The 2012 Volcom Pipe Pro Gets Underway

The Banzai Pipeline caught everyone off guard on day one of competition as waves doubled and tripled in size from one heat to the next. After the completion of only seven heats, competition organizers called the event off for the day due to dangerous conditions. Just under three hours of competition was a sufficient amount of time for injuries, wipeouts and hairball rides to be registered. Waves maxed out in the 15 to 20-foot range.

Above: Dave Wassel (HAW). Big wave charger, lifeguard, and supporter of the event. Photo: Bielmann.

Kauai’s Stephen Koehne, the top-scorer of the day, ended up with a gruesome gash to the knee that could well see him out of the water for weeks. Regular Pipeline chargers Mark Healey and Tom Dosland took the wipeout beatings of the day, and Pipe specialist Dave Wassel was the overall standout.

“I pulled into the barrel and next thing I knew I just got shot in the knee by my board,” said Koehne. Resident Doctor Leiland Dao said it was a serious injury that required 20 stitches or more to three layers: muscle, fascia and skin.

“I was in his heat but I didn’t see it happen,” said Wassel. “But I saw his leg afterwards. It doesn’t look like he’ll be walking for a few weeks, let alone surfing. The hole is huge. Lucky it was his leg and not his head.

“It’s huge surf and it’s non-stop. It’s too much surf for Pipeline now and it’s supposed to pick up for the next four hours. We were expecting about an 8-foot swell – it’s double that and still increasing which makes me wonder how big the swell on Monday is going to be. Good call to call it off. Safety is our number one concern.”

Although the contest was called off early on day one, in the short time that it did run, some insane surfing went down on some monster waves. Check the highlights below.

The second day of competition then kicked off yesterday morning in classic 6-8 foot Pipeline with offshore trade winds to make for some spectacular surfing and a full day of competition.

California’s Chris Ward stole the show in heat 10 of the round of 96, making two deep Backdoor barrels for the highest combined heat score of 19.00 out of a perfect 20. Ward had the three other competitors combo’d and then managed to pull into a long left-hander at Pipe and ended the heat throwing away his third 9.0 ride.

Above: Chris Ward (CA). Pulling into one of his three nine-point rides in his round of 96 heat. Photo: Carey.

The highest single wave of the day belonged to Costa Rica’s Carlos Munoz, scoring the only perfect 10 of the event so far. He earned himself an extra $1,000 bonus in cash from Electric’s “Perfect 10 Award”. Other standout rides included Koa Smith (Kauai) with a 9.73, Gabriel Villaran (Peru) with a 9.0, and Koa Rothman (Oahu) with a 8.93.

The east coast competitors put on a great showing today as well, with Nils Schweizer, and Balaram Stack both winning their heats in the round of 96 and Brett Barley advancing to the round of 96 even after getting an interference. Other notable performances were Australian brothers Anthony and Stephen Walsh surfing in the same heat together and both advancing through to the round of 64.

There were some local Pipeline heavy hitters that unfortunately did not make their heats: Dave Wassel, Makua Rothman, Sunny Garcia, Kawai Lindo and Danny Fuller all fell just short of advancing to the next round., the official forecaster of the 2012 Volcom Pipe Pro is predicting the surf will be massive on Monday and Tuesday, so make sure you check back at 7:30 am tomorrow for the official call.


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