Photo: Joel Parkinson emerged from two deep barrels to earn a perfect 20 out of 20 heat total today. He is now the front-runner in the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing ratings.
Joel Parkinson (AUS) surfed a perfect heat to etch his name in the history books at the Billabong Pipeline Masters today. The current World No. 4 scored two perfect 10s to become the only surfer to earn a perfect 20 out of 20 heat total at Pipeline. Parkinson eliminated Vans Triple Crown front-runner Dusty Payne (HAW) in the process.
“I never thought I would get two perfect 10s,” Parkinson said. “It’s not something you hear about every day, so I’d never really thought about doing it. I definitely claimed it like I had won an event for a second, but then I had to settle down and tell myself, ‘All you did was make a heat!’ The next heat I paddle out for, I’ll have to remember that.”
Nine-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) is the only other surfer to score a perfect 20 out of 20. He did so in a 2005 final at Teahupoo, Tahiti to win the contest.
“Kelly did it in unreal fashion, mine was a just in a third round heat, but it’s at Pipe and it’s definitely something that when I grow old, I’ll think, ‘I did something in my career; my name’s next to Kelly’s on that one,’” Parkinson said.
Parkinson finished fifth in Halewia and Sunset – the first two legs of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing – and with Nos. 1 and 2 Payne and C.J. Hobgood (USA) losing today, has a good chance to take it out.
“That was a big heat for the Triple Crown for sure,” Parkinson said. “I have to start thinking more about the Triple Crown now. I have to forget about those 10s and start surfing heats from now on and not get too ahead of myself.”
Slater surfed his first heat since clinching ASP World Title No. 9 today and was not surprised by Parkinson’s performance earlier in the day.
“I’d expect Parko to be the guy to do that.” Slater said. “He is such a magnet and not every guy can get in sync like Parko does; he gets on a roll and it gets scary. He will probably go on to win the Triple Crown judging from the heat he had today.”
Slater has won the Pipeline Masters a record five times, but is taking a very laid back approach to the event in 2008. He has already won five events of the nine he has competed in this season.
“A win at Pipe would be great, but to be honest with you, it doesn’t really matter at this point,” Slater said. “Not that Pipe doesn’t matter, but I’m just enjoying not having the constant contest stress. If I win it is definitely a huge bonus, but in a way, I’d like to see somebody else win – someone who hasn’t won it before. I’ve got a couple, Andy’s got a couple, Bede won one last year. Maybe it’s Parko’s year or maybe Brucey will pull off another win here to finish his year off.”
Bruce Irons (HAW) won’t win the Pipeline Masters this year. He lost a very close heat to Tom Whitaker (AUS) this afternoon. Irons has requalified for the 2009 ASP World Tour, but has unofficially said he will retire from full-time competition.
Defending Pipeline Masters and Vans Triple Crown Champion Bede Durbidge (AUS) is into Round 4 after eliminating wildcard Shane Dorian (HAW) today. The heat was Durbidge’s first of the event having been seeded directly into Round 3.
“To beat Shane was a feat in itself so it’s great to start off with a hard heat and get through that,” Durbidge said. “Hopefully I can get the momentum going and just keep going.”
World No. 3 Taj Burrow (AUS) lost today which assures Durbidge a career-best World No. 2 rating behind Slater. Interestingly, if Parkinson wins the event and Durbidge loses in the next round, they would both finish the year with 6780 points.
“I looked at the ratings today and I think Taj was the only one who could beat me,” Durbidge said. “If Joel wins then we’re tied so hopefully I can just keep going and I won’t have to worry about it. It would be good to win the Triple Crown again as well.”
Adrian Buchan (AUS) was another surfer who had a red-hot heat today. Buchan negotiated a tight battle to beat Danny Wills (AUS) 18.26 to 17.94. Wills has unofficially retired from ASP World Tour competition making the heat his last as a full-time member of the Top 45. Wills competed for 12 years and finished World No. 3 in 1998.
Despite losing to Shane Dorian (HAW) in Round 2, Dane Reynolds (USA) will round out the year the highest rated rookie in 2008, making him a likely candidate for ASP World Tour Rookie of the Year. Reynolds had to sit out two events this year because of sickness and injury, but will still finish in the top half of the ratings.
