Billabong Pipeline Masters: Day 2
Wildcards March On
Only three World Tour competitors advance out of Round 2.
Though pictures do an amazing job of making Pipeline look perfect, it isn’t always so. Like Thursday, at day two of the Billabong Pipeline Masters, where a mid-sized West swell was propping up some dicey lefts, and for a few eager souls, a Backdoor right or two.
Like Mikala Jones, who snuck into a right drainer and exited for an eight against Shaun Cansdell. The young Australian came into Pipe sitting at a difficult 39th place on the WCT, and would need to put up a valiant fight to move up enough spots to stay on tour. With little hope of re-qualifying through the WQS, Cansdell’s future rested solely on making at least another round or two at Pipe to keep the dream alive. Early on he looked hungry, but then Jones hunted down a big set left, grabbed the rail, and got spit out cleanly, and shut the door. So it looks like Cansdell will be sent packing, off the WCT, relegated back to the hell of the WQS grind.
Cansdell was far from the only WCTer to fall at the hands of the lethal “Pipe specialist wildcards, though. In fact, only three World Tour surfers advanced through Round 2 (although plenty more advanced to later rounds yesterday in Round 1.)
Another Aussie who made his World Tour exit, though much grander, was Mick Lowe. “The Keg had announced he was retiring previous to the event, and with the clock winding down in Heat 8 against Danny Fuller and Lowe basically comboed, all of sudden a line of people started filing down towards the water’s edge. You could’ve mistaken it for a tourist tour bus being let out, until you saw the faces of Mick Fanning, Andy Irons, Occy and all sorts of others surf royalty in the line. They met Lowe on the beach and hoisted him up on to shoulders, in honor of a solid WCT career. It was a cool gesture to an absolute surf legend, who at only 30 years old is calling it off. “I’m only 30, but I’ve been competing since I was twelve, said Lowe. “I’m full of happy emotions, I don’t feel sad or any regrets, surfing has just done so much for me. I can’t pay it enough and I can’t even believe the opportunities I’ve had, I’m just so thankful.
Yet another Aussie, this one on the upswing of his career, was Kai Otton, who floored it through a big Pipe left for a 9.93, the highest score of the event so far. You’ve probably heard all about the priority system for the contest, and I’m not going to attempt to explain it (you can check out the ASP’s web site for all the details), but there have been questions about the practicality of it. And one of my first ones was how many “keepers would be snagged by surfers who didn’t have priority.
Well, Kai answered that one rather easily: “That wave was right at the end of the other heats priority, right when it was about to change. Luckily nobody was out the back to take it off me.
It’d be interesting to tally how many “keepers there have been from surfers who didn’t have priority, and when we hire a team of statisticians to work that out we’ll get right on it. I’d guess not too many, which means the two guys out who don’t have priority are most of the time just out there as a formality. But even if that’s true, most of the surfers have been keen on the priority system. “It’s been good, said wildcard heat winner Mikala Jones, “surfing a four man heat in these condition would be impossible. There have been some skeptics, but I think it’s working out really well.
In surf new, the buoys have jumped a bit and the surf has begun a steady pulse as of Thursday evening, so it looks promising that Round 3 will be on tomorrow morning. If it’s on, look for another contest update here again tomorrow.
Round 2 Results:
Heat 1: Mikey Bruneau (HAW) 9.90 def. Damien Hobgood (USA) 8.93
Heat 2: Jamie O’Brien (HAW) 16.66 def. Kalani Chapman (HAW) 9.27
Heat 3: Roy Powers (HAW) 12.17 ddef. Taylor Knox (USA) 11.50
Heat 4: Gavin Gillette (HAW) 10.30 def. Sunny Garcia (HAW) 7.77
Heat 5: Kai Otton (AUS) def. 19.33 Manoa Drollet (TAH) 8.00
Heat 6: Flynn Novak (HAW) 15.60 def. Tiago Pires (PRT) 13.07
Heat 7: Michael Campbell (AUS) 15.00 def. Kainoa McGee (HAW) 6.23
Heat 8: Danny Fuller (HAW) 14.84 def. Michael Lowe (AUS) 4.46
Heat 9: David Wassell (HAW) 10.50 def. Daniel Wills (AUS) 5.16
Heat 10: Gavin Beschen (USA) 16.67 def. Luke Munro (AUS) 3.00
Heat 11: Ian Walsh (HAW) 8.40 def. Leonardo Neves (BRA) 5.93
Heat 12: Mikala Jones (HAW) 16.00 def. Shaun Cansdell (AUS) 12.60
Heat 13: Rodrigo Dornelles (BRA) 10.46 def. Tory Baron (HAW) 4.56
Heat 14: Chris Ward (USA) 18.07 def. Shane Dorian (HAW) 16.00
Heat 15: Myles Padaca (HAW) 8.06 def. Ricky Basnett (ZAF) 4.16
Heat 16: Makua Rothman (HAW) 6.33 def. Royden Bryson (ZAF) 3.90