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Rip Curl Pipeline Masters Off to a Stunning Start

News provided by ASP World Tour on 12 December 2005

The Banzai Pipeline, Hawaii turned on with some solid two-metre (five to six foot) barrels to play host to round one of the Rip Curl Pro Pipeline Masters.

It was a day of mixed fortune as the handful of locals and Foster’s ASP Men’s World Tourers battled with the challenging and changing conditions with former event champions Bruce and Andy Irons (HAW) and Jamie O’Brien (HAW) claiming wins while seven times world champion Kelly Slater was soundly defeated by Danny Wills (AUS).

O’Brien, who literally lives in front of the famed Pipe wave, used his local knowledge to great effect when he snagged a wave in the last 20 seconds to come from behind to win against CJ Hobgood (USA) and Travis Logie (ZAF). He looked at ease on the wave as he sat underneath the lip and was elated to ride the wave to victory.

"I was really happy to get that wave at the end," said O’Brien. "I knew the other guys were too far inside and that I only need a small score to get through. So I just took off and luckily I got that barrel."

O’Brien, who won the event 12 months ago, paid respects to the wave and the event’s past champions as he knows only too well that the wave can give, but it can very quickly take away.

"I really was only a Pipe Master on that day," he said. "There are so many great surfers out there that there is a Pipe Master every time this place pumps. I was just lucky at that time."

Creating a huge stir in his upset of Slater, Wills was happy to be competing against his favourite surfer and as expected, was rapt to get a win over him. Slater had not been defeated in round one of an event so far this year.

"I was just glad to get some good waves out there. It’s harder conditions today compared to yesterday, so I’m happy," said Wills. "I like to get a good start quickly because I then get into a good rhythm. I felt really relaxed after I got a good wave at the start. Any time you get to beat Kelly is always good. It’s never intimidating coming up against him, it’s more exciting. He’s such a good competitor and a great surfer so any chance to compete against him is always good."

Both members of the brothers Irons team were solid in their respective heat victories with both standing solid on the left hand waves at Pipe and the rights which form at Backdoor Pipe.

With the title race having now been decided, Andy looked relaxed but stated he was eager to finish his 2005 campaign with a win.

"With the race already over I don’t really care about how Kelly goes now," laughed Irons. "It was just good to have a win out of the three man heat as the waves were really hard today and getting one wave was really important. Pipe is probably the heaviest wave in the world so to win here means you get a lot of respect from other surfers. To win here again would be a dream come true."

Bruce Irons, who last year was fighting for his Foster’s ASP Men’s World Tour life, was much less stressed this time around and he really looked at home.

"The waves were tough out there and it was good to get through that first round," said Irons. "I’m a lot less stressed this year. I’m just keen to get some good waves and hopefully make the final."

Going to press tour rookie Tim Reyes (USA) notched up a perfect 10 in the last heat of the day. With the giant score he left his more seasoned rivals, Luke Egan (AUS) and Sunny Garcia (HAW), needing combination scores (two good scoring rides) to catch him.

The young Californian was obviously extremely pleased with his performance in his first ever Rip Curl Pro Pipeline Masters. The perfect 10 was also his first ever.

"It’s funny, I was just talking the other day how I’d never had a perfect 10 so to get that one today and in my first Pipe Masters I was really super stoked," said Reyes. "It was even better to get the score against those guys [Luke and Sunny] because they are so good out here and have so much experience."

The Rip Curl Pro Pipeline Masters is the final of the 2005 season and is also the last on the Vans Triple Crown Of Surfing where the most consistent over the Hawaiian pro surfing tri-series of events is rewarded. At present the frontrunner include Pancho Sullivan (HAW) and Jake Paterson (AUS). With no eliminations from the event today both are still well and truly in the race for the prestigious prize.

With the swell direction swinging throughout the day and with a north-west swell predicted to become more prevalent overnight organizers will assess conditions at first light tomorrow morning and decide on the proceedings for the day.

Results Round One:

Heat 1:
1. Cory Lopez (USA) 13.50; 2. Shane Beschen (USA) 8.33; 3. Darren O’Rafferty (AUS) 6.00
Heat 2:
1. Trent Munro (AUS) 14.33; 2. Shea Lopez (USA) 5.90; 3. Troy Brooks (AUS) 5.47
Heat 3:
1. Nathan Hedge (AUS) 11.33; 2. Renan Rocha (BRA) 4.24; 3. Taylor Knox (USA) 3.14
Heat 4:
1. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 13.50; 2. Richard Lovett (AUS) 7.60; 3. Bernado Pigmeu (BRA) 5.74
Heat 5:
1. Jamie O’Brien (HAW) 11.17; 2. CJ Hobgood (USA) 11.00; 3. Travis Logie (ZAF) 4.50
Heat 6:
1. Bruno Santos (BRA) 13.67; 2. Mark Occhilupo (AUS) 9.77; 3. Mick Fanning (AUS) 8.44
Heat 7:
1. Damien Hobgood (USA) 17.33; 2. Pancho Sullivan (HAW) 14.10; 3. Peterson Rosa (BRA) 1.83
Heat 8:
1. Danny Wills (AUS) 12.56; 2. Kelly Slater (USA) 11.17; 3. Kalani Chapman (HAW) 6.84
Heat 9:
1. Andy Irons (HAW) 11.84; 2. Tom Whitaker (AUS) 6.16; 3. Makua Rothman (HAW) 2.83
Heat 10:
1. Paulo Moura (BRA) 11.10; 2. Dustin Barca (HAW) 9.63; 3. Phil MacDonald (AUS) 9.43
Heat 11:
1. Jake Paterson (AUS) 15.17; 2. Kirk Flintoff (AUS) 11.74; 3. Marcelo Nunes (BRA)
Heat 12:
1. Bruce Irons (HAW) 15.30; 2. Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 10.67; Tim Curran (USA) 8.50
Heat 13:
1. Fred Patacchia (HAW) 14.67; 2. Bede Durbidge (AUS) 9.10; 3. Greg Emslie (ZAF) 6.44
Heat 14:
1. Victor Ribas (BRA) 14.66; 2. Mick Lowe (AUS) 13.50; 3. Luke Stedman (AUS) 7.27
Heat 15:
1. Lee Winkler (AUS) 17.00; 2. Kalani Robb (HAW) 15.83; 3. Dean Morrison (AUS) 13.90
Heat 16:
1. Tim Reyes (USA) 17.17; 2. Luke Egan (AUS) 9.17; 3. Sunny Garcia (HAW) 3.90


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