USA)
H11: Olamana Eleogram (HI); Roy Powers (HI); Sion Milosky (HI); Chris Waring (USA)
H12: Nathan Yeomans (USA); Flynn Novak (HI); Nic Von Rupp (DEU); Eric Geiselman (USA)
H13: Marcus Hickman (HI); Charles Martin (GLP); Torrey Meister (HI); Granger Larsen (HI)