The first round of the Billabong Pipe Masters kicked off in small 3-4-foot conditions. There were occasional barrels and open face ramps. In the first round, the top seeds have dominated early, showing that they meant business.
Jordy Smith Leads Heat 4:
World No.3, Jordy Smith dominated Heat 4 against Keanu Asing and FinnMcGill. Keanu is currently Number 23 in the Championship Tour (CT) and is fighting to meet the Top 22 cut off for next year’s re-qualification. FinnMcGill, the latest teenage sensation, who won the Pipe Invitational, is looking to put on a solid performance in the Pipe Masters.
Gabriel Medina Dominating Heat 5:
In Heat 5, Gabriel Medina put on a show with his deadly backhand maneuvers. The following heat later, World Champion John John Florence found a few tubes and put on a solid performance to post a 16.66, the highest heat score of the first round. Florence looked determined in chasing that Pipe Masters title that has forever eluded him.
John Florence Posting Highest Heat Total Score:
Kelly Slater also had a strong start and finished with a 12.70 leading over Kai Otton and Caio Ibelli. Jeremy Flores, a former Pipe Master has also dominated his heat and looked fired-up. Filipe Toledo also looked quick, explosive and unstoppable, leading in his first round heat.
Kelly Slater Aces Round 10:
While no one has been eliminated in the first round of the competition, and while the World Champion has long been determined before the Pipe Masters, the first round means a lot to some surfers who are in danger of not making the cut for next year’s Championship Tour like Nat Young, currently ranked 22 followed by Keanu Asing at 23.
It can spell trouble for the duo if Jadson Andre and Kanoa Igarashi both double qualify for the CT, meaning aside from qualifying already through the Qualifying Series (QS) Top 10, they also make the cut for the Championship Tour’s Top 22. If Igarashi and Andre finish better than Young and Asing, some guys in the QS can be bumped up to CT qualification like Zeke Lau.
The entire surfing community is watching out for new developments as the second round is coming up very soon. Will Nat and Keanu perform enough to re-qualify?