Pipeline Pro offers opportunities


POSTED: Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Hawaiian Island Creations Pipeline Pro surf contest kicked off its two-week holding period today.

The barrel-riding event requires one day of competition and the top eight finishers will be invited to the Billabong Pipeline Masters in December.

The Pipe Masters is the third jewel of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing and the last event of the Association of Surfing Professionals World Championship Tour.

“;The Pipe Masters is like the Super Bowl for our sport,”; said Jason Shibata, 28, who will be competing in the HIC Pipeline Pro. “;This is the only way for a surfer not on the world tour to get into the Pipe Masters.”;

At the end of 2008, the Pipeline Pro was not scheduled to run at all because the presenting sponsor, Monster Energy Drinks, pulled out. For the past three years, the Pipeline Pro has served as trials for the Pipe Masters. This left pro surfers, surf industry insiders and contest officials wondering how to fill the wild-card spots for the upcoming Pipe Masters.

In all, there will be 16 trial spots open for the Pipeline Masters; eight will come from the HIC Pipeline Pro, six from a Surfer Peer Poll, one will be reserved for a Tahitian, and the final spot will go to a Triple Crown contender after the first two events of that series.

The top six vote-getters of the peer election were Reef McIntosh, Kamalei Alexander, Danny Fuller, Marcus Hickman, Kalani Chapman and Jamie O'Brien. These six surfers are regarded as Pipeline specialists by their fellow surfers and are automatically invited to the Billabong Pipeline Masters and will not compete at the Pipeline Pro.

The status of the event can be found on the Internet at asphawaii.org. or by calling the contest hotline at 596-7878.