Pancho Sullivan wins the 2005 Monster Energy Pipeline Pro Presented by Billabong in not so perfect Pipe
Surf: Sketchy, solid 6-8 ft.
Events Held: Round 5 to the Final
Nature’s call: Wot? Like Scrap!?
Predicted: Someone’s going home with stitches.
Overcast skies, howling Northeast winds, extreme neap tides and 8 foot cleanup sets made the Banzai Pipeline punchier than a drunk 250 pound Westside local. Despite the dangerous conditions, the fourth and final day of the Monster Energy Pipeline Pro went down on Wednesday, Feb. 23.
Round five saw two past Pipeline Pro champs eliminated by the lack of hollow waves. Last year’s champ, Tom Dosland, was ousted by fellow Hawaiians Dustin Barca and Ola Eleogram in Heat #3. While the 2004 Pipe Master Jamie ‘O Brien was outsurfed in the last 40 seconds of Heat #5 by Kauai’s Kamalei Alexander. Kamalei sat in third for the majority of the heat until he found an inside left that provided a cover up to roundie that scored the necessary 6.51 to move him into an advancing second place.But the Kauai boy wouldn’t don a fluorescent jersey after the Quarter Finals. Japan’s Masatoshi Ohno and fellow Garden Isle resident, Evan Valeire, gave Alexander the rest of the day off in Heat #4 of the Quaters.
In addition, Ohno also made surfing history, by becoming the first Japanese surfer to advance to the Semi Finals of the Pipeline Pro. The Japanese goofy footer resembled a young Tom Carrol, sitting West on the reef and pulling in late and deep on the 8 foot Pipe bombs. Yet when Japanese fans were celebrating during the live web telecast, Californians were cussing under their breaths. That’s because 2000 Pipe Master Rob Machado was man handled by the fierce Hawaiian duo of Dustin Barca and Kainoa McGee in Quarter Final #2. While McGee claimed the majority of Pipe’s green rooms, Barca took every Backdoor barrel that came through the lineup. Thus, leaving Chob looking for a second high scoring ride that would never materialize.
Although haole fans had lost their favorite afroman going into the Semi Finals, Californians had one last, golden hope: Tommy Curren. But, not even Curren’s trademark mystique could have stopped the Hawaiians from rampaging into the finals. Tommy and Masatoshi were clipped by an in-form Brian Pacheco and a fearless Evan Valiere. Semi-closeout after semi-closeout, late drop after late drop Valiere pulled in at Pipe with reckless abandonment; scoring a 9.5 and 8.25 in the process. And, get this-Evan did all that without even having a sponsor!
Joining Valerie and Pacheco in the 35 minute Final was Maui’s Ola Eleogram and Backdoor Shootout Champ Pancho Sullivan. Thus, for the second time this season, an all Hawaiian Pipeline Final. The hometown crowd reacted with hollers and whistles, while Pipe reacted with consistent 8 foot plus sets all heat.
Pacheco and Eleogram swung first with a split peak that didn’t amount to very high scores. Next came Valiere, the lone goofy footer in the final, with a monster closeout left.
Ola also had a bad experience with Pipe in the final, when he took off on an inside left and was pitched off the takeoff like a Curt Schilling fastball.
The Hana native, got back on his board, but was visibly shaken. Later when the final was over, Eleogram would receive five stitches in his head due to the wipeout. Despite the head injury, Eleogram would claim third overall for his first pro final in his young career. Valiere, who was also making his first North Shore finals appearance, would come in fourth from failing to find any open waves.
And while the ‘‘Young Boys’’ filled in the third and fourth place positions of the heat, it would be the ‘‘Uncles’’ who would claim the top two spots.
Pacheco surfed smart and smoothly throughout the final, racking up a string of impressive Backdoor barrels. But, it wasn’t enough to match Pancho’s patience.
All day long Pancho won every heat by waiting for the best rides, and the final would be no different. After not catching a wave for the first half of the final, Sullivan took off on a macking Pipe bomb. Pumping his way through the tube, he emerged and busted a knee buckler of a floater, the judges give it a 9 point score.
Two waves later, Sullivan looks left, but decides to go right at the last minute. A frothy, 8 foot Backdoor barrel to a fly away air-the judges say 9.9. And, with ten minutes left in the Final Pancho had the rest of the competitors comboed out of contention.By the time Kainoa McGee and Kamalei Alexander managed to chair 2005 Pipeline Pro Champion Pancho Sullivan up to the Volcom House, runner up Brian Pacheco was already contemplating his upcoming campaign to make the ‘CT, while the doctor was already checking out third place winner Ola Eleogram for a concussion and, hopefully, some surf industry rep would already be trying to get a hold of fourth place finisher, Evan Valiere, to offer a sponsorship.
2005 Monster Energy Pipeline Pro Presented by Billabong Results:
1st Pancho Sullivan $10,000
2nd Brian Pacheco $5,000
3rd Ola Eleogram $3,000
4th Evan Valiere $2,400