The Billabong Pro Pipeline was greeted with pumping eight-to-ten foot conditions to kick off the competition’s opening day, as well as the start of the World Surf League (WSL) 2022 Championship Tour (CT). Men’s Opening Round 1 and men’s Elimination Round 2 witnessed standout performances from Jack Robinson (AUS), John John Florence (HAW), and Jordy Smith (ZAF), who got the highest-scoring wave of the event so far during Heat 2 of Elimination Round 2 (9.73 out of a possible 10).
Hailing from Western Australia, and a specialist in heavy tubes, Jack Robinson (AUS) lived up to expectations with an unbelievable performance in Opening Round 1 of the Billabong Pro Pipeline. Last year at the 2021 Corona Open Mexico presented by Quiksilver, Robinson proved why he’s portrayed by some of his peers as the best tube-rider on the planet, nailing two near-perfect 9+ scores in his first competitive heat this season.
“Watching the conditions, it’s easy to get too excited today so I was just trying to calm down,” Robinson said. “I’m trying to not think too far ahead and just enjoy every moment of competing out there.”
Maybe the most impressive feat in Robinson’s opening 2022 performance was the fact that he managed to eclipse the 11-time World Champion’s performance. A seven-time winner at Pipeline, each and every Kelly Slater (USA) appearance in the famed Hawaiian lineup is a special event, but this time, two excellent scores and a 16.57 total (out of a possible 20) just weren’t enough to get the win.
“I’m just loving it,” Slater said. “We’re still in a heat out there so you have to work out the situation and in the end, I couldn’t really go for it and get greedy on my barrels I just had to make them. Pipe’s the queen today and we’re just out there amongst it, what a day!”
Former Rookie of the Year and Pipeline local Seth Moniz (HAW) was another standout in an action-packed first day of the season. The Hawaiian rode four beautiful waves in 30 minutes, his lowest score being a high six that would have made most other competitors envious in the challenging Pipe lineup. Moniz advanced in first ahead of Olympic silver medalist Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) who scored one of the day’s highest single-wave scores of nine points.
“I had the jitters watching all morning and didn’t know what to expect,” Moniz explained. “But as I got out there I was just there to have fun and the waves just turned on for our heat, it was pretty amazing. We’ve had a crazy run of swells the last few weeks and I’ve had a lot of practice, so I felt ready for this.”
The real clinic started in Heat 4 when Pipeline wizard and event wildcard Barron Mamiya (HAW) absolutely dominated his heat against World No. 4 Conner Coffin (USA) and rookie Jake Marshall (USA). In true wildcard fashion, Mamiya showed everyone why local surfers are major threats on their home turf, positioning himself into the best waves of the morning so far and riding them perfectly for two excellent numbers above 8-point rides.
“The waves are firing and I’m just stoked to surf Pipeline again in an event,” Mamiya said. “We have a crazy West swell and it’s just so dreamy with perfect offshore winds. I grew up watching this event my whole entire life and this is the first year I’m actually in it. I’ve been surfing Pipeline since I was 10 and for sure I’d love to win it.”
Fresh off a win at the HIC Pipe Pro last month, two-time World Champion and the defending event winner John John Florence (HAW) turned a slow start into a masterful performance with two big scores in the span of a few minutes. Florence weaved through insane closeout barrels and made unmakeable sections look easy to post a 17.13 heat total (out of a possible 20).
Florence’s brother, Ivan could not pass the Brazilian duo Filipe Toledo and Samuel Pupo during Heat 6 of the Opening Round 1, but bounced back and won the first heat of the Elimination Round 2 against Lucca Mesinas (PER) and Morgan Cibilic (AUS).
“It’s the best day ever”, said Ivan Florence (HAW). “It’s so perfect out there, I’m just trying to stay relaxed, focus on the next heat and have fun. I’d love to be in another heat with my brother, though. He is so inspiring, I love it!”
For the last few years, many of Australia’s iconic male competitors retired from the CT. Today’s opening day saw the Australian contingent back in full swing with five competitors winning their first-round heats: Owen Wright, Connor O’Leary, Jack Robinson, Ethan Ewing, and rookie Jackson Baker.
Wright put together a convincing effort in the day’s opening heat. At the very place that nearly ended his career a few years ago when he sustained a traumatic head injury, Wright showed no signs of hesitation as he locked into two big Pipeline lefts to take the first heat win of the season.
“My eyes lit up at that wave that just seemed to be stretched out to the channel,” Wright said. “Often today you’ll see really short barrels but this one just kept giving to me, it’s so nice to get this as the first wave of the season. Being the WSL wildcard, I’ll be going up against the top seeds but that’s the guys I’ve competed against for ten years so I feel good about myself.”
The next call for the Billabong Pro Pipeline will be tomorrow at 7:35 a.m. HST for a possible 8:00 a.m. start. Once called on, the competition will be broadcast LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com, the free WSL app, and the WSL’s YouTube channel. Also, check local listings for coverage from the WSL’s broadcast partners. For fans watching in Brazil, coverage of the Billabong Pro Pipeline Quarterfinals and beyond will continue exclusively on WorldSurfLeague.com and SporTV.
