04/01/2012 | by Alex Dick-Read
It was an epic event, no hype required. A 12-15 swell arrived for the first day of the waiting period, out of the NW, the perfect direction for Pipe. Up to this point there hadn’t yet been a Pipe swell, so even the locals had nerves to get rid of, and the reef had plenty of sand that needed washing away.
The locals dominated, none more so than Jon Jon Florence and Jamie O’Brien who grew up yards from the peak. But so did Evan Valiere from Kauai, and Ian Walsh from Maui. But really, Florence ruled, scoring the day’s only perfect 10. The second day the swell hung around, the seeded pros began to appear in the contest and again the locals – Jon Jon Florence, Jamie O’Brien and Evan Valiere – dominated.
Day three was smaller, lumpier but still chunky. Big-name locals matched off against big-name world tour pros in the quarters. Jon Jon made a fool of Kelly Slater, combo-ing him for the second time (he did it in a non-elimation heat the day before, too) … until Slater pulled some weird Kelly Slater voodoo stuff in the last three minutes and found two waves to beat the boy and knock Florence out of the event everyone was sure he was about to win. That left Kelly meeting Parkinson in one semi and Tahitian Michel Bourez against the Aussie charger, Kieran Perrow, who nearly won the event last year but lost it in the last seconds when he made a tactical error he’ll never forget. Parko beat Slater, and Perrow charged Bourez out of the picture to make it an all Australian final.
The end results couldn’t have been better. With the elimination of Bourez, Jon Jon Florence won the Triple Crown. He’s only 19 and he’ll win the Pipe Masters, probably next year and maybe many after that. But this year the title belongs to Kieran Perrow, long known as a stand-out at Pipe, Backdoor and OffTheWall. He’s been on tour for decades and never won a contest. In fact, he was about to slip off the tour and have to rethink his life, until he made it through some heats at Pipe. And he was certain he’d never stop beating himself up about giving that last wave to Jeremy Flores in the finals of last year’s Pipe Masters – as close as he’d ever come to winning his dream event. So when he beat Parko in this year’s shifty but still heavy final, KP simply couldn’t believe it. No one deserved it more. Congratulations, KP. Thanks, Pipe.
Here’s the whole thing, condensed:
Day 1 was the biggy:
Day 2, still firing:
Day 3 was smaller but still had bigger barrels than most surfers will ride in a lifetime: