Kelly Slater Wins the Pipe Masters while Mick Fanning clinches the 2013 World Title in dramatic fashion
Mick Fanning was down the beach, just past Off The Wall, and he’d hardly slept a wink. The swell was one thing. The dull roar of the approaching freight trains on Third Reef, the sledgehammer-on-steel strikes on First Reef that sounded like time being torn, the whole North Shore a white noise cacophony under the influence of a big north-west swell. But the fact Kelly was looming large in his rearview mirror was another thing altogether. Kelly’s Pipe Masters record here is fat as a phone book…and that’s not even the part you’ve got to worry about. Pipe is one giant magnetic field of energy, and Kelly out here is not only purely magnetic but can also influence his opponent’s polarity.
Day Two of the Pipe Masters sees Fanning and Slater focus squarely on the World Title
The scene: Kelly Slater’s parked on the side of the road in downtown L.A. It’s four weeks ago today. He’s just squeezed in 13 holes of golf before sunset and he’s on his way to dinner with friends. He picks the phone up and dials a number in Australia. There’s always something cool about “Kelly
The reef at Backdoor rumbles as the Pipe Masters kicks off in pumping surf
“His violence was in the halo of his serenity.” Norman Mailer, The Fight. Serenity, however, is always in short supply on the North Shore in December. The place is teeming; a poked beehive of teenage cage fighters, teenage girls in bikinis, and the artery-fat of day-tripping tourists from Honolulu. Oh, alongside with every pro surfer
The new Kai Otton takes the trophy and pushes the World Title conversation to Pipeline
Today, it was Kai who had the coolest head. This was the feel-good win of the season, and it consigned the world title to the back pages.
Julian Wilson throws an oop for the ages, and Mick Fanning is a heat closer to the 2013 World Title
Two champions might be crowned, and a contest that has been characterized for marginal surf might just have one last surprise left for us.
Notes from the competitor's area in Portugal, where Kelly Slater fell in Round 2
“Kelly only needs a four,” Damien Hardman offers, almost in hope of him finding it. I remind Dooma that last year in the corresponding heat Kelly only needed a three…a three he never found. Hardman is the contest director here in Portugal and lives up to his name when push comes to shove and his
The World Title race boils over in Round 1 at Supertubes
Cabbage is not a sexy vegetable, nor will this be a sexy surf contest, and there’s something very right about that. Peniche is not Trestles nor Rio. It’s unfashionable and rustic and there could be no more fitting location to play out a world title that needs to be hard earned.
The Billabong Pro champ reflects on his run through the final rounds at Teahupoo
Ace, that drop on your first wave in the Final. Was it won then and there? Maybe. I just wanted to leave it late, cause I wanted to get really deep. For a split second there I thought I’d left to too late and I was just freefalling, but luckily my fins caught and I
Perfect rides abound at Teahupoo for the second day of competition
Before we start cataloguing the other side of the ledger, let’s itemize the things that weren’t perfect about today. The Teahupoo school boat—there’s no road fit for a school bus here—was running five minutes late this morning (and no one seemed to care). At 11:37 a.m., the wind shifted from totally breathless to one knot onshore from the south (and stopped three minutes later). My coffee this morning could have been a little warmer. But apart from these and a litany of grievous First World problems (how long you got?) this was about as good a day as any surf fan was going to get.
Ian and Anthony Walsh take down top seeds in the opening rounds at Teahupoo
If the first round went to script, the handful of Round 2 heats that ran this afternoon deviated wildly. Walsh & Walsh sound more like lawyers or undertakers than mercenary surfers, and when Ian and Anthony Walsh paddled out for their sudden death heats this afternoon against their respective high-seed opponents—Taj Burrow and Nat Young—few gave them a sniff.