It’s been a whirlwind of a winter on the North Shore. Since the season began, we’ve had an unprecedented run of swell that led to a legendary Da Hui Backdoor Shootout, the Eddie Running in historic conditions, an exciting Vans Triple Crown, and finally, the Billabong Pipe Pro. Thanks to the new WSL structure, which sees the season wrap at Lowers in California instead of Hawaii, the Billabong Pipe Pro is the first event of the year. With a highly competitive men’s and women’s side vying for early points in the year, the contest did not disappoint. This year’s event wrapped up just days ago. If you didn’t tune into the event live or want to relive the action that was the 2023 Billabong Pipe Pro, continue reading below.
Memorable Moment’s from the 2023 Billabong Pipe Pro
For many top surfers, the event did not go as expected. Italo Ferreira and Ethan Ewing were both eliminated early at the hands of CT rookies. While second-year surfer Joao Chianca flew past defending champ Felipe Toledo in a decisive victory. Leo Fioravanti, Jordy Smith, and Caio Ibelli all put on stellar performances worth mentioning. On the women’s side, defending World Champ Steph Gilmore was knocked out early by tour rookie and teenager Caitlin Simmers. Tyler Wright burned through competition on her way to the finals with high heat totals and hard-to-deny power surfing. Also on her way to the finals, Carrissa Moore took out Bettylou Sakura Johnson, who Moore has mentored since childhood. Bettylou surfed admirably throughout the event but could not take out Moore.
John John’s Near-Perfect Heat
John John’s now infamous 10 that never was has everyone in the surf world offering their opinions. The wave occurred during John John’s round of 16 heat against Miguel Pupo. John John took off on a Backdoor bomb. The heavy-lipped wave looked unmakeable to those on the beach, including the WSL cameraman who missed the miraculous exit. The announcers even wrote off the wave as a closeout before Florence appeared gliding high on the wave’s face for a clean exit at the last second. Somehow, even though the announcers and cameraman believed the wave impossible to make, the tube ride only earned Florence a 9.93. Later in the heat, John John packed another Backdoor bomb and complimented his tube ride with an air reverse to earn a 9.4. While it is early in the season, John John’s round of 16 Pipe Pro victory, which earned him a 19.33, will likely go down as one of the highest-scored heats of the year.
A Champ is Crowned
The event finals saw Italy’s Leo Fioravanti vs. Australia’s Jack Robinson on the men’s side and Hawaii’s Carissa Moore vs. Australia’s Tyler Wright on the women’s side. Carrissa Moore & Tyler Wright have met in 11 event finals, a matchup that is undeniably the best rivalry in women’s surfing. Moore was finally able to take home a victory at Pipe after a back-and-forth heat with Wright. Against Wright, Moore proved that patience is rewarded with her stellar wave selection which ultimately led her to victory.
The men’s final went down to the final moments. With dropping swell and worsening conditions, the heat became just as much about wave selection and wave count as it did skilled rides. Jack Robinson proved to be too much to handle for Fioravanti despite the Italian’s strong performance. This event win marks the quickest ascent to four event wins by any CT surfer, with Jack Robinson winning 4 of his total of 24 CT events.
If you missed this year’s Billabong Pipe Pro, there’s still plenty of winter surfing action to catch on the North Shore. Book your stay at Turtle Bay Resort to stay in the heart of Oahu’s North Shore. If you feel like braving the Hawaiian surf yourself, our professional surf instructors will teach you to surf in the calm waters of Turtle Bay at our North Shore Surf School.