PIPELINE, Oahu/Hawaii (Wednesday, December 8, 2010) - Day 1 of the Billabong Pipe Masters in Memory of Andy Irons, the third and final stop on the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing (an ASP Specialty Series) got underway today, with Rounds 1 and 2 completed in challenging six foot (2 metre) waves at the Banzai Pipeline on Oahu's North Shore.
The final stop on the 2010 ASP World Tour, the Billabong Pipe Masters in Memory of Andy Irons utilized the ASP's Dual Heat Format today, overlapping the man-on-man matches to take advantage of the swell on offer. With a smattering of Pipeline specialists lining the field, the world's best surfers campaigned against one another and the elements to ensure their position amongst the world's best surfers for 2011.
Dusty Payne (HAW), 21, 2010 ASP World Tour rookie, currently sits at No. 36 on the ASP World Rankings in need of at least an Equal 9th to vault himself into a requalification spot for 2011, but the young Hawaiian is calm when discussing his campaign at Pipeline.
"There's no pressure," Payne said. "If you have it (pressure) you can fall and blow it. So just keep your head up and do your best. That's all I'm working on."
Following his emphatic Round 1 victory, including the day's high heat total of a 15.10 out of a possible 20, Payne notched in some late heroics in Round 2, netting a rare barrel up the beach at Gums.
"I nearly started the heat at Gums but decided not to and ended up at Backdoor," Payne said. "Then I was watching these really good barrels come through up there and decided to head up there. There's not any current at Gums so I was just sitting there by myself and Andy (Irons) sent me a good one. I didn't think I was going to get barrelled in that heat, but there it was."
Payne faces two-time ASP World Champion Mick Fanning (AUS), 29, in Round 3 of the Billabong Pipe Masters in Memory of Andy Irons.
Joel Parkinson (AUS), 29, in his first ASP World Tour event back since injury, posted a convincing Round 2 victory over wildcard Heitor Alves (BRA), 28, in trying conditions out at Pipeline.
"I had to get a lot of waves to get out of the current," Parkinson said. "It was like a 40 minute paddling treadmill. I just caught waves to stay out of the current."
Defending Vans Triple Crown Champion, Parkinson is in the driver's seat in the hunt for this season's prestigious title with a win at Haleiwa and an Equal 9th at Sunset.
"To get back in the water at Haleiwa, I was just stoked to be surfing," Parkinson said. "I kept saying to myself, regardless of the outcome, win lose or draw I'll have a smile on my face because I just want to surf heats."
Parkinson takes on 2010 ASP World Tour rookie Owen Wright (AUS), 20, in Round 3 of the Billabong Pipe Masters.
John John Florence (HAW), 18, current ASP World No. 72 and wildcard into the Billabong Pipe Masters in Memory of Andy Irons, utilized his extensive knowledge of the challenging break today, scalping Kai Otton (AUS), 30, and Dean Morrison (AUS), 29, en route to Round 3 of competition.
"It's tricky out there but there are still some good barrels," Florence said. "I'm just happy to get to paddle around out there with only a couple guys and get some waves. I'm comfortable here and hopefully the waves improve in the coming days."
Florence has drawn reigning 10-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA), 38, in Round 3 of competition.
With the narrowing of the 48-man draw down to 24, the qualification campaigns of the world's best surfers for the 2011 ASP World Tour are being solidified. ASP World Ranking campaigners Raoni Monteiro (BRA), 28, Josh Kerr (AUS), 26, Alejo Muniz (BRA), 20, and Julian Wilson (AUS), 22, have cemented their spots on next year's ASP Dream Tour.
Gabe Kling (USA), 30, remains the target at present with 17,163 ASP World Rankings points. Dusty Payne (HAW), 21, is the only surfer able to overtake him.
Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow morning at 7am to assess conditions for a possible 8am start.
When competition resumes, up first will be defending Billabong Pipe Master Taj Burrow (AUS), 32, up against Matt Wilkinson (AUS), 22, in the opening heat of Round 3.
Highlights from the Billabong Pipe Masters will be available via http://triplecrownofsurfing.com/billabongpipemasters/
Surfline, official forecasters of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, are calling for overhead North swell to continue through tomorrow as it eases through the day.
Andy Irons (1978 - 2010), three-time ASP World Champion and four-time Pipeline Masters Champion, tragically passed away on November 2nd of this year. A final celebration dedicated to the life and achievements of Andy Irons will be held in conjunction with the Billabong Pipe Masters and the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, on Saturday, December 11th, at Pipeline at 10am. The tribute will include a paddle-out by competitors in the Billabong Pipe Masters.
For more information, log onto www.aspworldtour.com
Heat 1: Adam Melling (AUS) 14.50 def. Kamalei Alexander (HAW) 11.66
Heat 2: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 6.50 def. Clay Marzo (HAW) 4.23
Heat 3: John John Florence (HAW) 14.50 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 12.20
Heat 4: Dusty Payne (HAW) 15.10 def. Kiron Jabour (HAW) 9.30
Heat 5: Ian Walsh (HAW) 13.24 def. Luke Stedman (AUS) 7.50
Heat 6: Danny Fuller (HAW) 8.57 def. Roy Powers (HAW) 7.36
Heat 7: Dave Wassell (HAW) 12.17 def. Travis Logie (ZAF) 3.63
Heat 8: Luke Munro (AUS) 13.50 def. Shane Dorian (HAW) 13.33
Heat 9: Gabe Kling (USA) 11.10 def. Kalani Chapman (HAW) 5.40
Heat 10: Rob Machado (USA) 11.37 def. Granger Larsen (HAW) 9.66
Heat 11: Heitor Alves (BRA) 8.46 def. Joel Centeio (HAW) 8.14
Heat 12: Tom Whitaker (AUS) 13.83 def. Bruce Irons (HAW) 3.33
Heat 1: John John Florence (HAW) 10.00 def. Dean Morrison (AUS) 3.03
Heat 2: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 11.70 def. Ian Walsh (HAW) 9.83
Heat 3: Jadson Andre (BRA) 11.00 def. Danny Fuller (HAW) 3.76
Heat 4: Dave Wassell (HAW) 9.33 def. Bobby Martinez (USA) 5.40
Heat 5: Taylor Knox (USA) 12.67 def. Rob Machado (USA) 10.57
Heat 6: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 10.83 def. Heitor Alves (BRA) 5.84
Heat 7: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 13.40 def. Gabe Kling (USA) 8.53
Heat 8: Kieren Perrow (AUS) 10.27 def. Luke Munro (AUS) 4.87
Heat 9: Dusty Payne (HAW) 11.94 def. Tiago Pires (PRT) 8.83
Heat 10: Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 12.16 def. Tom Whitaker (AUS) 2.70
Heat 11: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 9.47 def. Brett Simpson (USA) 2.90
Heat 12: Adam Melling (AUS) 11.67 def. Daniel Ross (AUS) 8.94
Heat 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Matt Wilkinson (AUS)
Heat 2: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Joel Parkinson (AUS)
Heat 3: Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 4: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Fredrick Patacchia (HAW)
Heat 5: C.J. Hobgood (USA) vs. Jeremy Flores (FRA)
Heat 6: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. John John Florence (HAW)
Heat 7: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Kieren Perrow (AUS)
Heat 8: Damien Hobgood (USA) vs. Jadson Andre (BRA)
Heat 9: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. David Wassell (HAW)
Heat 10: Dane Reynolds (USA) vs. Patrick Gudauskas (USA)
Heat 11: Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Taylor Knox (USA)
Heat 12: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Dusty Payne (HAW)