He joins Imaikalani deVault in the big show, which could get underway tomorrow.
Today’s Pipe Invitational ran today, in what served as a delicious hors d’oeuvre before the main course arrives at the table tomorrow morning (potentially, probably).
It was ‘fun size’ Pipe today although the swell was consistently growing by small measures throughout competition. The kind of day that would deliver a surfer of above average skillset the thrill of a lifetime, but for a field of Pipe specialists, it kinda felt like a bit of a letdown.
Nonetheless, they were hardy about to turn their noses up at delightful four-six foot (Hawaiian) Pipe with three other blokes in the water.
As the day unfolded you can bet there were a few nervous eyes watching from the team houses along the North Shore beachfront, belonging to the highly ranked tour surfers who are destined to have one of these guys in their heat when the Pipe Masters commences.
A lot of those eyes would’ve been firmly fixed on Aussie Jack Robinson as he made his way through the field, his hot streak seemingly in tact after his Sunset Beach exhibition. Unfortunately for those who were wishing to see Jack injected into the World Title race, he couldn’t make it out of his semi final.
Ethan Ewing, another Australian, who seems to share intertwined fates with Jack Robbo this winter also fell short in the second semi-final, leaving him, and Jack, to wait another year before they get a crack at a Pipe Masters as part of the tour.
The all Hawaiian final saw Billy Kemper, Imaikalani deVault, Keanu Asing and Koa Smith battling for their chance to pull on the most esteemed rash in surfing.
Backdoor was offering the better option, the cross shore wind blowing into the rights held open the tubes a little more. In the end Billy Kemper and Imaikalani picked the eyes out of it and earned themselves a berth in the main event.
As the last minutes of the final ebbed away, it was interesting to Italo Ferreira on the shore itching to get amongst it for the last free surf available before shit gets real tomorrow.