Mike Jennings On: Maybe Not Such A Dumb Idea

5 Feb 2017 2 Share

Mike Jennings

Senior Writer

COASTALWATCH | MIKE JENNINGS

Here's An Idea, Change The Date Of Pipe Masters?

An Excerpt from This Week In Surfing

So the best event on the WSL calendar that isn’t on the Championship Tour finally got underway this morning after four days of lay days. The beginning of the comp has unfortunately followed a couple days of pumping Pipe, and a week after the all-time Da Hui Shootout which saw some of the best waves of the Hawaiian season.The Volcom Pipe Pro is in its eight year, and over its history has had just three winners, with Jamie O’Brien taking the first, Kelly Slater taking the last and 2014, while John John has claimed the other four, with nearly all of them being surfed in spectacular conditions. And it’s an interesting comp, not just in that it’s always entertaining, and the fact it’s married to Volcom can free it up for a slightly more relaxed broadcast, but because of it being a WSL comp at Pipeline that we can directly compare with the Billabong Pipe Masters, particularly with the waves each event has scored the last few years.

The Pipe Masters is our gold ribbon event. It’s our Superbowl Sunday, our Boxing Day Test, our Wimbledon. It is by far surfing’s most famous wave, and the Masters surfing’s most revered competition (perhaps only rivalled by The Eddie and, for Australians, Bells), and it’s current form it not only serves as the event surfers want to win more than any other, but also as the conclusion of the WSL season, more often than not deciding who wins the World Title (due to the dropping of the surfer’s two lowest scores of the year, it is very very difficult to win the World Title before the last event, like Tyler and John did in 2016). And so what a let-down it is when we see what we saw in 2015, when Gabriel Medina shut down Mick Fanning’s Title chances with an air reverse. That’s not the Pipe Masters as we grow up believing it to be. Even worse was the last Pipe Masters in 2016 when the final day was surfed in waste high runners, Michel Bourez winning the comp against Kanoa Igarashi in what he called the weirdest final ever. The real bummer of the 2016 Pipe Masters though came in round 3 when surfers like Pipe Master Julian Wilson, World Champ Adriano De Souza and Triple Crown winner Sebastien Ziets were eliminated out of the competition holding onto wave scores of 1.17, 0.77, and 1.57 respectively. In Round 2 of that same comp Kai Otton eliminated Stu Kennedy with a heat total of 4.93 ( combo of wave scores 2.7 and 2.23) which has to be some sort of record for the lowest score to win a Pipe Masters heat. Ridiculous stuff.

CATCH-UP: Sean Doherty On, The 2016 Pipe Master's Finals & The Pacific Milk Run

When you compare the last few years of the Pipe Masters, highlight package by highlight package, with the Volcom Pipe Pro, it’s clear which comp is scoring it better, and all without the weight of the most revered single event title in surfing, or the high drama of the end of the WSL season. So that begs the question, if you could switch the events so that the World Title was decided in waves you see in the clip below, would you?

The NFL, NBA, and NHL begin and end in different years, as do all the major European football leagues, and even surfing has had a history of ending mid-year at Narrabeen and Manly. The WSL junior World Title finishes in January too, which doesn’t really make a lot of sense, but if anything at all proves that the wrapping up the Title, and perhaps more importantly, the greatest event in surfing, nice and neat before Christmas is not a true necessity.

Let’s make one thing clear, this idea lacks any scientific data, or any general intelligent thought at all… and it’s being written by a kook who’s never even set foot on the hallowed Hawaiian sands of the North Shore, and today’s conditions being far from classic Pipe is proving that this really is a remarkably dumb idea, but, and this is a big but, if on Saturday (Hawaiian time) it’s 15 foot, double overhead (as forecast) and perfect for yet another John John or Kelly Slater Volcom Pipe Pro victory, overshadowing our most regal event for yet another year… it might not seem that dumb. It might just seem genius. Imagine that! Me, a genius! That’d be something.

You just know though that if the WSL was to take the gamble and move the event, Pipe would the greatest it's ever been on December 10, and January and February would a skunkfest. Surfing is cruel like that.

But what do you think? Would it piss you off to see the end of the surfing year end in the back half of the Hawaiian Winter?

*BONUS Video Below, Hawaiian Winter 2016/17 by Victor Cestari / IndoVibes


Tags: pipemasters , mikejennings (create Alert from these tags)

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