By Daniel Ikaika Ito
Photos by Ryan Foley
It didn’t matter if you were a goofy or regular foot yesterday at the Volcom Pipe Pro — if you were in a heat, you were probably going to score at least one good frontside barrel. A smorgasbord of lefts and rights rolled into the second day of competition, providing a feast of tasty tubes for any surfer willing to brave the Banzai buffet line.
“My strategy was to go right because I canʻt go left,” said Kekoa “Bam” Bacalso. “I wanted to get a quick start and make the heat.”
The 25-year-old, regular foot from Mililani did more than just “make the heat.” Bam won his third round bout with a two-wave total of 13.33, snagging two dry Backdoor barrels. He beat an on-fire Kai Barger, who stuck mainly to the lefts and advanced in second place.
“This is the one event where you can have that underground guy sprout,” explained Bacalso of the field of competition in the Volcom Pipe Pro. “Right now itʻs all the boys and some international guys so itʻs perfect.”
One of the boys, Kalani Chapman, made good use of his wildcard entry at the Pipe event. The 28-year-old goofy foot dominated his Round 3 heat yesterday, winning with a two-wave total of 16.60 out of a possible 20 points. Waves were in the 4-to 6-foot range, providing ample barrels — both lefts and rights — for Chapman.
“I was really stoked on that heat,” said Chapman, who resides on the North Shore. “At the very start I got a good right and had to call everybody off of it. I got a good Backdoor barrel: a nice long one with a good shape. Then I paddled back out and got a little left.”
Chapman was seeded straight into the Round of 64 in this 5-star ASP event for winning the Volcom Wildcard Challenge. This wildcard contest was open to the public. Contestants submitted five clips of their best waves at Backdoor and Pipeline with Mike and Derek Ho deciding on which surfer was the most worthy. With a little bit of influence from Gerry Lopez, the Ho brothers gave the nod to Kalani.
“I thought it was great, and a super cool concept,” said Chapman about the Volcom Wildcard Challenge. “I hope they keep doing it because it really helps the locals.”
It seems like Kalani Chapman has been an Internet video sensation. In addition to winning the Volcom Wildcard Challenge, Chapman was also awarded $20,000 for catching the “Wave of the Winter,” as deemed by Surfline.com and Nike 6.0.
“Itʻs just luck,” stated Chapman of his recent success with video clips. “I got some good waves and thatʻs really what did it all. Hopefully it keeps going.”