You know if the entire What Youth HQ drops what they’re doing to put the finals a surf contest on the screen and everyone fills up a couple pints to enjoy the show, then something is going right in a jersey.
The Volcom Pipe Pro represented how a contest should be to us — and this goes beyond the fact that that the waves were fucking incredible. It was in large part due to the fact that the draw was filled with characters: free surfers, no names from Uruguay, legends, young guys, old guys, Hawaii guys like Ola Eleogram and Billy Kemper, Kelly Slater guys and John John guys. The coverage was insane: every angle accounted for, but in a raw way only Volcom can do, streaming live from the Gerry Lopez house. It wasn’t watered down or over explained in some cheesy Samsung squeaky clean way, assuming we’ve never seen a “tube” before. And sure, Joe Turpel of WSL was on the mic too, but Joe is getting damn good at this, and he was joined by guys like Dave Wassel, Sal Masekela, Vaughn Blakey and a host of other personalities who brought unique, on point and entertaining insight to the booth. The post-heat interviews, thanks to Mason and even some sentimental moments from Bruce and crew, were very honest and real, which was nice to see. Even the funky animations by Drew Toonz were perfectly timed and comically on point and not over done.
And yeah, Kelly won his first contest in 2 years at age 44 at maxing Pipe against the world’s best and that’s a headline in itself, but we also had Bruce Irons (who won the Todd Chesser Hard Charger award) in the final, and making heats in perfect harmony with Pipe. We had Makai McNamara (Liam’s son), Jamie O’Brien all in the final, and then guys like Chris Ward, Mason Ho and John John all there until the final few heats.
All in all, it was just a joy and a pleasure and I must give it up for Volcom for the presentation and reminding us that not all is lost in the shiny corporate Mickey Mouse Club that the WSL has turned the elite contests into. —Travis
Final Results of the Volcom Pipe Pro:
1st: Kelly Slater (USA) $16,000 and 3000 its
2nd: Jamie O’Brien (HAW) $10,000 and 2250 its
3rd: Makai McNamara (HAW) $4,750 and 1680 its
4th: Bruce Irons (HAW) $4,250 and 1580 pts
Todd Chesser Hard Charger Award: Bruce Irons