MACHADO TAMES THE MONSTER TO RELIVE PIPE DREAM
Honolulu – (Tuesday, February 7, 2006) – Retired professional surfer Rob Machado (Cardiff, CA) revisited his Pipe dreams today, taming towering 8- to 10-foot surf at the Banzai Pipeline to win the Monster Energy Pro, presented by Billabong. Proving that he never lost an ounce of talent or style in the five years since he won the Pipeline Masters before retiring, Machado, 32, defeated a string of surfers collectively regarded as the current breed of “Pipeline Specialists”. Not only that, he sealed the deal on the biggest and most critical wave of the day that rolled through in the closing minutes of the final, scored a perfect 10 for the ride, and posted the highest heat score of the competition – 19.17 points out of a possible 20 (top rides: 10/9.17).
Machado earned $10,000 for the win, a set of KMC Wheels, a $2000 Kicker stereo and 1500 World Qualifying Series (WQS) ratings points that take him to equal first in the world on the WQS ratings – a tour he won’t be following.
Runner-up today was Haleiwa local Fred Patacchia ($5,000/=4th WQS rating), third was Maui’s Ian Walsh (Hana – $3,000/=9th WQS), and fourth was Peruvian Gabriel Villaran ($2,400/=18th WQS). Defending event champion Pancho Sullivan (Haleiwa, HI) was eliminated in the semi-finals, finishing equal seventh overall.
Without doubt, the entire event will be remembered by Machado’s perfect 10 of the final, which unquestionably eclipsed all others. Enjoying a rare moment of sitting alone in the world’s most prestigious surf lineup, a dark line pushed forward from the horizon, arriving onto the reef as a flawless, A-frame peak that pitched skyward with a wave face of at least 18 feet. Machado threw himself into a free-falling drop, hooked his left hand into the face of the wave to allow his surfboard to connect on the bottom turn and then pulled up into a heaving tube large enough to be a car-wash. After breath-taking seconds, Machado was blown out of the tube with the spray, in disbelief.
“I was that close to pulling back,” said Machado, of the take-off that drew an audible gasp from the beach crowd. “I just threw myself over. I was like, ‘This is the final. Who cares if I (wipeout), break my board, break myself? That’s why you’re in the final!’
“I kinda free-fell for a second, stuck it, and just tried to set my rail and pull up – and I did somehow. I just knew it was a big barrel, held on tight and the thing blew me out – it was great.”
To top off the moment, Machado returned to the beach to a high-five from long-time friend and current world surfing champion Kelly Slater, who did not compete in this event, but of everyone present could best relate to what Machado just experienced.
What made it even more special for Machado was that he won it having taken on the very best surfers of Pipeline. Unlike the World Championship Tour event held at Pipeline, which only contains a handful of the local surfers who ride the wave best, the Monster Energy Pro lineup consists of almost every Pipeline charger on the books.
“These are all the guys who surf Pipe all year long,” continued Machado. “There are amazing surfers in this event. There’s so many heats where you look at them and go, ‘Wow, that could be a final’. These are the guys who are here day in and day out. They know the wave and they know the place.”
The final score-line showed 19.17 for Machado, 15.73 for Patacchia (9.2/6.5), 14.0 for Walsh (8.0/5.5), and just 5.17 (3.2/2.0) for Villaran, who peaked in the quarter finals and semi-finals but forgot to eat or drink to refuel for the final.
“It’s a playground – well, not really a playground because you’re kind of cheating death, but it’s a surfer’s dream,” said runner-up Patacchia, after the final. “To truly perform at Pipe you’ve got to prove yourself against the best, and that’s this event.”
In other results today, Bonga Perkins (Haleiwa, HI) won the Monster Energy Pro Longboard Expression Session for $1,000, and Honolulu’s Randall Paulson was awarded the Todd Chesser Memorial Award, given to the surfer who best embodies a “go-=for-it” attitude and good sportsmanship. Paulson finished equal ninth in the event, placing third in his quarter final heat.
The complete Monster Energy Pro results on the web at these sites: