There are some mechanics that only work on Volkswagen TDIs. There are some doctors who only perform specific brain surgeries. There are some soldiers who only execute the most secretive of missions. And there are some surfers who only compete at Pipeline. They're all called specialists. It was a good day to be a specialist.
The Billabong Pipeline Masters is, itself, special. In addition to the normal ASP World Tour surfers, the Pipe event features over a dozen wildcards, many of whom are "pipe specialists," guys who live and die behind the curtain of this heavy wave. Most of them qualified by surfing the 5-star Volcom Pipe Pro last January.
Saturday was a particularly good day for Kalani Chapman and Billy Kemper, two Hawaiians who really only compete in Hawaii and are going to the third round when the event resumes. It wasn't a bad day for Shane Dorian, Billabong's living legend of heavy water. Despite a few lickings, he also posted a 9.
The Pipe Masters opened on Saturday with eight- to 10-foot surf that offered death or glory for those who went for it. Round one saw a lot of those specialists and sponsor wildcards advancing. Returning Pipe Masters Champ Keiren Perrow held onto his hopes of repeating. Kolohe Andino shook off his 2011 butterflies to stay alive and Brazil's Ricardo Dos Santos, best known for taking out Kelly Slater at the Billabong Pro Tahiti earlier this year, beat out Hawaiian Dusty Payne, 14.73-7.87. Also advancing was the freak of nature known as Dane Reynolds, who brushed off Granger Larson as if he was an opionated blogger.
The highest heat total of the day went to possibly the most special Pipe specialist of all time, Jamie O'Brien for a 16.34, as he waxed Jadson Andre. But O'Brien fell to Floridian CJ Hobgood, who is on track to match his brilliant performance of last year.
The event only got through three heats of the second round, but Kemper and Chapman, who opted for some more length on his stick, came through.
"Riding a big board isn't always about catching the wave. Sometimes when you're in the barrel the foam-ball will explode out in front of you and a big board will help you ride out over it. It's working. I'm just stoked to be surfing in the contest. It's a dream and I'm psyching no matter what," Chapman told the ASP after his heat.
Right now, Kauai boy Sebastian "Seabass" Zietz, who recently qualified for the 2013 World Tour, is leading the Vans Triple Crown with his win at the Reef Hawaiian Pro and a final berth at the Vans World Cup last week. He took down Glenn Hall to keep his chance alive.
The Pipe Masters will likely continue on Sunday, and then take a few days off as the swell drops. The high seeded ASP studs surf in round three with a very exciting title race on the line.BILLABONG PIPE MASTERS ROUND 1 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Kieren Perrow (AUS) 15.00 def. Evan Valiere (HAW) 9.50
Heat 2: Kolohe Andino (USA) 6.50 def. Tyler Newton (HAW) 6.26
Heat 3: Kalani Chapman (HAW) 15.83 def. Tiago Pires (PRT) 5.70
Heat 4: Yadin Nicol (AUS) 15.33 def. Flynn Novak (HAW) 9.76
Heat 5: Fred Patacchia (HAW) 8.43 def. Tanner Hendrickson (HAW) 5.93
Heat 6: Billy Kemper (HAW) 11.00 def. Taylor Knox (USA) 10.17
Heat 7: Adam Melling (AUS) 11.66 def. Bruce Irons (HAW) 7.73
Heat 8: Jamie O'Brien (HAW) 16.34 def. Jadson Andre (BRA) 9.94
Heat 9: Shane Dorian (HAW) 14.50 def. Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 9.83
Heat 10: Ricardo dos Santos (BRA) 14.73 def. Dusty Payne (HAW) 7.84
Heat 11: Dane Reynolds (USA) 11.34 def. Granger Larsen (HAW) 3.10
Heat 12: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 14.27 def. Glenn Hall (IRL) 10.77
BILLABONG PIPE MASTERS ROUND 2 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Kalani Chapman (HAW) 13.84 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 10.60
Heat 2: Billy Kemper (HAW) 9.33 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 5.04
Heat 3: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 15.17 def. Jamie O'Brien (HAW) 13.57
REMAINING BILLABONG PIPE MASTERS ROUND 2 MATCH UPS:
Heat 4: Alejo Muniz (BRA) vs. Shane Dorian (HAW)
Heat 5: Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Ricardo dos Santos (BRA)
Heat 6: Travis Logie (ZAF) vs. Sebastian Zietz (HAW)
Heat 7: Kai Otton (AUS) vs. Dane Reynolds (USA)
Heat 8: Miguel Pupo (BRA) vs. Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 9: Damien Hobgood (USA) vs. Fred Patacchia (HAW)
Heat 10: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) vs. Yadin Nicol (AUS)
Heat 11: Brett Simpson (USA) vs. Kolohe Andino (USA
Heat 12: Heitor Alves (BRA) vs. Kieren Perrow (AUS)
BILLABONG PIPE MASTERS ROUND 3 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: John John Florence (HAW) vs. TBD
Heat 2: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. TBD
Heat 3: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. TBD
Heat 4: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. TBD
Heat 5: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. TBD
Heat 6: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. TBD
Heat 7: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. TBD
Heat 8: Josh Kerr (AUS) vs. TBD
Heat 9: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. TBD
Heat 10: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. TBD
Heat 11: Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs. TBD
Heat 12: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. TBD