IBA Pipeline Pro
North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii
February, 15 - 25, 2011
Thursday, February 17th (Pipeline, Oahu, Hawaii):
Professional bodyboarding has returned to Hawaii's North Shore with the commencement of Event 1 on the 2011 IBA World Tour, the IBA Pipeline Pro that kicked off in clean two-metres waves today.
The revamped tour, which sees eight major global Grand Slam Series events in exciting and dangerous locations, has drawn out the who's who of big name stars and budding pros.
Among the standout performers on Day 1 was USA transplant, Brian Wise (USA), a formidable 90s performer who blasted his way through three rounds of competition in his first contest in three years.
Wise spun and rolled his way through a marathon day that included a pre-event warm-up session when he practised without fins or leash. The former finalist (1996) was clearly stoked to be back in the competitive arena, and registered the day's highest individual wave score, an 8.75 out of a possible perfect 10, on route to Round 4.
"The waves are really contestable. We have good ramps and really nice, long drawn out waves and I think we'll get better waves right through out this contest," said Wise.
"I've been back on the North Shore since October and I've had so many Pipe days, concentrating on my riding, working to improve my style and my manoeuvres," he added.
Nostalgia was blended with first-time experience of Australian brothers, Charles and Harley Ward. The pair, who regularly tackle the cold, life-threatening waves of their local break Shipstern Bluff, unknowingly created history when they became the first Tasmanian riders to compete at the elite level.
Having successfully won their way through the trials held at Sandy Beach on Oahu's South side on Sunday, the brothers progressed through to Rounds two and three respectively in the main event, before being eliminated.
"We came here to get good surf and try our best in the competition. I think everyone at home is pretty stoked we made it into the main event. We tried last year, but didn't get in. Now this is the first event we've qualified for," said Charles.
"Tassie has variety of waves, but obviously the water's a lot warmer here, it's so bloody cold at home! It's not crowded at all at home, but crowded here, so there are same major differences. And the overall level of riding is higher in Hawaii. In fact, the level is higher than just about anywhere else we've ever travelled," he said.
The day's highest two-wave combined heat score belonged to South African campaigner, Sacha Specker (ZAF) who within five minutes of his 20-minute encounter, had secured an 8.25 and 7.5 to be sitting comfortably in front on a combined total of 15.75 out of a possible 20.
Speckers opponents, Alvaro Jurado (ESP), Kalani Lattanzi (BRA) and Keahi Parker (Haw) were left to scrap for the minor placing, with Parker getting the nod and advancing behind Specker in second position.
Competition is expected to resume in similar conditions tomorrow, Friday Feb 18th. Organisers will make a call on proceedings at 07:00 local time for a possible 08:00 start.
All the action from the IBA Pipeline Pro is available for viewing via the LIVE webcast at ibaworldtour.com. It is the most ambitious ever undertaken by the IBA with multi-camera angles and replays just some of the improved features.
Hawaiian fans can see the action via Oceanic Cable channel 16 (OC 16, Hawaii) and FUEL TV will broadcast finals action in Australia. Viewers should check their local listings for times.
The IBA Pipeline Pro is made possible with the support of:
Turbo Surf Designs, Dave & Busters and Aqua Hotels and Resorts
For up to minute information, please logon to ibaworldtour.com.
Daily updates are available via text courtesy of event support team at QponText.com.
Simply text ibafans11 to 50240
High Quality Digital Images, Press Releases and Newsfeeds are also available for media via FTP.
MUSIC//Mother and Son "down the kills"