"They remixed the Pipe Masters and fucked it up!"
Two weeks ago, Koa Rotham, the middle son of North Shore enforcer Fast Eddie Rothman and brother to big-wave world champion Makua, rocked the surfing world with explosive allegations levelled at Vans’ “reimagined” version of the prestigious Pipe Masters.
On the eve of the event, Rothman accused Vans of copying the format of the Backdoor Shootout, which his family runs each year, of turning the event into a shoulder-hopping air contest and of inviting surfers who, by any measure, shouldn’t be surfing Pipeline.
“They invited a lot of people who’ve never surfed Pipe,” said Rothman. “If John and Kelly aren’t in it, is it really yet Pipe masters? If I won, I wouldn’t consider myself a Pipe Master.”
Now, surfing’s two hottest comedians, Pensacola’s Sterling Spencer and Raglan’s Luke Cederman, have joined the fray one week after Australian Molly Picklum and New Yorker Balaram Stack took home a cool $100k each for winning their divisions.
Amid a litany of criticism, including the tarnishing of a legacy (“If anyone’s going to take the Pipe Masters name and keep the legacy going, it should be Hawaiians,” says Spencer) and the inclusion of Crosby Colapinto (“That’s what blew my mind, Crosby’s name instead of Kelly’s, oh my god,” says Spencer), the pair described its “reimagining” as akin to “trying to do a techno remix of a Fleetwood Mac song!”
“Fuck, Vans, man,” says Cederman.
“Dude, I bet Da Hui was pissed about the Pipe Masters taking their format,” says Spencer.
“Kelly Slater won a Pipe contest early in the year and he couldn’t claim it as a Pipe Masters title even though he won the contest at Pipeline in the exact same format as every other fucking Pipe Masters,” says Cederman, adding, “They have the Triple Crown as well, in an online format. That’s not a fucking contest, it doesn’t make sense.”
Funny as hell.
But, do you agree?
I found considerable joy in the new format and the pop graphics and the relaxed ambience of the event, although Kelly, John John, Italo and Gabriel were sorely missed.
Reigning world champ Filipe Toledo not so much.