Year in year out, the Billabong Pipe Masters, the crown jewel of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, is the most anticipated surf event in the world. Marking its 39th year, the world’s longest-running professional surf contest, returns to the North Shore’s infamous Banzai Pipeline for yet another year of harrowing acts and reckless bravado.
After stops in South Africa, Tahiti, and Spain, the Billabong Pipeline Masters concludes a yearlong series of Billabong-sponsored ASP World Tour men’s events, and sees both the crowning of the 2009 World Champion and the 2009 Triple Crown Champion.
“Coming to Hawaii, and proving yourself on the North Shore, it’s what every surfer dreams of, and the Pipe Masters is the center of it all,” explained Joel Parkinson, after winning the Triple Crown in ’08. “When I was a kid I never thought I’d be a Triple Crown Champion, it’s right up there with winning a world title, but to accomplish something like this means a lot. It means a lot to any surfer’s career. It’s the pinnacle.”
Not only is there $340,000 in prize money and valuable ASP World Tour ratings points on the line, but winning the Billabong Pipeline Masters is unarguably one of the most prestigious achievements in the sport of surfing.
“To win at Pipeline, there’s nothing like it, it says everything about who you are as a surfer,” says former Pipeline Master Jamie O’Brien. For decades now Billabong has had a longstanding relationship with Hawaii and the North Shore community. During the ‘80s, in the early days of the pro tour, the emerging surf company launched the Billabong Pro, setting numerous benchmarks in the process. Prize money was lifted to previously unheard of levels, and a mobile venue was utilized between Sunset and Waimea Bay, which led to the event being held in the largest surf ever seen in ASP competition history.
This year Billabong Pipeline Masters is all about the race for the world title between Mick Fanning and Billabong’s Joel Parkinson. You just can’t miss this duel that will make history.
Watch the action-packed webcast at billabongpro.com** ABOUT Joel Parkinson...
... and the world title race :**
Joel is seated 2nd in the ratings just 368 points behind his close friend Mick Fanning.Between the two surfers, these are the possible World Title scenari:
- If Mick Fanning finishes 33rd to 9th, Joel Parkinson will need a 3rd or better to win the World Title
- If Mick finishes 5th, Joel will need a 2nd or better;
- If Mick finishes 3rd, Joel will need to win the Billabong Pipeline Masters;
- If Mick finishes 2nd he will clinch the ASP World Title even if Joel wins the last event.
Joel said «We both know its healthy competition, and at the end of the day I’ll be the first to congratulate him or he’ll be the first to congratulate me, whatever way it goes.»
«...To me there’s so much hype about the world title, but to me it actually doesn’t seem like thatbig a deal...»
«...Next year I’ll be fit and healthy and whatever happens this year – win, lose, or draw – I’m justgoing to want it as bad next year. It’s not the last world title I’ll challenge for...»
... and his ankle injury :
Joel said «The last few weeks it’s felt really good. Really good. I kind of got over that stiff injury phase, now I’m getting flexibility back in it, so it allows me to do a lot more on it. When I get home from Hawaii I’m going to have another round of MRIs to find out if it’s 100 percent. I’ve got one little test to do to find out how much movement I have between my tib and my fib, and if it has a
lot of movement I’ll probably have to get a screw in it, but if it doesn’t then I should be right».
ABOUT Andy Irons back for the Billabong Pipe Masters.
Yes that’s right, the 3 times world champ and 4 times Triple Crown champ will return to competition for the Billabong Pipeline Masters.Joel about AI’s return : «He’s in good spirits, he’s frothing for the season. He’s been surfing heaps. He got a couple of incredible waves at Backdoor the other day. He’s fit and healthy and ready to take down some people at the Pipe Masters.»