The first day of the 2013 Volcom Pipe Pro was a test of mettle and luck for competitors. A building northwest swell provided this $130,000 5-Star World Qualifying Series event with surf from 6 to 8 feet yesterday. Pipeline was shifty with the rising, long interval swell, backwash and strong trade winds, but there was still an opportunity to get the wave of your life.
Kawai Lindo snagged a perfect ride in the Volcom Last Chance Wildcard Heat, which was a six-man heat between the rounds of 122 and 96 to decide the third sponsor wild-card seed. The 31-year-old, goofy foot from Kauai air-dropped into a Pipeline bomb, weaved through two sections and was spit into the channel with his middle fingers raised and long hair flying triumphantly. Lindo had to paddle-battle Mark Healey, J.D. Irons and Tom Dosland for that 10-point, and was handsomely rewarded $1,000 cash from Electric Eyewear.
"I forgot I was even in the heat after I got that wave," said Lindo about the perfect ride. "Not because I got a 10, but because I got a good wave. I would have been happy if I got that wave with no one around, so the money, the people and all the cheers from the beach were icing on the cake."
Despite the 10-point ride, Lindo couldn't get the necessary backup score to take first place from fellow Garden Isle native J.D. Irons, 25, who won the sponsor wild-card seed into the round of 96. Irons, who is the cousin of Andy and Bruce, was the underdog in the Last Chance Wildcard heat against Lindo, Healey, Dosland, Dave Wassel and Gavin Beschen.
"I was just trying to go out there and do my best," said Irons, "I look up to all those guys [in the Last Chance Wildcard heat] and it was honor to be out there with them."
It was all downhill scoring-wise after Irons solidified his seed into the round of 96. The backwash became more prevalent and the Pipeline went from shifty to wonky in the afternoon. There were numerous heats in which guys would win without double-digit two wave totals.
Not Makuakai Rothman, though. The 28-year-old from the North Shore posted the highest two-wave total of the day -- a 16.86 out of a possible 20 points. After getting an 8 over at Aint's, his competitors, Charlie Carrol and Flynn Novak, posted scores that relegated Rothman to third. Then Lady Luck intervened.
"I seen Charlie and Flynn, who were in first and second, paddle way out, so I was left alone," said Rothman. "A perfect little wedge came to me on the inside, which I thought I was too deep for, but I made it, came out, then I bunny-hopped the jet ski."
Round 112 Trials
H1: Stephen Koehne (HI); Danny Fuller (HI); Ha'a Aikau (HI); Kaupena Miranda (HI); Sai Smiley (HI); Solomon Ortiz (HI)
Round of 112:
(1st & 2nd advance. 3rd=97th; 4th=105th)
H1: Kamalei Woolsey-Alexander (HI); Robert Patterson (HI); Luke Shepardson (HI); Kalani David (HI)
H2: Mikey Bruneau (HI); Kahea Hart (HI); Chris Foster (HI); Ezra Sitt (HI)
H3: Myles Padaca (HI); Reef McIntosh (HI); Eli Olson (HI); Dylan Kowalski (HI)
H4: Pancho Sullivan (HI); Koa Rothman (HI); Derek Ho (HI); Jason Shibata (HI)
H5: Danny Fuller (HI); Jeremy Johnston (HI); Gregg Nakamura (HI); Ulualoha Napeahi (HI)
H6: Makuakai Rothman (HI); Charlie Carroll (HI); Flynn Novak (HI); Nathan Carvalho (HI)
H7: Marcus Hickman (HI); Stephen Koehne (HI); Love Hodel (HI); Jonah Morgan (HI)
H8: Joshua Moniz (HI); Sean Moody (HI); Makana Eleogram (HI); Roy Powers (HI)
Round of 96:
(1st & 2nd advance. 3rd=65th; 4th=81st)
H1: Kai Barger (HI); Joel Centeio (HI); Kamalei Woolsey-Alexander (HI); Kevin Sullivan (HI)
H2: Eala Stewart (HI); Makai McNamara (HI); Billy Kemper (HI); Robert Patterson (HI)
H3: Yujiro Tsuji (JPN); Shane Beschen (HI); Mikey Bruneau (HI); Guillermo Satt (CHL)
H4: Kahea Hart (HI); Bruce Irons (HI); Manuel Selman (CHL); Garrett Parkes (AUS)
H5: Anthony Walsh (AUS); Masatoshi Ohno (Japan); Carlos Munoz (CRI); Myles Padaca (HI)
H6: Miguel Tudela (PER); Reef McIntosh (HI); Alex Smith (HI); Jano Belo (BRA)
H7: Nic Von Rupp (Germany); Pancho Sullivan (HI); Bino Lopes (BRA); Chase Wilson (USA)
H8: Sidney Guimaraes (BRA); Koa Rothman (HI); Ian Gouveia (BRA); Kiron Jabour (HI)