What’s coming down the Pipe

Gary Kewley
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Friday - January 25, 2008
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Jamie O'Brien in a gaping barrel that only few could make - he made it and won the Da Hui Back Door Shoot Out
Jamie O’Brien in a gaping barrel that only few could make - he made it and won the Da Hui Back Door Shoot Out

Aloha surfers and beachgoers, It’s a BIG Happy New Year; there are more waves rolling than can be ridden. Waimea Bay has cracked five days, and the outer reefs even more than that. Since New Year’s Day the North Shore has averaged over 8 feet (triple-plus overhead). As for last week, since Sunday’s 20-foot storm surf (Jan. 13) we saw two much cleaner NW swells. The one that hit late Thursday (Jan. 17) reached over advisory levels (15 feet crest to trough). The second one greeted us on Monday - smaller but still super fun, which is what it’s all about. The trades have ranged from moderate (10-20) to fresh (15-25) and conditions good to epic. Wow, you just can’t beat Hawaii for size and consistency.

There’s been so much going on in the surf arena it’s hard to keep up. The Da Hui Back Door Shoot Out finished Saturday (Jan. 12) in huge 10-foot gapping barrels. Winning the non-elimination, non-rated local event was none other than Vans Triple Crown Pipeline master Jamie O’Brien. This is his third victory at the Pipe.

He won the Hansen’s Pipeline Pro in 2003, the Rip Curl Pipe Masters in 2004 and now this one. You can bet on it and you can feel it ... “The Freak” has a few more wins down the road at this infamous spot he calls his back yard. Jamie had to best Pipe specialist Bruce Irons to win the $50,000 up for grabs. Bruce pocketed $25,000 for second place, Ola Eleogram got $15,000 for third place, and Markus Hickman received $10,000 for fourth, with Mark Healy and Myles Padaca each grabbing $5,000 in a tie for fifth place.

Next up for the highly valued, hard-to-get Pipeline permits is the Pipeline Body Surfing Classic presented by Honolua Surf Co. along with the Monster Energy Pipeline Pro presented by Billabong. Notice how someone’s gotta “present” or there’s no contest. The waiting period is Jan. 27 through Feb. 6. Don’t miss the world’s best surfers using only their bodies. Let’s hope they don’t get the same size surf as the “shootout.”

But, for the board surfers, that’s exactly what they want - 10-foot gaping holes you could drive a semi through! This will be another chance for the local contingent to prove themselves against the international threat. This is the first big-wave event of the 2008 WQS (World Qualifying Series). When it comes to the world’s most-touted wave, surfers must be more than competitive surfers ... they must be competitive daredevils.

Then we wait nearly a year before the granddaddy of all surf contests hits again - the Billabong Pipeline Masters. It seems far away now, but just watch ... it’ll creep up like a sneaker set.

Hey, speaking of human species that use only their bodies to ride waves ... check out the Pyramid Rock Body Surfing Championship finals this Saturday - surf pending! They were “supposed” to finish Sunday, Jan. 13, but a 20-foot swell said “NO, YOU DON’T!” Indeed, respect for Mother Nature is one of the lessons surfers are taught early on. The event will be held under guard of sacred Pyramid Rock and is open to the public. Money from this event will be used by 3rd Marines, the sponsoring command, to benefit the families of our fallen and injured heroes. Please log on (www.mccshawaii.com/bodysurf.htm) and hit it there Saturday!

Last, but not least, we finished the pro division of the Hard Rock/No Fear Junior Pro at Sunset Beach. We have till Jan. 25 to finish the amateurs. Former contest director Reid Inouye has passed the reins off to Pipe specialist Liam McNamara (BIG wave warrior Garrett’s bro) to run the contest under Koastal Kaos. We saw the ASP-sanctioned 1-Star Junior Pro deliver more than 50 top pro rippers mostly from Hawaii go off the hook. They got good, big 8- to 12-foot Sunset on Friday. Whoa, talk about training for the WCT! It’s a reality and commitment check all in one contest. Good luck to our future surf stars. Call 638-RUSH and 596-SURF for all contest status.

Winning 2K for the event and a WQS seeding was North Shore rez rippa Kiron Jabour. He’s Brazilian-born but raised here since he was 4. Get complete results on my website.

Thanks for dropping in! See you here next week!

GQ, dropping in for you ... from SURFNEWSNETWORK.COM


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