2004 RIP CURL PIPE MASTERS – FINALS DAY

posted by / News / December 20, 2004

Something for Everyone in the Rip Curl Pipe Masters first All Hawaiian Final.For the complete Pipe Masters Photo Gallery, CLICK HERE.

EVENTS HELD: Quarters, Semis and Final
CONDITIONS: 6-8 ft. glassy Pipe and Backdoor. Sweet.
NATURE’S CALL: Kiss me you fool.
PREDICTION: Dinner on OB.Sunny Garcia. Bruce Irons. Kalani Robb. Jamie O’Brien. That’s your final at the Rip Curl Pipe Masters. Can it get any more localized? Three North Shore residents and one (Bruce) who might as well be. Four of the best surfers Pipe has ever seen. All paddling out side by side for final heat of the world tour year.

Just moments earlier, Jamie O’ took out five-time event winner Kelly Slater in the semis with a 9.5 Backdoor funnel so deep the crowd had all but given up hope before he popped out down by Off-the-Wall. This brings up the “Slater Factor” – the fact that in every Pipe Master “The Man” ever entered and didn’t win, the surfer who eliminated Slater from competition went on to win the event (Machado, Bruce, Andy, etc). But Bruce, in the same draw as O’Brien, was part of this equation too. And this was his heat, opening it up with an 8-point ride that virtually guaranteed his position on next year’s tour. Sunny Garcia, having advanced with Kalani Robb through the previous heat, looked nervous. “Feels good to be in the final,” says Garcia. “But having Bruce behind me is pretty scary.”

During the final, every North Shore resident has this proud mama look smeared across their face. But none more so than proud papa, Mick O’Brien, filming every moment from the porch of their Pipeline casa. The 45-minute final was over before it began. OB took the first three waves — a 7, an 8 and then a 9.97 – unleashing airdrops to parallel-stance tube rides, stand-up entries and head-dips exits. Casual, calm and dominant, Jamie surfs Pipe in a way that’s entirely his own. He’s literally right at home.

There was still 25-minutes left in the heat when Sunny paddled over to Jamie and said, “You know you’re buying everyone dinner tonight, right?”

Bruce couldn’t find an exit. Kalani could find a decent set wave. And Sunny couldn’t fit inside any of his tubes. Jamie combo’d them all, beginning to end. And no one out there seemed to mind all that much. In fact, they were all winners in one way or another. Kalani made his first Pipe Master final. Bruce re-qualified for next year’s WCT tour (yeah, Bruce), as well as winning the Eddie (YEAH Bruce). And Sunny won his sixth {{{Vans}}} Triple Crown, a pile of cash and a new {{{Ford Ranger}}}. So, in the last minute or two of the heat, all the boys know that OB’s got it. They’re splashing him and he’s got his arms raised to the sky. You can see his ecstatic smile all the way from the beach. The buzzer sounds and suddenly these two nice set waves come rolling through. On the first one, Sunny goes right, Kalani goes left, both pulling in and disappearing for three seconds before popping out down way the line on either side. The next wave, with Sunny and Kalani still somewhere in the tube, Bruce goes right and Jamie goes left, riding switchstance. And both them get sick, long tubes. Bruce pops out the doggy-door and Jamie reaches the shoulder with his arms raised to the sky. A truly poetic moment. As if, for these local boys, the best waves weren’t meant to be contested – just shared and enjoyed.

The look on Jamie’s face was priceless. You’ve never seen anyone get to the victory stand so fast, even with his short-stop house-mate Ruben’s failed effort to chair him up there. “This is best day of my life,” cried Jamie. “I’m so high right now.” Which is, uh, kind of the problem: Pipe’s new master is probably the most clean and sober person on this whole seven-mile manacle, and Rip Curl reps just raced off to start hooking up the beachfront victory celebration for their heroic wildcard. Oh well, guess the rest of us will have to help carry the load for him.

Cheers, Jamie.

For the complete Pipe Masters Photo Gallery, CLICK HERE.

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