As we mentioned in our Guide to Winter on the North Shore, Vans took complete ownership of the Pipe Masters this year and reimagined the entire event. The event ran as a specialty World Tour event, meaning even though World Tour Surfers participated in the Pipe Masters, the contests does not affect the CT rankings. The event also featured a new competitive format that gave equal representation to local Hawaiian surfers and WSL competitors alike. Perhaps the most monumental change was the addition of a women’s side of the competition. Additionally, Vans changed the judging criteria to reward progressive aerial and high-performance end-section maneuvers. The changes resulted in three exciting days of competition where Hawaiian surfers shined, underdogs kept everyone on their toes, and some of the best tubes in women’s surfing history were made. Continue reading below for The JOB Surf Experience Vans Pipe Masters Recap.
Vans Pipe Masters Day 1 Highlights
Day 1 of the contest kicked off in tricky conditions but cleaned up and saw plenty of swell that brought out stellar performances. Mason Ho and Ivan Florence faced off in an epic display of Hawaiian tube riding mastery. Mikey February threaded the longest tube of the day with stylish grace. Balaram Stack bagged the wave of the day with a critical drop and deep tube ride that put him atop the leaderboard at the end of competition on Day 1.
Vans Pipe Masters Day 2 Highlights
Day 2 of competition brought the women into play for the opening rounds of the women’s event while the men wrapped the second round of surfing in stellar waves. Billy Kemper packed an epic backside tube ride on the men’s side of the contest, while Carissa Moore knifed a late drop to pull together perhaps the best backdoor barrel by a woman ever. Rising star Katie Simmers also turned heads on the women’s side with confident tube riding well beyond her years. Moana Jones Wong took a beating on a wave of the day attempt, and our very own Jamie O’Brien paddled out for his heat on his signature soft top to pack more than a few tubes. Hawaii’s Kaulana Apo showcased the power of local knowledge and put on a tube riding masterclass. As the second day of competition wrapped up, the stage was set for the final, with Kaulana Apo, Griffin Colapinto, Balaram Stack, and Joao Chianca advancing.
Vans Pipe Masters Day 3 Highlights
Finals day began with clean, fun-sized waves. The women started the day with round two of their event. Molly Pickman came out swinging with a sneaky Backdoor running that moved her to fourth place, knocking off the Queen of Pipeline, Moana Jones Wong. Carrissa Moore, Bettylou Sakura Johnson, and Caity Simmers all advanced as well. On the men’s side, Griffin Colapinto kicked things off with a few powerful turns while Kaulana Apo locked in a stylish Backdoor barrel. Joao Chianca attempted to take to the air for a big score and broke his board in the process. Towards the end of the heat, Colapinto had the lead, and then Balaram took over racking up a 19.3 before rubbing salt in his fellow competitors’ wounds with another Backdoor bomb that gave him a final score of 23.0. Balaram led the rankings for almost the entire event, proving himself to be a deserving Pipe Master.
The women’s final kicked off with exciting waves by Molly Picklum, Bettylou, and Caity Simmers at Backdoor. After the first few waves, Carrisa Moore sat on top of the leaderboard for some time until it began to shift rapidly as the heat continued. Heavy rains added another layer of difficulty to the heat, but Molly Picklum prevailed as she found the highest score of the final on an impressive backside tube. An inference call against Carissa allowed Bettylou to step up into second place, while Molly went on to secure the top prize.
Winter on the North Shore is just getting started. Check out our Guide to Winter on the North Shore to find out what’s happening on the island during your time on the North Shore. Book your stay at the Turtle Bay Resort to stay close to the action on the Seven Mile Miracle.