12.15.2010-Ehukai (The Banzai Pipeline) Beach Park-Joel Parkinson solidifies his post injury comeback by winning his third straight Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. He tied ASP rookie of the year Owen Wright in a round 3 heat, at glassy head-high backdoor, but was eliminated on a count back. Joel needed Mick Fanning and Ace Buchan to lose the comp. He succeeded when Hawaiian Dusty Payne knocked off Mick, and Ace fell to Slater.
Parko ranked eighth in the world before his heel injury that took him out of world title contention. His drop in rank meant he had to battle though extra heats against hungry Hawaiians to defend his crown. His victory at the Reef Hawaiian Pro propelled his run at the $25,000 prize money, and secured his status as a future world title contender.
We hope Parko’s comeback victory drives Slater to pursue his eleventh title, since rivalries like “Slater vs. A.I.” keeps the 10x champ competing. Slater semi-retired the tour in 1999 after winning five titles in six years, then lost interest due to lack of progression and formidable competition in the title race. Slater still sounded unsure about his future during post-contest interview.
Jeremy Flores won the 2010 Billabong Pipe Masters over Kieren Perrow in a buzzer beater final, and the road to his first WCT victory was an equally radical Backdoor shootout. J-Flo snuck into the final by beating Slater under his priority in another nail biting semi-final. Maybe his hand-drawn A.I. tributes on his board propelled him over the champ, as only A.I. could.
J-Flo earns $75,000 for his victory and the Gerry Lopez pipe gun trophy, and KP “The Backdoor Bandit” banked $30,000 as the runner-up. During Flores’ emotional victory speech he stated, “I dedicate this to Andy. He’s my idol. A.I. forever”.
Other news from the competition:
- Dusty Payne re-qualifies in buzzer beater over Fanning
- ASP announces east coast US tour stop next season
- Brett Simpson qualifies for tour in place of Andy Irons
- Kelly and Dane remain uncertain of future competitive plans
An other side story in the Triple Crown race unfolded when second ranked Julian Wilson was denied his chance to challenge in the Pipe Masters. He made a legit run at the prize money after placing in back to back finals at Sunset and Haleiwa. Wilson lost his chances for the crown when the ASP and HPSU (Hawaii Pro Surfers Union), prematurely selected pipe wildcards weeks before the comp. Wilson’s initial humble reactions yielded to annoyance with the ASP when he tweeted: “Trying really hard to contain my frustration towards the asp. Triple crown is what dreams are made of. Give me a crack at it!!!!!”. Well, he’ll get a shot next season with his WCT qualification. Congrats Julian!
Many thought Jamie O’Brien’s broken arm opened a slot for Wilson, but Hawaiian nepotism favored legendary lifeguard, Dave Wassel, who nearly knocked off world no.2, Jody Smith in rd.3.
However, Julian Wilson’s free-surf pipe wave still stands to win Surfline’s $25,000 prize for “The Wave of the Winter”, and earned the title of Vans Triple Crown of Surfing “Rookie of the Year”.
Check out the wave of the winter entries at Surfline, and get all the gear from the contest at SWELL. We carry everything you saw like Kelly Slater’s KS10 gear, official contest gear, pro-model surfboards, and everything you need for Pipeline.