Solid Pipeline Provides Show-Stopping Day at the Billabong Pipe Masters
Pictured: Dean Morrison (AUS), 28, was the first surfer to defeat newly crowned ASP World Champion, Mick Fanning (AUS), 28, in Round 4 of the Billabong Pipe Masters today. Credit: © ASP/ CI/ CESTARI via GETTY IMAGES
PIPELINE, Oahu/Hawaii (Saturday, December 12, 2009) - Solid six-to-eight foot (2 - 3 metre) barrels detonated along the Pipeline reef today as the Billabong Pipe Masters showcased one of the most dramatic days in surfing history.
Event No. 10 of 10 on the 2009 ASP World Tour, today's Billabong Pipe Masters saw the crowning of the 2009 ASP World Champion, a shakeup in Vans Triple Crown (an ASP Specialty Series) as well as a bevy of death-defying and Perfect 10-point rides.
With the Round 3 elimination of remaining contender Joel Parkinson (AUS), 28, Mick Fanning (AUS), 28, secured his second ASP World Title (having clinched his inaugural crown in 2007).
"This title is way more fun," Fanning said. "I was much more relaxed for this one - besides the last few days, I was really nervous."
A full report on Fanning's 2009 ASP World Title can be found at www.aspworldtour.com
Kelly Slater (USA), 37, former nine-time ASP World Champion and defending six-time Billabong Pipe Masters Champion, entered the water today and showed the world that he is still one of the best at the infamous break. The Floridian posted a 19.33 out of 20 in his Round 3 heat before a 17.10 in his Round 4 heat to put himself on track for an unprecedented seventh Pipe Masters title.
"It'd be amazing to win another event at Pipeline, but I need to win my next heat first," Slater said. "It's the most prestigious event next to the Eddie Aikau. They're the two events you really want to win. A lot of years, we struggled to get Pipe going, and this year we have had perfect conditions."
While falling out of the running for the 2009 ASP World Title before Hawaii, Slater was gracious regarding Fanning's impressive victory today.
"I think Mick's title win today was great," Slater said. "Talk about a dominant start with Parko and talk about a more dominant finish with Fanning. He's been winning everything towards the end of the year. That was really a great seesaw battle. To have it stolen from under you like Joel did, it's got to be pretty disheartening for Joel right now. It was one of those years where we thought it was going to be boring because Joel was on fire and Mick came back."
With the 2009 ASP World Title already sealed, several are looking ahead to next season where Slater remains one of the primary candidates for the 2010 crown. However, as ever, the Floridian remains guarded as to his motivations moving forward.
"I don't know if being out of this year's title race motivates me for next year," Slater said. "I think to start this year I wasn't really motivated. I think I felt a lot of pressure and maybe I didn't put myself in the game early on. It really has been my year to experiment with equipment and trying to take my surfing in a way that feels better. I did a lot of work on that."
Slater will face sole remaining wildcard Flynn Novak (HAW), 26, in Quarterfinal 2 when competition resumes.
Gavin Gillette (HAW), 23, wildcard into the Billabong Pipe Masters, will forever be etched into the history books today as the man who finished the 2009 ASP World Title race. Gillette's show-stopping Pipeline pit in the dying moments of his Round 3 heat netted the young Hawaiian a 9.03 to take the victory and end the title hopes of Parkinson.
"The thought crossed my mind about 100,000 times that I could have an effect on this year's World Title in that heat," Gillette said. "Joel (Parkinson) is one of my all-time favorite surfers and he's a great guy. We just met up and one of us had to lose, but that's the way that contest surfing is. Joel knows, he's been doing this forever."
Gillette would subsequently fall to Californian phenom Dane Reynolds (USA), 24, in Round 4.
C.J. Hobgood (USA), 30, collected one of four Perfect 10-point rides today, utilizing his to push past wildcard Shane Dorian (HAW) in Round 3.
"That was such a perfect wave," Hobgood said. "Lucky for me Shane (Dorian) and I didn't have priority, so we were pushing each other deep. That wave was just perfect and I just had to stand there."
Parkinson's early elimination opens up the possibility for Hobgood to overtake him in the hunt for the Vans Triple Crown Title.
"I guess anything is possible," Hobgood said. "I have won Sunset before. I'm not trying to think too much about it now and still need to make a few more heats. I'd like to see it come down to the end though."
Hobgood faces compatriot Dane Reynolds (USA), 24, in Quarterfinal 4 when competition resumes.
Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow morning at 6:30am to assess conditions for a possible 8am start.
Surfline, official forecasters for the Billabong Pipe Masters, are calling for conditions to drop slightly but remain clean for tomorrow.
When competition resumes, up first will be Dean Morrison (AUS), 28, up against Damien Hobgood (USA), 30, in Quarterfinal 1.
For more information, log onto www.aspworldtour.com
Billabong Pipe Masters Round 3 Results:
Heat 1: Dean Morrison (AUS) 16.67 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 6.60
Heat 2: Mick Fanning (AUS) 17.57 def. Torrey Meister (HAW) 6.26
Heat 3: Damien Hobgood (USA) 15.07 def. Andy Irons (HAW) 6.10
Heat 4: John John Florence (HAW) 16.93 def. Bobby Martinez (USA) 15.16
Heat 5: Flynn Novak (HAW) 15.50 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 14.34
Heat 6: Tom Whitaker (AUS) 12.67 def. Michael Picon (FRA) 12.10
Heat 7: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 15.67 def. Chris Ward (USA) 10.66
Heat 8: Kelly Slater (USA) 19.33 def. Hank Gaskell (HAW) 14.17
Heat 9: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 12.66 def. Liam McNamara (HAW) 0.33
Heat 10: Kieren Perrow (AUS) 17.17 def. Roy Powers (HAW) 13.80
Heat 11: Taj Burrow (AUS) 12.83 def. Bruce Irons (HAW) 8.67
Heat 12: Dayyan Neve (AUS) 15.67 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 13.00
Heat 13: Phillip MacDonald (AUS) 15.17 def. Taylor Knox (USA) 11.94
Heat 14: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 16.33 def. Shane Dorian (HAW) 11.94
Heat 15: Gavin Gillette (HAW) 13.36 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 10.56
Heat 16: Dane Reynolds (USA) 14.20 def. Kekoa Bacalso (HAW) 10.43
Billabong Pipe Masters Round 4 Results:
Heat 1: Dean Morrison (AUS) 16.76 def. Mick Fanning (AUS) 13.16
Heat 2: Damien Hobgood (USA) 13.66 def. John John Florence (HAW) 12.00
Heat 3: Flynn Novak (HAW) 12.34 def. Tom Whitaker (USA) 7.54
Heat 4: Kelly Slater (USA) 17.10 def. Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 14.50
Heat 5: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 12.83 def. Kieren Perrow (AUS) 8.50
Heat 6: Taj Burrow (AUS) 15.57 def. Dayyan Neve (AUS) 12.23
Heat 7: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 15.27 def. Phillip MacDonald (AUS) 5.87
Heat 8: Dane Reynolds (USA) 16.50 def. Gavin Gillette (HAW) 14.00
Billabong Pipe Masters Quarterfinal Match-ups:
QF 1: Dean Morrison (AUS) vs. Damien Hobgood (USA)
QF 2: Flynn Novak (HAW) vs. Kelly Slater (USA)
QF 3: Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Taj Burrow (AUS)
QF 4: C.J. Hobgood (USA) vs. Dane Reynolds (USA)
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