Most of the time life as a world tour surfer is pretty good. You get to surf the best waves in the world, the preferential treatment from your sponsors, the high seed when you enter ‘QS events, and then there are all of the other luxuries that accompany being at top dog. But Hawaii is different. And while it would be easy to sit here and write an entire PhD dissertation on how and why it’s different, for the sake of today’s story lets just take a brief look at the Pipe Masters and the influence the locals have on this, the most prestigious event in surfing. Simply put, in 16 heats surfed, North Shore regulars advanced out of 14 of them.
Jamie O’Brien, who’s backdoor overlooks Backdoor, led the charge with an uncanny ability to find cover in extremely tricky early morning conditions. Other standout performances, including Mikey Bruneau upsetting Damien Hobgood, Roy Powers unplugging Taylor Knox’s power, Dave Wassell knocking out Danny Wills, but maybe most noteworthy was Danny Fuller defeating Mick Lowe. It wasn’t a necessarily hard-fought, tooth-and-nail battle, but for Lowe, it would be his last heat as a world tour surfer. Sporting shirts that read “Lowe’s Last Wave,” a massive Aussie contingent, including his young family, hoisted the “Keg With Legs” onto their shoulders and carried him up the beach. After a career that included wins at Snapper, Tavarua and Hossegor, it was a fitting way to ride off into the sunset.
Kai Otton made a good case for why he should be name Rookie of the Year. Tallying up a near-perfect 19.33 heat score, the highest of the event so far, Otton’s affinity for hollow left-handers shined bright.
And other than that, as long as you stacked your Fantasy Surfer team with wildcards, it was a good day at the Banzai Pipeline. Looks like there’s a bit of swell still on tap for tomorrow, so Round Three may be underway in the morning. And past that, the forecast is looking bleak for until the final day of the contest.
Round 2 Results:
Heat 1: Mikey Bruneau (HAW) 9.90 def. Damien Hobgood (USA) 8.93
Heat 2: Jamie O’Brien (HAW) 16.66 def. Kalani Chapman (HAW) 9.27
Heat 3: Roy Powers (HAW) 12.17 def. Taylor Knox (USA) 11.50
Heat 4: Gavin Gillette (HAW) 10.30 def. Sunny Garcia (HAW) 7.77
Heat 5: Kai Otton (AUS) def. 19.33 Manoa Drollet (TAH) 8.00
Heat 6: Flynn Novak (HAW) 15.60 def. Tiago Pires (PRT) 13.07
Heat 7: Michael Campbell (AUS) 15.00 def. Kainoa McGee (HAW) 6.23
Heat 8: Danny Fuller (HAW) 14.84 def. Michael Lowe (AUS) 4.46
Heat 9: David Wassell (HAW) 10.50 def. Daniel Wills (AUS) 5.16
Heat 10: Gavin Beschen (USA) 16.67 def. Luke Munro (AUS) 3.00
Heat 11: Ian Walsh (HAW) 8.40 def. Leonardo Neves (BRA) 5.93
Heat 12: Mikala Jones (HAW) 16.00 def. Shaun Cansdell (AUS) 12.60
Heat 13: Rodrigo Dornelles (BRA) 10.46 def. Tory Baron (HAW) 4.56
Heat 14: Chris Ward (USA) 18.07 def. Shane Dorian (HAW) 16.00
Heat 15: Myles Padaca (HAW) 8.06 def. Ricky Basnett (ZAF) 4.16
Heat 16: Makua Rothman (HAW) 6.33 def. Royden Bryson (ZAF) 3.90