17-year-old Australian, Jack Robinson, claimed the Pipe Invitational yesterday afternoon in Hawaii, besting a specialist field of 32 to take the prestigious win and advance. Local Hawaiian and former Pipe Master Jamie O’Brien joins Robinson into the Billabong Pipe Masters in Memory of Andy Irons, as the runner-up.
The Billabong Pipe Masters In Memory of Andy Irons is arguably the most famous stop on the Samsung Galaxy World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT). The final event of the season, it’s a highly-competitive event that pits some of the world’s best surfers against one of the world’s most renowned waves!
For the pre-event invitational at world-famous Banzai Pipeline, the surf conditions were excellent. Solid 10-to-15 foot (3 – 5 metre) surf steamed through all day, providing the backdrop for incredible barrels and horrendous wipeouts by some of the best Pipeline surfers on the planet.
In the end, it was 17-year-old phenom, Robinson, that came away with the win – turning in one excellent score of a 9.43 to claim the victory over O’Brien and fellow Hawaiians Mason Ho and Kekoa Cazimero.
“I just wanted to get the best waves and go against the best guys but the trials were so gnarly,” Robinson said. “Any one of the trialists could take down a CT guy so I’m just stoked to get a few waves against them. It was great to have my dad here and I had a lot of fun – just wanted to go and get it done. I’d be stoked to get a couple of drainers, that’s what it’s all about here and it’d be great to get into a few heats.”
Robinson won the Vans Triple Crown Rookie of the Year award at Sunset last week during the Vans World Cup of Surfing and has had a phenomenal performance in Hawaii this season. With a fourth place finish in the HIC Pro, the official Vans Triple Crown qualifying event, the young Australian has quickly become a fan favourite.
Claiming Runner-up, 2004 Pipe Master and local charger Jamie O’Brien punched his ticket into this year’s main event after a near-miss last year. Known for his fearless approach to one of the heaviest waves in the world, O’Brien will now have a chance to show his prowess against the world’s best.
“I narrowly missed out last year coming in third so I made it a goal here to get second and I’m excited with the forecast looking really good,” O’Brien said. “I’m really stoked with everyone that came down today in support of the trials and excited we got to put on a good event in some unruly conditions at times. I think today was the hard day coming into a lot of good heats. Guys were surfing great and every heat was like a Final. The best thing about the main event is we’re only surfing one or two heats a day and that’ll give us time to relax – whereas today we had to surf four times and that’s really draining so I’m excited to make the main event.”
Turning heads during his Pipe Invitational run, local surfer Luke Shepardson posted the event’s only perfect 10 in Heat 8 of Round 1, but couldn’t find the scores needed to advance from the Quarterfinals. Finding a pristine Pipeline bomb, Shepardson locked into the barrel with equipment made for these conditions – beating multiple sections and finding a clean exit.
“I knew it was a really, really good wave,” said Shepardson. “And I thought it’s either a 10 or a 1. I was super stoked I made it. I’m riding a 6’10, I was thinking I would ride my 6’8, but I think the 6’10 helped a lot. As I bottom turned into it there was a warble in the wave and the board almost skidded out – the couple extra inches held the rail and helped me get out of it. I think that was my best wave ever at Pipe. It’s the best feeling I ever got, especially because it’s in a contest and the whole world is watching.”
The main competition will determine who takes the 2015 World Title; currently three-time WSL Champion and current Jeep Rankings’ Leader Mick Fanning, Filipe Toledo, Adriano de Souza, reigning WSL Champion Medina, Owen Wright (AUS) and defending Pipe Master Julian Wilson are all in the running for the top spot.
Fredrick Patacchia and Matt Banting have withdrawn from the event. They’ve been replaced by former Pipe Master and brother to Andy Irons (whom the event is dedicated to) Bruce Irons and current Vans Triple Crown ratings’ leader Carmichael in the main event.
Irons has drawn Fanning and Sebastian Zietz (Sea Bass) while Carmichael will take on Medina and Hawaiian rookie Keanu Asing in Round 1 of the competition.
Keep posted to ADAPT Network and WSL for the latest as organizers reassess conditions 7:00am HST (Hawaiian Standard Time).
Surfline, Official Forecasters for the World Surf League, are calling for:
Large WNW swell peaks early Wednesday morning, with Pipe expected to be mainly maxed out. However, watch for the surf to gradually become more tame through the day, especially over the afternoon. The swell eases a couple notches for Thursday (but still solid) and shifts more NW’erly in angle. The swell continues to ease over Friday and the weekend. Breezy ENE veering East Trades through Wed/Thurs, then backing off some over Friday and veering ESE. Watching for a possible good size NW swell for around the 15th-17th.
PIPE INVITATIONAL FINAL RESULTS:
1 – Jack Robinson (AUS) 9.43
2 – Jamie O’Brien (HAW) 8.70
3 – Mason Ho (HAW) 5.53
4 – Kekoa Cazimero (HAW) 1.50
BILLABONG PIPE MASTERS ROUND 1 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Italo Ferreira (BRA), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Glenn Hall (IRL)
Heat 2: Owen Wright (AUS), Jadson Andre (BRA), Dusty Payne (HAW)
Heat 3: Gabriel Medina (BRA), Keanu Asing (HAW), Wade Carmichael (AUS)
Heat 4: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Michel Bourez (PYF), Jack Robinson (AUS)
Heat 5: Filipe Toledo (BRA), Kolohe Andino (USA), Jamie O’Brien (HAW)
Heat 6: Mick Fanning (AUS), Sebastian Zietz (HAW), Bruce Irons (HAW)
Heat 7: Julian Wilson (AUS), Kai Otton (AUS), Ricardo Christie (NZL)
Heat 8: Jeremy Flores (FRA), Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Jordy Smith (ZAF)
Heat 9: Kelly Slater (USA), Taj Burrow (AUS), C.J. Hobgood (USA)
Heat 10: Nat Young (USA), John John Florence (HAW), Brett Simpson (USA)
Heat 11: Bede Durbidge (AUS), Wiggolly Dantas (BRA), Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 12: Josh Kerr (AUS), Joel Parkinson (AUS), Miguel Pupo (BRA)
Featured Image: WSL / Scholtz