Billabong Pipe Masters Early Forecast
It's been nearly six weeks since Italo took out the Meo Rip Curl Pro, his third contest win for the year, though amazingly he's not in the running for the title.
It's a showdown between Gabs, Jules and Filipe heading into the Billabong Pipe Masters but the smart money says it's all Medina's to lose - gamble responsibly etc.
For a summary of the title scenarios heading into the Pipe Masters click here.
The past month has provided enough big wave action to whet our appetite, but will Pipe provide a spectacle deserving of a title showdown?
Through the middle of this week an oversized (12-15ft) long-period groundswell will strike the Hawaiian islands, but come the weekend, we'll be on the backside of the swell and winds look to become an issue.
Right now, a low linked to Wednesday's swell is sitting south of the Aleutian Islands and will weaken into this evening, however a burst of gales on its south-western flank should produce a reinforcing N/NW groundswell for Friday.
This swell will ease into Saturday, the first day of the waiting period, dropping from 6ft to occasionally 8ft at Pipe, and with that northerly direction, Backdoor will be a viable option. Meanwhile, fresh and gusty E/NE-NE trades will create windy and tricky conditions that may also favour Backdoor over Pipeline.
Sunday will be smaller and weaker with leftover 3-5ft sets and likely a lay day.
A new northerly groundswell is expected to arrive later in the day and peak Monday morning, generated by a strong storm developing north of the islands over the weekend. A great fetch of N/NW gales will be projected through Hawaii's northern swell window, with the swell coming in very north and likely offering 6-8ft sets Monday morning but again with gusty E/NE trades.
From here the outlook goes quiet until later next week when we should see a prolonged but mid-period and undersized northwest swell filling in. At its peak on Friday/Saturday (the 14/15th) we may see 4-6ft waves with favourable E/NE trades.
There's hints of a possible larger and stronger swell developing late in the waiting period from a strong low off Japan, but we'll provide running updates in the comments below.