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Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Bloggin' From Da Rock: Day 7


Jamie O'Brien, gliding through his Round 3 heat.

Just another day at the Pipe Masters.
Yesterday the surf was pumping and everybody that surfed had no choice but to push themselves. Today, with the swell on the decline, the show was more based around ability and technique. You could make the argument that nobody in the world combines ability and technique better than Joel Parkinson, and if you were looking for something to support this argument all you had to do was watch his Round 3 heat against Dusty Payne.

What else can you say about what Joel Parkinson did out at Backdoor today? You can't get much better than two perfect 10s. With the winner of the Triple Crown title essentially being decided in his Round 3 heat against Dusty Payne, Parko was, well, perfect. "I couldn't have done anything," told Dusty, about 30 minutes after their duel. "It's hard to get 11s." By the looks of things Parko will claim the Triple Crown title, but more than that, he's now more of a contender to win Pipe than he's ever been before.

Mr. Slater back in Hawaii and back at another Pipe Masters.
And then there's the rumors that have been swirling around our dear nine-time world champ. Up until he actually picked up his jersey, walked down the beach and paddled out the Lord only knew if Kelly Slater was going to show up for the Pipe Masters. He's been down in the Caroline Islands chasing swell the past few days, and some speculated he was going to stay down there for the next round of swell. Obviously the rumor was wrong. Kelly did show&just in time to watch Parko rack up his perfect 20-point heat score.

Depending on your perspective, thankfully there weren't too many poundings to speak of today. Both John John and Dean Morrison broke boards, but with the swell on the decline and Pipe/Backdoor lingering in the 3- to 4-foot range, the boys had it a bit easier today. Down the beach at Off The Wall people were taking the usual beatings—and worthy of note would be Gavin Gillette's Malloy-esque escapade on a kickboard—but all in all, it wasn't nearly as spine tingling of a day as yesterday was.

Mark Healey, enjoying the good life.
You could make the argument that holding the event today was a bit of a bad call by the organizers, or at least that's what some of the competitors would have said. As a disheartened Mick Fanning said after losing his heat: "It's like the D-Bah Masters out there or something." Mark Healey felt the same: "This isn't Pipe. Shouldn't the Pipe Masters be held at proper Pipe?" All that being said, there's bad weather on the way and the swell forecast isn't looking all that promising, which put organizers in a tough spot.

Pumping or micro, there were still moments of brilliance. John John Florence lost to Kieren Perrow in one of the first heats of the day, but that doesn't make his performance any less inspirational. On one particularly clean wave at Backdoor the young regular-footer got barreled all the way across the reef, came out, did a huge hack, then followed it up with a solid little punt at the end on the close-out section. It was a proper display of exactly how good the kid is. Like I said, he may not have beat the cagey veteran, but he certainly put the world on notice that his arrive on the scene is not a long time off.

So, to recap, Parko was perfect, Kelly showed and won, Jamie O'Brien kept his roll going, and it looks like Oahu's in for a hell of a storm. The weatherman on the news is call for 25 to 30 mph winds, as well as buckets of rain. It hasn't showed up yet, but there are definitely more clouds in the sky now than there was earlier in the day. Stay tuned...

The scene at the Oakley house.