The Monster Energy Pro, presented by Billabong, resumed at Pipeline in Oahu, Hawaii today with round two, after a one week hiatus in competition due to extreme winds and intense storm activity. Hawaiians used local knowledge to gain the edge over an international field of hopefuls, making light of the tricky six- to eight-foot surf that was still showing the unpredictability of disorganized storm swells.
Ten of the 16 heats in round two were won by Hawaiians, including Haleiwa pair Kalani Brown and Reef McIntosh, who chalked up the highest single wave and heat scores respectively. Each enjoyed the best of the day’s conditions, competing early in the morning to partake in the biggest and smoothest barreling waves to come through.
At just 20 years of age and a relative newcomer to the international pro surfing scene, Brown’s top-scoring tube-ride – a near-perfect 9.5 out of a maximum 10 points, earned him the Makita Wave of the Day award – a $600 cordless Combo Kit of tools. McIntosh settled for the credibility that came with high scores of 8.75 and 8.25 for a 17-point total.
Sixteen-year-old Kiron Jabour of Haleiwa demonstrated composure beyond his years to advance through another round. The son of a former pro surfer from Brazil, he is the youngest competitor left in the event. At the other end of the spectrum is 42-year-old surfing father Derek Ho, who also advanced today and is every bit a threat with his unbeatable experience of 25 years surfing at the Pipeline.
“There actually weren’t a whole lot of waves to work with in my heat,” said Ho, who felt fortunate to advance in second place behind Tory Barron (Haleiwa). “It was really hit and miss out there and you had to be lucky to stumble into one. I can’t recall getting through too many heats at Pipeline with a score like that, but I can remember losing a lot with those kind of scores!”
Ho advanced with a two-wave total of just 5.5 points with his best wave a 4.0. Still, there were six surfers who advanced with even less – a testament to the elusiveness of the lineup.
Heat winners included Hawaii’s Kai Barger (Haiku); Haleiwa’s Barron, Rico Jiminez, Kalani Chapman, Danny Fuller, North Shore lifeguard David Wassell and Ezra Sitt; and Kilauea’s Shane Valiere. Other heat winner’s were US Mainland surfers Jesse Hines, Ricky Whitlock and Dane Ward, along with Joe Tanaka (Japan), Wiggolly Dantas (Brazil), and Mark Visser (Australia).
Competition came to an early halt at around 1:30pm after strengthening on-shore winds shut down all tube-riding potential. The Banzai Pipeline is a tube-riding wave, with little emphasis placed on other manoeuvres.
The Monster Energy Pro, presented by Billabong, now requires two full days of competition to wrap up. While there promises to be plenty of surf on tap, surfers and organizers will likely have to contend with challenging wind conditions for the remaining five days of the holding period, with morning conditions likely to be best. The final day of the holding period is Friday, February 9th.