John and Kelly forfeit the crown!
Today marks the end of the 2017 Volcom Pro, a contest held in four very different shades of Pipeline. Let’s recap:
Day one: Northeasterly sand-bottomed double-ups, most of them unmakeable, but the type of waves that’d look incredible through photos. There were a few nice rides, but it was unworthy of wading through the pinches and close-outs to see something interesting.
Day two: Slightly less sand, somewhat better swell direction and size. This resulted in cleaner Backdoor tubes with Makua Rothman nailing the comp’s only perfect ten. A good day of competition, probably a C+ for Pipeline.
Day three: Death, taxes and Pipeline. Wait long enough, and you’ll meet all three of ‘em in tremendous fashion. With Volcom’s ten-day waiting period in mid-February, it was almost guaranteed that we’d get to see at least one day of epic surf. This was that day.
Six-to-ten foot silky smooth peaks were on tap for (some of) the world’s best, granting fantastic rides to John, Seth, Bruce, Makua, Miguel and more. Interestingly Slater, my passion pick for this event, crumbled in his first round. He was dealt a tough heat (Seth, Bruce, and Imaikalani Devault) and fell victim to a poor start followed by poor wave selection. A fistful of valiant efforts, but Slater’s magic dust was nowhere to be found. He’s probably gotta re-up on his deal with the devil.
Finals day: There was a lot of potential. Wonky in the morning like Pipe usually is, but a few rogue bombs gave me hope. Perhaps the sun and wind would help the waves congeal into uniform lines, pushing gaseous vessels in both directions. Instead the wind went onshore and the swell dropped and Adriano made the finals in similar conditions to his Pipe Masters victory. Go figure.
John lost in the semis despite looking significantly better than any ten guys in the field combined. His absolute control of the surfboard and willingness to lay it on rail through vertical, heaving walls is unparalleled. I think he might be the most talented surfer ever, but then I wasn’t around to see Jake Patterson in his prime. He also sutured his own ankle after a fin-collision on finals morning, which is pretty alpha.
The final was delicious medley of international talent. A multi-cultural buffet. A Hawaiian-Australian-Brazilian-American salad dressed with a rare offshore flow. Bruce was the fan-favorite, Adriano the statistical shoe-in, Griffin my pick and Soli Bailey the classic Aussie underdog. None of the commentators picked him to win, but sure enough Soli found every decent wave in the final, pushing him to victory over an impressive field. Cue the beers!