Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Bloggin' From Da Rock: Day 6
So, the Pipe Masters are underway, and the show has definitely begun. It's actually been quite an amazing day. I'll speak to the contest in a minute, but first Off The Wall was off its head today. Everybody from Mick Fanning and Joel Parkinson to unknown longboard weirdos and dudes on boogie boards were out rushing it. Hell boy Laurie Towner took an especially hard beating, getting pinned by a solid 8-footer and blacking out underwater. Don't worry, he's OK, but it just reaffirmed exactly why I don't surf out there. Julian Wilson's brother Bart also took a beating. As you can see by the photo here, he got raked across the reef pretty badly.
After a tough beating at Off The Wall Bart Wilson asked, "Can you take a picture so I can see how bad it is?"
"I sort of just got compressed on the bottom when I got slammed," he explained, shortly after scrubbing out the wound with a twist of lime. "You get impatient out there because there's so many guys and I just picked the wrong one to go on."
Carnage aside, there was a surf contest going on just up the beach, and some of the performances logged today were nothing short of inspirational. I explained the whole format and wildcard thing yesterday, so I won't bore you with that now, but just know that the wildcards laid waste to everybody today. Out of the 24 heats surfed only four were won by world tour surfers.
Dusty Payne proved that he very much would love nothing more than to hoist the Triple Crown trophy. Surfing like the second coming of Bruce Irons, Dusty turned Backdoor into his own personal playground, and in the process eliminated Manoa Drollet and Heitor Alves. Round Three will be the real test as that's when World Tour heavies enter the picture, but judging by what he's done at both Haleiwa and Sunset, as well as the show he put on today, the kid could very easily go the distance.
Not exactly a traditional Pipe gun, but definitely traditional.
This shouldn't come as a surprise to anybody, but Jamie O'Brien was another standout. The way he threads the needle through Backdoor caverns is unparalleled. As long as it keeps thumping he very much looks like a lock for his second Pipe Masters crown.
And then there's wee John John Florence. Slipping into the event in the last second because a host of the heavies have opted to chase swell in Micronesia, John John proved he's gliding through puberty just fine.
But as far as world tour surfers go, Chris Ward tallied a near-perfect 19.90 for not only the highest heat score of the day, but one of the highest heat scores of the entire year. He's been charging hard all winter, and the water time definitely showed today. He could very much be the dark horse hero should he be able to keep it together.
It's looking like weather permitting the show will keep going tomorrow. There's a pretty massive front on the way, with plenty of wind and rain in store, so stay tuned.