Pipeline: Injuries And Wildcards
Four days to go and the draws are largely set.
The news on the Women's side is that, as a result of being ankle-tapped by the Snapper backwash, rookie Sophie McCulloch is out of the opening event. Sophie is on crutches, foot in a moon boot, and hasn't yet indicated when she'll be returning. Yet with just one result dropped before the cut, she'll be rehabbing like hell to make Sunset (starts Feb. 12th) otherwise her rookie season wil be over before it's begun.
Perhaps Liam O'Brien or Carlos Munoz have some words of consolation?
Speaking of moon boots, Johanne Defay also has her hoof in one. Johanne injured herself while training on Reunion Island and is out for the first two events. Meaning she almost certainly won't make the cut. Meaning the Women's injury wildcard just heated up. Meaning that my earlier reference of Sophie to Carlos and LOB just took on greater....well, meaning.
Replacing Sophie will be Alyssa Spencer, while Portugal's Teresa Bonvalot will replace Johanne.
The Women's wildcard will be last year's winner, Moana Jones Wong. She'll take on Steph and Macy Callaghan in Round 1.
On the Men's side, Stab reported that rookie Ramzi Boukhiam injured himself at Backdoor, however there's been no word from either Ramzi or the Woz that he won't be starting. If he pulls out, Carlos Munoz, who injured himself while competing at Pipe last year, then cruelly missed out on an injury wildcard, will take his place.
There are two Men's wildcards, with one going to Imaikalani deVault, who was the highest ranked Hawaiian on the Challenger Series (that didn't advance). The other wildcard goes to Josh Moniz who won the 2021 (!) Pipeline Trials. We've no idea how that system works.
The Billabong Pro Pipeline starts on January 29th (local time), with the forecast jumping around a lot since we did our Long Range Forecast. Expect a sharper look at the waiting period in the next day or two.