PIPELINE, Oahu/Hawaii (January 28, 2010) – Surfers live for days like today in Hawaii, and over 150,000 online internet spectators live to watch them. Images of Oahu’s famous North Shore and thrilling Pipeline surf were web in high-definition around the world today and the Volcom Pipeline Pro became one of the Association of Surfing Professional’s (ASP) most successful surfing events, overnight.
Surfers like Jamie O’Brien (Hawaii), Rob Machado (CA), Anthony Walsh (Australia), and Reef McIntosh (Hawaii) spend years putting in their time for days like this when the famous, hollow tubes of Banzai Pipeline are firing. For Volcom, sponsors of this event, it was a magical foray into the world of professional surfing. Wave face heights of over 20 feet marched in at daybreak and continued to reel off with machine-like consistency throughout the day, offering the full experience from perfect 10-point tube rides to injuries and shattered surfboards. What better stage to launch surfing’s first complete, top-to-bottom high-definition web experience?
A $120,000 ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) 5-Star event, the Volcom Pipeline Pro is open to the world’s best surfers. But more often than not, it’s the locals and legends of Pipe who emerge as the stars of the show.
O’Brien, a two-time champion at this world class break, was hypnotizing today. In just one heat he posted three of the day’s top 10 wave scores, including a perfect 10 and a 9.33 that gave him an unsurpassed two-wave heat total of 19.33 points. His performance was a magic show, summoning deep barrels, surviving contorted take-offs, and weaving his board with a magician’s touch to put on a tube-riding show like no other.
It didn’t matter if you were the 60-year-old couple from Minnesota enjoying the warm Hawaiian weather, or an iconic legend of surf like Gerry Lopez who was on commentary today – you knew you were witnessing something special in Jamie’s display. His last wave – a perfect 10, was hard for even Jamie to put into words.
“I knew I was deep,” said Jamie. “I was late, the wind held me up the top, then it let me down. I just did the biggest bottom turn I could, grabbed a rail and projected up really high. I almost went too high, then I fell down low, hit the foam ball and bounced, then it was like a shock-wave pushed me on. It was er, stoked!”
In the very same heat, Australian Anthony Walsh experienced a similar high, thanks in part to the generosity of O’Brien, who handed him a near-perfect tube ride of his own. From Lennox Head, NSW, 26-year-old Walsh lives on Oahu’s North Shore each winter, paying his dues for days just like today.
“It’s very nerve-wracking,” said Walsh. “You surf here all winter, you finally get a good day and you really want to do well. I kind of had a bad start. I went a right and didn’t make it, then went a left and didn’t make it and Jamie told me, just get a little wave and get your feet sorted. So I did that and actually got a 9.6, thanks Jamie!
“I’ve spent 12 years here now. I’ve spent a lot of time at the end of the line and now that I’ve put my time in, I respect the locals and they respect me. It’s paying off for sure.”
Legendary Pipe riders Derek Ho (Hawaii) and Rob Machado (Ca.) also handed out the memorable moments today Derek with his flawless timing, wave ion and positioning, and Machado with his cool, casual and classy form that, like Gerry Lopez before him, makes the Pipeline experience so timeless.
“It’s very timeless,” said Machado, who has logged so many historic moments here over the years. “Pipeline is always going to be Pipeline and it’s always respected as one of those waves in the world that everybody puts up there on their list.”
Others who featured today:
Sixteen-year-old rookie Landon McNamara – the youngest surfer in the event who had the home crowd cheering as he threw himself to the wolves and the waves, snapping a board, but also finding a couple of honorable tube rides.
Japan’s “Holy” Shinpei Horiguchi, who rediscovered his Hawaiian fan-base with another typically gutsy performance, proving that coming last in your heat doesn’t matter if you’ve charged fearlessly into the hugest waves on offer.
Maui’s Clay Marzo and Oahu’s Mark Healey, who spent more time hiding inside roping tube-rides than they did on the open water.
The Volcom Pipeline Pro will continue over two more days between now and the end of its holding period: February 5. Each day of competition will be broad live on the internet at Volcom.com/pipelinepro. In Hawaii, watch live on Oceanic Time Warner Cable channel 250 and 1250.