Two years after winning it for the first time — two long, trophy-less years after last winning a contest — Kelly Slater, on the eve of his 44th birthday, beat Jamie O’Brien, Bruce Irons and Makai McNamara in the final to scoop the Volcom Pipe Pro. It was the second consecutive day of A-grade Pipeline — the conditions a little slower, maybe a little trickier, but the good ones every bit as good and probably better — in a contest that encapsulated all that is great and beautiful in this ignominious pro-surfing clusterfuck.
John John and Jack, having hitherto looked almost infallible, lost in the quarters, each falling on a ridiculously late take-off in the last minute looking for a score. Jamie O’Brien got a 10 that was out of this world, shot out after the spit at a zillion miles an hour after the biggest grab-rail pump you’ve ever seen. Makia McNamara got an interference after dropping in on Dusty P in the semis, but then he got a ten too — practically the only score that would have sufficed — when he swung on one of the day’s gnarliest waves and lock-armed the drop of the event. Commentator Dave Riddle kept saying things like, “Oh, that should be a fun score.” (What in fuck’s name’s a fun score?) Joan Duru, on an uneven playing field, was the only goofyfoot to reach the semis, packing heaving tube after heaving tube and dominating the Pipe end section. Bruce Irons stroked into a Backdoor bomb in the last minute of near enough every heat on his way to the final. And Kelly Slater, surfing well but without doing anything particularly incredible, emerged victorious.
It was fooking epic.