Leo Fioravanti had to be stretchered off to hospital following a bad fall in his Round 3 heat yesterday at the Volcom Pipe Pro. The 17 year-old Italian, who has impressed during free-surfs out at Pipe this winter, was helped back to shore by the Hawaiian Water Patrol after he was driven into the reef. Early reports suggest he has suffered a cracked vertebra. He was taken to Queens Medical Center in Honolulu, where he underwent an MRI.
“It was a pretty heavy wipeout that Leo took,” said fellow Quiksilver rider Reef McIntosh, who is also the surfers’ rep at the event. “It looked bad when he was being stretchered in. He’s banged up, but we think he’s gonna be ok.”
“It definitely has a danger factor today,” said Hawaiian Ian Walsh, one of the other surfers in Leo’s heat. “It’s compressed onto the inside of the reef and there’s not that many good waves, so you do have to roll the dice on waves and create your own opportunity.
“It’s unfortunate that Leo got hurt”, he continued. “I was bummed when I saw him waving his arm (for help). You don’t want that to happen to anyone out here and it’s so quick to get hurt. Boom! You’re on the bottom and a lot of times you dont’ even know what happened.” Walsh caught a 9.5, one of the day’s best waves, on the way to securing a place in the fourth round.
Saturday otherwise saw an excellent day’s surfing at the Volcom Pipe Pro, as the remainder of Round 2 and the first seven heats of Round 3 were completed. Frenchmen Joan Duru and Paul Cesar were unfortunately eliminated, but the Basque Country barrel hound Aritz Aranburu advanced to the Round 4 after finishing 2nd in his Round 3 heat.
Conditions for today are looking good, and things looks set to start with a bang. The first heat in the water when competition resumes at 8am will feature both John John Florence and Bruce Irons — who won Friday’s 8-man wildcard heat — alongside Yago Dora and Seth Moniz. Last year’s winner Kelly Slater surfs in the following heat against Dale Staples, Parker Coffin and Kamalei Alexander.
Keep going for highlights from yesterday…