For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.
Billabong Pro Pipeline Men’s Opening Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Owen Wright (AUS) 13.34 DEF. Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 7.00, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 6.46
Heat 2: Griffin Colapinto (USA) 10.47 DEF. Matthew McGillivray (ZAF) 7.67, Jordan Lawler (AUS) 5.60
Heat 3: Connor O’Leary (AUS) 15.50 DEF. Caio Ibelli (BRA) 10.07, Morgan Cibilic (AUS) 5.17
Heat 4: Barron Mamiya (HAW) 16.57 DEF. Conner Coffin (USA) 9.63, Jake Marshall (USA) 2.43
Heat 5: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 7.06 DEF. Callum Robson (AUS) 6.17, Miguel Tudela (PER) 4.03
Heat 6: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 7.00 DEF. Samuel Pupo (BRA) 4.57, Ivan Florence (HAW) 0.23
Heat 7: Seth Moniz (HAW) 16.44 DEF. Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 12.00, Carlos Munoz (CRI) 9.50
Heat 8: Jackson Baker (AUS) 6.43 DEF. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 6.20, Frederico Morais (PRT) 5.33
Heat 9: John John Florence (HAW) 17.13 DEF. Joao Chianca (BRA) 15.30, Jadson Andre (BRA) 7.84
Heat 10: Jack Robinson (AUS) 18.67 DEF. Kelly Slater (USA) 16.57, Lucca Mesinas (PER) 12.13
Heat 11: Ethan Ewing (AUS) 12.76 DEF. Kolohe Andino (USA) 4.37, Imaikalani deVault (HAW) 1.50
Heat 12: Nat Young (USA) 12.00 DEF. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 8.60, Deivid Silva (BRA) 7.00
Billabong Pro Pipeline Men’s Elimination Round 2 Results:
HEAT 1: Ivan Florence (HAW) 12.60 DEF. Lucca Mesinas (PER) 9.50, Morgan Cibilic (AUS) 1.83
HEAT 2: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.73 DEF. Miguel Tudela (PER) 14.83, Imaikalani deVault (HAW) 11.00
HEAT 3: Jake Marshall (USA) 11.67 DEF. Frederico Morais (PRT) 11.13, Jordan Lawler (AUS) 10.27
HEAT 4: Carlos Munoz (CRI) 6.10 DEF. Deivid Silva (BRA) 5.50, Jadson Andre (BRA) 4.63
Billabong Pro Pipeline Men’s Round of 32 Matchups:
Billabong Pro Pipeline Men’s Round of 32 Matchups:
HEAT 1: Conner Coffin (USA) vs. Barron Mamiya (HAW)
HEAT 2: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Jake Marshall (USA)
HEAT 3: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) vs. Owen Wright (AUS)
HEAT 4: Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) vs. Nat Young (USA)
HEAT 5: Italo Ferreira (BRA) vs. Miguel Tudela (PER)
HEAT 6: Miguel Pupo (BRA) vs. Connor O’Leary (AUS)
HEAT 7: Frederico Morais (PRT) vs. Carlos Munoz (CRI)
HEAT 8: Kolohe Andino (USA) vs. Lucca Mesinas (PER)
HEAT 9: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Ivan Florence (HAW)
HEAT 10: Seth Moniz (HAW) vs. Ezekiel Lau (HAW)
HEAT 11: Jack Robinson (AUS) vs. Joao Chianca (BRA)
HEAT 12: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Jackson Baker (AUS)
HEAT 13: Griffin Colapinto (USA) vs. Caio Ibelli (BRA)
HEAT 14: Ethan Ewing (AUS) vs. Callum Robson (AUS)
HEAT 15: Deivid Silva (BRA) vs. Samuel Pupo (BRA)
HEAT 16: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Matthew McGillivray (ZAF)
Billabong Pro Pipeline Women’s Opening Round 1 Matchups:
Heat 1: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Courtney Conlogue (USA), Molly Picklum (AUS)
Heat 2: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA), Gabriela Bryan (HAW), Malia Manuel (HAW)
Heat 3: Carissa Moore (HAW), Brisa Hennessy (CRI), Moana Jones (HAW)
Heat 4: Johanne Defay (FRA), Isabella Nichols (AUS), Luana Silva (HAW)
Heat 5: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Tyler Wright (AUS), India Robinson (AUS)
Heat 6: Caroline Marks (USA), Lakey Peterson (USA), Bettylou Sakura Johnson (HAW)
The Billabong Pro Pipeline is proudly supported by our partners Billabong, Red Bull, Expedia, Shiseido, Oakley, Hydro Flask, Flying Embers, Spectrum, 805, and Pura Vida.
The health and safety of our athletes, staff, and the local community are of the utmost importance and we have been working closely with local authorities to put a robust set of procedures in place to keep everyone safe. This includes pre-event screening, testing protocols, and minimal personnel on site.
For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com