A female longboarder from Florida, who can get stoked on knee high surf and delights over stomach high mushy waves, might surprise you when she admits to being a passionate fan of professional surfing (where the Men’s shortboard tour gets most of the attention), but here I am. I watch the entire WCT tour from Snapper to Pipeline, cheering for my favorites and cursing judges who don’t agree with me. Even a dedicated fan will admit that some waves are certainly more breathtaking than others and only breaks like Cloudbreak or Teahupoo could rival Pipeline in magnificence, which makes the Volcom Pipe Pro, though not a WCT contest, one of my favorite contest to watch online.
The waiting period for the Pipe Pro starts today and runs through February 8th. The contest begins with 112 “Warriors”, fighting it out for the $100k purse, 3,000 QS points to start the year and a spot in the Pipe Invitational(trials for the Pipe Masters). Hawaiians not on tour and wanting to compete at Pipeline during the Triple Crown, must finish in the Top 16 of this event.
The contest roster boasts almost five dozen Hawaiian surfers, including WCT stand out John John Florence and 2015 tour rookie Keanu Asing. Other well known names include former World Champ Sunny Garcia, 2003 Pipeline Pro champ Jamie O’Brien and 2015 Da Hui Backdoor Shootout winner Mason Ho.
Florida has it’s own notable representation for the contest with 2014 Pipe Pro Champ (and 11 x World Champ, 8 x Pipe Master Champ, King of Surfing, etc.) Kelly Slater returning alongside C.J. and Damien Hobgood and Evan Geiselman.
Hawaiian time is five hours behind us on the East Coast, with the event kicking off live at 7:30 a.m. HST, 12:30 EST.