“It was kind of anticlimactic year there at the end which was kind of a bummer, but overall it was a lot of fun,” Reynolds said. “It’s been good, and being out of the last event injured, I had a chance to reflect and get excited about next year. I’m pretty pumped.”
Reynolds came into the year part of a highly publicized duo alongside Jordy Smith (ZAF) and there was a lot of speculation about who would end up rookie of the year.
“People were hitting me up about that all year and I was like, ‘C’mon, cool it,’” Reynolds said. “But if I do get it, it would be really cool, you only get one chance at that.”
ASP World Tour surfers not making the cut for the 2009 tour after losing today include Wills, Dean Morrison (AUS), who lost to four-time Pipeline Champion Andy Irons (HAW) in the last heat of the day, Pancho Sullivan (HAW) and Ben Dunn (AUS).
Sullivan, like Wills has said that he will not try to requalify next year and is retiring from full-time competition. Sullivan surfed on tour for three years; qualifying in 2005 at age 32 and becoming the oldest rookie in ASP history. Morrison will apply for a wildcard due to injuries which forced him competing much of the year – he has a strong case.
Only one more day of competition is needed to wrap up the event and organizers predict that bad weather will hinder running tomorrow but that Friday could see better conditions and swell. An official call will be made tomorrow at 7am.
Billabong Pipeline Masters Round 2 Results:
Heat 9: Kieren Perrow (AUS) 17.50 def. John John Florence (HAW) 14.83
Heat 10: Aritz Aranburu (EUK) 16.24 def. Pancho Sullivan (HAW) 15.84
Heat 11: Tim Reyes (USA) 8.60 def. Mark Healey (HAW) 3.94
Heat 12: Marcus Hickman (HAW) 11.83 def. Ben Dunn (AUS) 9.80
Heat 13: Bruce Irons (HAW) 17.54 def. Torrey Meister (HAW) 13.37
Heat 14: Kekoa Bacalso (HAW) 15.10 def. Makuakai Rothman (HAW) 12.67
Heat 15: Shane Dorian (HAW) 13.00 def. Dane Reynolds (USA) 9.43
Heat 16: Dean Morrison (AUS) def. Jesse Merle-Jones (HAW)
Billabong Pipeline Masters Round 3 Results:
Heat 1: Marcus Hickman (HAW) 14.56 def. Mick Fanning (AUS) 13.83
Heat 2: Luke Stedman (AUS) 7.34 def. Damien Hobgood (USA) 5.50
Heat 3: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 20.00 def. Dusty Payne (USA) 15.16
Heat 4: Tim Reyes (USA) 14.83 def. Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 10.56
Heat 5: Kelly Slater (USA) 17.77 def. Ezra Sitt (HAW) 7.90
Heat 6: Kieren Perrow (AUS) 14.83 def. Taylor Knox (USA) 10.50
Heat 7: Aritz Aranburu (EUK) 11.50 def. Bobby Martinez (USA) 6.60
Heat 8: Jamie O’Brien (HAW) 16.50 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 9.86
Heat 9: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 18.26 def. Daniel Wills (AUS) 17.94
Heat 10: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 13.83 def. Kekoa Bacalso (HAW) 12.16
Heat 11: Tom Whitaker (AUS) 16.24 def. Bruce Irons (HAW) 16.10
Heat 12: Kamalei Alexander (HAW) 12.56 def. Taj Burrow (AUS) 9.00
Heat 13: Chris Ward (USA) 17.27 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 13.83
Heat 14: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 13.93 def. Shane Dorian (HAW) 12.63
Heat 15: Evan Valiere (HAW) 18.13 def. C.J. Hobgood (USA) 16.60
Heat 16: Andy Irons (HAW) 14.37 def. Dean Morrison (AUS) 13.17
Billabong Pipeline Masters Round 4 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Marcus Hickman (HAW) vs. Luke Stedman (AUS)
Heat 2: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Tim Reyes (USA)
Heat 3: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Kieren Perrow (AUS)
Heat 4: Aritz Aranburu (EUK) vs. Jamie O’Brien (HAW)
Heat 5: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Tom Whitaker (AUS)
Heat 6: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Kamalei Alexander (HAW)
Heat 7: Chris Ward (USA) vs. Bede Durbidge (AUS)
Heat 8: Evan Valiere (HAW) vs. Andy Irons (HAW)