With a perfect 10 for World Junior Champion Finn McGill, a dominating win by local legend Sunny Garcia, and a wildcard victory for Pipemaster Jamie O’Brien, the local Hawaiian talent showed how it’s done in firing surf during an exciting Day 2 of the Volcom Pipe Pro.
With pristine conditions and barreling 10-12 ft waves, McGill disappeared into an impossible-looking Backdoor ride, ultimately reappearing with the spit as he sped down the line. The perfect score he was granted is the latest of many victories in the past month, including his World Junior title, the Sunset Junior Pro title, and a quarterfinal finish in the Sunset Open.
“I feel like once you’re on a roll, you’re on a roll for a long time,” McGill said. “Even if you do have one loss, it doesn’t matter that much, you still feel like you’re on top of the world and you can do anything. I just feel that I’m on a roll right now and just feel really loose; going out into every heat I’m never nervous, it’s such a cool feeling.”
McGill advances to Round 3, where he will face Japan’s Reo Inaba, Australian Brent Dorrington, and fellow Hawaiian powerhouse Torrey Meister.
Another local victory went to Pipeline expert Jamie O’Brien, who competed in the eight-man, half-hour Volcom Last Chance Qualifier heat after forgetting to enter the main event. Surfing without priority in double-overhead sets against Hawaiian legends Gavin Beschen, Dave Wassel, Kalani Chapman, Jonah Morgan, Takayuki Wakita, and Derek Ho, as well as Portugal’s Mauro Diaz, 2010 Volcom Pipe Pro champion O’Brien earned a 9.33 when he threaded a mighty Backdoor barrel, then backed it up with a 9-point backhand tube ride at Pipe. His near-perfect heat total earned him a spot in Round 3, which looks likely for Friday as the sizable WNW swell looks like it will hold through the weekend.
“The eight-man heat out there is no easy task, they’re all great surfers,” O’Brien said. “I look up to them all, I’ve lost to all of them before. It’s pretty much just cat and mouse out there and I kind of got my rhythm and it just didn’t stop. It kept delivering wave after wave, I got four really fun waves. That was pretty much a dream heat and there were only 8 guys out there. I got lucky.”
Other Hawaiians posting excellent scores and earning a spot in Round 3 included Pe’ahi champions Billy Kemper and Ian Walsh, Maui standouts Cody Young and Hank Gaskell, Big Island’s Ulualoha Napeahi, Makaha icon Sunny Garcia, and North Shore boys Koa Rothman, Kalani David, and Noah Beschen.
The contest will be broadcast live on Volcom.com/pipepro, and live scoring will be available through Worldsurfleague.com.