Photo: Tiago Pires (Ericeira, PRT) pulled out of the Billabong Pipeline Masters today due to injury and will now enjoy a break before getting back to work and start the 2009 ASP World Tour fully recovered.

After several exams and one MRI, Dream Tour rookie and current No. 30 Tiago Pires decided to pull out of the Billabong Pipeline Masters today before his Round 2 heat paddled out. Pires, who injured himself during a free surf at Backdoor more than a week ago, suffers from a pinched nerve at the back of his neck and was recommended not to surf at the infamous Banzai Pipeline with this weakness.

"It's not a big problem and I don't suffer a lot so there is no reason to panic about it," Pires said. "But it's the kind of things you don't want to play with, especially in such demanding conditions. The MRI did not reveal anything in particular but the doctors told me in the worse case scenario I could hurt my spine."

Pires, who is already guaranteed to surf on next year's ASP World Tour thanks to his No. 13 rank on the 2008 ASP World Qualifyng Series (WQS), waited as long as possible before pulling out.

"I wanted to surf in the event," Pires said. "I had this one thing at the back of my head about Marlon Lipke who finished No. 16 on the WQS and needed me to improve my World Tour rank so I could requalify directly which would have taken him in for next year. We are good friends and I wanted to help as much as I can. He sent me a very nice message so I know he's cool right now."

Tiago Pires, who will be one of a minimum five European surfers on next year's Dream Tour, will soon leave the North Shore for a well deserved break to recover and get ready for the 2009 ASP World Tour, after surfing both tours in 2008.