The fourth and final day of the International Bodyboarding Association Go Pro Pipeline Challenge took place on Friday, 1 March 2013. It was an exhilarating day, filled with skilled wave-riding, passionate competition and the excited energy of thousands of spectators watching live from the webcam or from the sandy North Shore beach.
We arrived early on Friday morning, to a slightly messy, but still solid Pipeline swell, with solid 8-10 foot sets rolling in. The final day kicked off with round 6 of the Mens division, with Spencer Skipper, Andre Botha and Yoshitada Konda all being amongst the stand outs in this Round. Spencer showed the competitors what style is all about by perfectly executing a sick backflip and riding Pipeline like only he knows how. Andre kept the crowd on the edge of their towels with awesome barrel riding and explosive manoeuvres. Yoshitada Konda kept the competition exciting by sneaking through in the dying seconds of his heat with a sick backdoor wave; the resultant emotion from his Japanese contingent palatable, as the crowd watched many tears of joy being shed.
This charged emotional energy spilt over into the Quarter final rounds of the competition… with IMUA team rider and local favourite Spencer Skipper surfing so well, but just not getting the waves to make it through, with Ben Player sealing his position in the Semi finals right at the end of the heat. And former World Champion Andre Botha starting off his heat with an insane backflip, scoring a 9.0 point ride, one of the highest scoring waves of the contest, but just not making it through, with the judges awarding former world champion Guilherme Tamega a high enough score to beat Andre by a narrow margin of 0.2, in the closing seconds of the heat. Andre actually wore a GoPro camera mount during his heats and so, you can see the view from the barrel at http://www.youtube.com/watchv=PkoNRwMZsDk&list=SP67_V5nXTA_pXeGerR6tr2BW8xY4cVFzQ
Standouts in the Quarter Finals included Dave Winchester who scored a 17.25 for his heat – the second highest score of the competition, as well as fellow Australian Damien King who tactfully waited for his two scoring waves, making it through to the Semis with time to spare. And, of course, the legendary Mike Stewart who was on top form with his deep barrels and classic wave-riding.
Stay tuned for the second part of this blog – an update on the Mens Semi Finals, as well as the Finals for all three divisions of the competition!