Pipeline delivered explosive 15-foot tubes for the Volcom Pipe Pro. Being a World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) 3,000 rated event, it attracts the best surfers in the world trying to get a huge lead early on in the 2017 QS Season. The superb conditions of the barrels are deemed one of the best swells of the year in the North Shore, Hawaii.
Kelly Slater, last year’s Volcom Pipe Pro champion went into the event looking to make a back-to-back win, but has fallen in what could be the biggest upset in the event, when Honolulu’s Seth Moniz took down the 11x World Champion in the 3rd round elimination.
It appears, Kelly Slater was fixing his watch at the beginning of the heat and so he had a bit of a delayed start.
“Paddling out I saw Kelly fixing his watch and he didn’t notice the sets coming. So I just paddled past him while his head was down,” said Moniz in an interview. “Then that set came, Bruce got the first one and I got the next.”
Moniz’s early start has been a huge advantage for him throughout the heat. Moniz, aged 19, has dropped into one of the bigger waves of the day in Round 3, Heat 9. He confidently navigated a couple of barrel sections and was blasted out on the spit and judges awarded his ride with a 9.17. He secured the heat lead with an 8.00 backup score.
The star-studded round three heat also included Bruce Irons, who is one of the best in the pipe business. Bruce got the highest single wave score of 9.67 for the day when he disappeared in a curtain of white water in a massive pipe barrel. Kelly Slater’s heat total of 13.06 wasn’t enough to secure a Round 4 slot. Moniz and Irons both proceed to the fourth round.
Meanwhile, current World Champion John John Florence (HAW), a Pipeline native, had an entertaining heat and demonstrated his adaptability and a great sense of his own backyard break. After a couple of low scores and exchanges with his competitors in Round 3 Heat 8, Florence dropped in a good 7.93 score then backed it up with an excellent 8.60 ride to secure the top score of the heat.
Another noteworthy performance was that of North Shore’s Makua Rothman, who was the only person to score a 10-point ride in the event during Day 2. He added another excellent score, a 9.50, keeping up his pace and rhythm to build momentum.
Mason Ho also looked unstoppable. He continued his dream run in Round 3 where he did a combination of Pipleine and backdoor approaches. He was in tune and energized, and was riding a noticeably longer board than the rest of the surfers. After his Round 2 and Round 3 wins, Mason described his strategy.
“Basically, with a bigger board, you just make the job easier. You can run around, and turn this big, chaotic crazy wave into a shorebreak or something. You can just start playing with the wave more.”
As the elimination continues, the heat of the action increases as surfers go into the fourth round. Who will emerge as winners and move on to the quarterfinals? Who will be the next casualties of Round 4? Everyone’s watchful eye is in definite anticipation!
If you missed the action in the previous days, here are the highlights of the first three days of the Volcom Pipe Pro, watch it below:
Day 1 Highlights:
Day 2 Highlights:
Day 3 Highlights:
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