The last World Championship Tour event of the season, The Pipeline Masters concluded last Friday in Hawaii. It wasn’t the best Pipeline I’ve seen for a Masters but it wasn’t the worst either, a solid 6 feet with the occasional 8 footer, fanned by a strong cross-off shore N-E trade wind. It wasn’t mean and ugly, more like – mean and occasional really good!
It had all the usual trademark excitement – big crowds, big wipeouts, some great tube rides and a showdown between two of surfing’s finest – Kelly Slater and Joel Parkinson. For me, watching Joel make his heats almost felt like watching a classic Andy Irons progression. Sharp, procession surfing, a level above the rest of the pack. Except of course for Slater who looked his usual, 'ridiculously amazing' self.
Fortunately for us Aussies, Joel prevailed. It looked like it was all coming down to the ultimate, a Slater/Parko final but Josh Kerr stopped Kelly in the 2nd semi and Parko surfed and won the final as the new world champ. It was a fairy tale ending for the tall, lanky, Gold Coast natural footer after previously coming 2nd in four world title challengers.
The swell has backed off once again since the completion of the contest but it has still been over head at some spots and packing plenty of grunt!
Most of the traveling pro’s have packed up their huge, coffin size board bags and bolted for the airport. Things are starting to feel a little more mellow, the lineup is looking a little less crowded and the queue at Starbucks isn’t lining up out the door anymore.
I have one more report to go from the Islands next Friday and then it’s back to Bondi and reality. In the mean time, I will try and squeeze the trigger on a few more images for you in between surfs.
See you then.