The Volcom Pipe Pro came to a close last week and saw Mr Robert Kelly Slater start his 2014 campaign in the most perfect fashion of fashions.
Winning his 66th ASP tour win, 8 of which have been at the infamous Banzai Pipeline reef, Kelly Recorded 5 of the top 10 highest scoring rides of the event to win the 5-star rated event and take home a sweet cheque for $20,000.
After taking the win, Kelly declared that “This was some of the best Pipe I’ve ever surfed in my life.”, and watching the highlights from the comp you can understand exactly why he feels this way. As if his near perfect ride in the final of the Billabong Pipe Masters against JJ Florence wasn’t enough, Kelly showed just how comfortable he is at the pipeline with a hands-free drop in his Round 4 clash that earned him the only perfect 10 of the event and will surely go down as one of the most critical rides ever seen at Pipeline. See the 1.37 mark in the Day 3 Highlights video below for the amazing ride.
The wave was incredibly reminiscent of two Tahiti bombs he has caught previously, one in 2005 and the other in 2010, where the Floridian free fell, hands free, catching his rail and his line before being spat out into a perfect ten point ride. We will point out both waves somewhat triggered his momentum towards winning the world titles those years……is this a sign?
While the Volcom Pipe Pro is not a 6 start or even a prime rated event, the location of the event ensures it is stacked with a strong mix Hawaiian and Global Pipe Specialists and it was far from an easy road to the final for Kelly. Having to get past surfers such as Dusty Payne, Chris Ward and Alex Gray en route to the final, then having to get past fellow WCT surfer Adriano De Souza and his Brazilian Countryman Wiggolly Dantas and local hero Mason Ho in the final.
However it was in Mason Ho that the surfing world held sentimental hopes for a finals upset. With a family pedigree as good as any other (Father in Michael Ho & Uncle in Derek Ho with charging sibling Coco Ho), Mason has an almost cult following these days, and had a significant portion of the Ehukai Beach Park crowd cheering him on. While he didn’t hoist the trophy, his reputation as one of the world’s most exciting surfers continues to grow!
No Volcom Pipe write-up would be complete without a special shout out to Gold Coast local Brent Dorrington who would have clearly taken out any Bravery award that was on offer during the event. While not the largest in the field in stature, no one pushed themselves over the ledge with more commitment than the little fella! Finishing with a solid 9th placing, and more thankfully all limbs intact, we hope to see more of Brent at the upcoming Quicksilver Pro where he took out the trials last year.
Kellys World Title Momentum-Gathering rides…
Tahiti 2005 vs. Bruce Irons
Final day highlights using epic red slow mo cameras
Final day – standard
Day 2 – aerial footage