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News provided by ASP World Tour on 16 December 2005

The Banzai Pipeline, on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii, stole the show today as it turned on deep tube ride after deep tube ride for the competitors in rounds two and three of the Rip Curl Pro Pipeline Masters.

In what many have described as being one of the best days ever seen for the event, Pipe consistently pumped at around two to three metres (six to 10 feet) all day despite the wind slightly affecting the wave faces later in the afternoon.

Surfers revelled in the conditions with five-time event winner and newly crowned Foster’s ASP Men’s World Tour champion Kelly Slater (USA) scoring the highest total heat score of 18.67 out of 20 in heat four of round three, with the soon-to-be-retired Luke Egan (AUS) scoring a 17.73 in round two and defending event champion Jamie O’Brien (HAW) staying on their heels with a combined score of 17.04.

Overcoming a chest illness he’d been suffering during the past week, Slater was back to his best pulling into what one commentator called “possibly the roundest 10 foot keg seen at Pipe.” On that particular wave, Slater stood tall behind the curtain as the masses hooted long and loud. When he magically appeared before the wave slammed down on the reef it didn’t take the judges long to award him a 10.

Slater attributed his win to all the hours he has put in over the years surfing at the famed break.

“All those years of surfing here all day long paid off in that heat,” said Slater. “I could see where the waves were going to pop up and I could see where the wedge was going and whether it was going to pit on the reef or on the sandbar.

“When I got that 10 I had a clean line and I took off pretty deep. It broke on the second reef and I got a little bit of a ramp in and then had to pump to get speed. It almost threw me off and I was kinda partying in there. Then it let me out.”

Slater who had had a run of second places earlier in the event felt like he was now starting to wind up.

“I finally got myself in synch in that heat,” said Slater. “I don’t mind getting a couple of seconds early in the event but as it goes on you want to have some bigger and better performances and not mess around. Hopefully I didn’t use up all my good fortune and I’ll have a few more good heats.”

Egan, who is set to retire from competition after this event turned back the clock and looked more like a crazed grommet as opposed to a veteran as he launched himself into tube ride after tube ride in both his round two and three heats.

Egan claimed his motivation to charge into each and every wave was coming not only from him wanting a win to cap off his amazing two decades-plus career but more from the fact that it will be his last opportunity to surf one of his favourite waves with only four guys out.

"It’s so good to see a big swell come up out of the west for this place," said Egan beaming after his round two heat. "I don’t do too well at Pipe until it starts looking like this today and I’m just glad that at this tender age of 36 I’ve still got a bit of form in me. This is my kind of spot and this is the last event I’ll ever surf and... well actually it’s the last time I’ll ever surf out here with only three other guys, and that’s the main thing that’s driving me on.”

Egan went on to finish behind Andy Irons (HAW) in round three.

O’Brien meanwhile really threw down the challenge to the big guns of the tour when he blasted through to win in front of Mick Fanning (AUS), Tim Reyes (USA) and Fred Patacchia (HAW).

O’Brien’s local knowledge really came to the fore today as he dropped into a true three metre (10 foot) Pipeline beast with his back facing the wave. He then grabbed his rail and hung on under a huge lip of water as it crashed around him. The wave then sensationally “spat” or “blew out” a fine mist of water behind him as he emerged into the channel.

Up to that point O’Brien was sitting in third in the heat and was looking like he was going to be beaten. After the wave he was raring to go, and wasn’t showing any signs that any pressure he is feeling to maintain his trophy is getting to him.

“I was kinda deep and I saw it doubling up,” said O’Brien about his excellent wave. “I got as much speed as I could and just sat in there. It started to spit so hard and I was telling myself ‘you’ve gotta make it’. I was really stoked after it and really fired up. I’m just taking it heat by heat at the moment. There’s a little bit of pressure, but there are a lot more worse things going on in the world other than hanging out at Pipeline surfing the best waves in the world.”

Tomorrow’s forecast indicates that Pipeline will again be pumping. The swell is expected to hold out and like today the surface will be oil smooth until a light onshore breeze blows up around lunch time.

With that in mind we can expect a monumental finish to the Rip Curl Pro Pipeline Masters and the Foster’s ASP Men’s World Tour.

The Rip Curl Pro Pipeline Masters is the third and final event on the Vans Triple Crown Of Surfing and the Foster's ASP Men's World Tour.

Results Round Three:
Heat 1:
1. Jamie O’Brien (HAW) 17.04; 2. Mick Fanning (AUS) 16.50; 3. Tim Reyes (USA) 13.84; 4. Fred Patacchia (HAW) 8.83
Heat 2:
1. Damien Hobgood (USA) 15.00; 2. Lee Winkler (AUS) 7.90; 3. Victor Ribas (BRA) 4.17; Bruno Santos (BRA) 1.43
Heat 3:
1. Cory Lopez (USA) 14.16; 2. Trent Munro (AUS) 5.34; 3. Luke Stedman (AUS) 4.07; 4. Greg Emslie (ZAF) 2.07
Heat 4:
1. Kelly Slater (USA) 18.67; 2. Kalani Chapman (HAW) 8.56; 3. Tom Whitaker (AUS) 2.40; 4. Danny Wills (AUS) 1.27
Heat 5:
1. Andy Irons (HAW) 11.00; 2. Luke Egan (AUS) 9.50; 3. Paulo Moura (BRA) 5.83; 4. Makua Rothman (HAW) 4.23
Heat 6:
1. Nathan Hedge (AUS) 13.00; 2. Tim Curren (USA) 9.16; 3. Jake Paterson (AUS) 8.76; 4. Kalani Robb (HAW) 6.14
Heat 7:
1. Mark Occhilupo (AUS) 9.67; 2. Pancho Sullivan (HAW) 9.27; 3. Dean Morrison (AUS) 9.17; 4. Phil MacDonald (AUS) 5.17
Heat 8:
1. Bruce Irons (HAW) 15.84; 2. Sunny Garcia (HAW) 8.24; 3. Shane Beschen (USA) 5.00; 4. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 4.74

Stay tuned to the live webcast on and The full heat draw for the quarter finals is also available on the live site.


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