Matt Wilkinson (AUS) and Aritz Aranburu (ESP) capped off Round 2 as the swell continued to fill in at the Billabong Pipe Masters. In extremely challenging conditions, Wilkinson managed to oust Aranburu with a 4.13 two-wave total.
Though Wilkinson falls outside the WCT rankings cutoff, he has requalified for the 2015 season with his ranking on the Qualification Series, where he sits at No. 8. Aranburu, however, will be forced to battle his way back to the World Tour on the QS in 2015.
Julian Wilson and Dion Atkinson face off in challenging conditions at Pipe.
Aussies Julian Wilson and Dion Atkinson fought the conditions and each other in Round 2, Heat 11. Though Wilson has requalified through the QS, he appeared hungry to see a Round 3 appearance, dropping into a few sizable waves for a combined 4.50.
Atkinson suffered a heavy wipeout early in the heat and was unable to regain his composure. With a Round 2 elimination and no backup on the QS, he’ll fall off the Tour in 2015.
Jadson Andre scores big in the first elimination round of the Billabong Pipe Masters.
Jadson Andre (BRA) and Tiago Pires (PRT) paddled out into treacherous conditions at for Heat 10. Andre proved that gems still exist in the lineup, earning a 9.37 for an enormous barrel early in the heat.
Though Andre’s backup score was only 3.33, Portugal’s Tiago Pires struggled to find anything above a 1.23 and was eliminated in Round 2. Having spent seven years on the WCT, Pires will not qualify for the 2015 World Championship Tour, as he currently sits at 28 in the rankings.
“I’m just taking it day by day, I’m still not sure what I’m doing next year,” said Pires after his Round 2 loss. “I’m not planning to retire yet, but I’m not planning on staying for a long, long time. But it’s just that I’m enjoying surfing and competing, and the Prime Tour nowadays is way more appealing than the QS was back then when I was surfing.”
Hawaiian Freddy Patacchia Jr. faces Aussie Mitch Crews in a heat with heavy waves and steep drops.
As the wind and swell continued to increase through Heat 9, Freddy Patacchia Jr. (HAW) and Mitch Crews (AUS) struggled to find anything of note. At No. 19 in the rankings, Patacchia went after everything that came his way in an effort to solidify his standings — and chances at requalification, which cuts off after No. 20.
Local knowledge paid off for the Hawaiian as Crews, a Tour rookie, failed to better the veteran’s 6.90 two-wave total. Crews will have to earn his way back onto the WCT on the 2015 Qualification Series.
Kai Otton (AUS) came out aggressively against Brett Simpson (USA) in Heat 8, locking in a combined 5.66 in fewer than 10 minutes. Otton continue to charge through some of the heaviest closeouts of the day. He left Simpson with a small, hard-to-find two-point ride.
In the dying seconds, Simpson made a steep drop, but his wave failed to provide the necessary barrel. Otton moves on to Round 3, as Simpson sets his sights on 2015, requalifying for the WCT through his QS rank.
Heat 7 saw Adrian Buchan (AUS) take on Travis Logie (ZAF), who had opted to not to surf in Round 1 due to a knee injury. Nonetheless, Logie was eliminated in a low-scoring heat. The South African announced during the Triple Crown that he would be retiring after Pipe; his appearance in Heat 7 was his last as a WCT competitor.
“It’s been crazy, the love that’s been shown to me. Before my heat I nearly teared up a little bit and I can’t believe it’s over. It’s like bittersweet and lots of love to my family and my wife and Quiksilver and ASP for letting me do what I love for a living,” Logie stated. “I can’t believe it’s over but I’m stoked to go paddle out because yesterday I wasn’t walking. I’m just stoked I paddled out and gave it a shot.”
Filipe Toledo (BRA) and Glenn Hall (IRL) went head-to-head for the chance to surf again in Round 3. Each surfer showed impressive commitment at Pipeline’s left during Heat 6.
In a rare maneuver at a venue known for its infamous barrel, Toledo employed an air-reverse, putting himself a mere .57 points above Hall. Hall was unable to find the small score needed to top Toledo and was eliminated in Round 2.
Heat 5 saw an all Brazilian battle go down between Miguel Pupo (BRA) and Raoni Monteiro (BRA), as each looks to finish off the season strong. Both surfers were able to attempt four waves, but it was Pupo’s 7.17 two-wave total that earned the win.
Pupo will move on to Round 3, while Monteiro’s journey on the World Championship Tour will, for now, come to a close. Monteiro did have QS backup to requalify.
Nat Young (USA) came out swinging against Mitch Coleburn (AUS) with a 4.50 opening wave, a decent score for the unpredictable conditions during Heat 4. Coleburn did his best to answer back, but couldn’t find the necessary combination and was eliminated.
Heat 3 started off slow as Jordy Smith (ZAF) and Dusty Payne (HAW) fell under the priority of the overlapping Heat 2.
Smith Eliminated by Round 2 Injury
The South African crashes into the reef as a heavy wave at Backdoor closes out on him.
Smith grabbed a small score early on, following up with a 3.00 closeout at Backdoor. Unfortunately, he suffered a shoulder injury in the process, forcing him to watch the rest of his Round 2 heat from the beach. Though Payne was left unchallenged for the remaining 20 minutes, he narrowly overcame Smith’s 4.30 combined score.
“I’ve had a few pretty gnarly heats through the way. I’ve never had a heat where someone went in and I only needed a 3,” Payne said. “Anywhere else in the world you can get that pretty easily but not at Pipe, especially on a day like today. It’s so tricky, you could take off on 100 waves and not get it, but just lucky I got that little right.”
Michel Bourez (PYF) took the first drop of Heat 2, suffering his second broken board of the day in the process. Makai McNamara (HAW) fought back with two small scores and the lead heading into the back half of the heat.
Bourez found his first mid-range score with five minutes left in the heat. A 5.00 was enough to regain the lead and a heat win over the local wildcard.
Round 2 of the Billabong Pipe Masters kicked off with heavy Title implications as Kelly Slater (USA) found himself pitted against Pipe specialist Reef McIntosh (HAW) in Heat 1. Both surfers traded blows in the tricky morning conditions, but it was McIntosh who snagged the early lead.
Slater bounced back nearly three-quarters into the heat with a 6.67. But it was in the final five minutes that world No. 3 really turned on, earning a 7.43, only to back it up moments later with a 9.57.
“I thought there was only 5 minutes left, don’t blow this opportunity, you know, just make the right decision,” Slater said. “And that wave came, and after falling on so many waves, I was paddling for it and I was like, ‘Gosh, should I even go?’ But it looked like a good one. And when I bottom-turned I saw this huge foam ball right in my line and I just went, ‘God, I hope that thing disperses as it pitches.’ And luckily it did.”
Slater will continue his Title quest in Round 3.