Pipe Masters Forecast And Whatnot
Yes it does start tomorrow, no it isn't a CT
Pipe Masters Forecast And Whatnot
The waiting period for the 2022 Pipe Masters begins December 8th local time. Yeah, that's tomorrow, Friday Oz time.
Before we get into the forecast, the contest first deserves an explanation as a lot of people are confused about its scheduling. Don't feel bad if this includes you as a Google search for 'Pipe Masters' returns with a date saying the contest starts on January 29th, 2023. Even calls it the 'Billabong Pipe Masters'.
So, to be clear, there are two contests: the Vans Pipe Masters, which begins tomorrow and is not affiliated with the Woz, and the Billabong Pro Pipeline, which begins late next January and is the first contest of the CT season.
The reason there are two contests stems from the fact that Vans owns the Pipe Masters intellectual property - i.e the name - as they have done since 1998. They also own the Triple Crown IP.
In 2021, the Woz overhauled the CT schedule, removing the Pipe Masters from its traditional December timetable, where it was the last contest on tour, to late January, where it became the first contest on tour. The change wasn't appreciated by many fans who voiced an opinion that Pipe deserves season-ending drama. Vans, reportedly, weren't au fait with the change either, as, for one, it scuppers their Triple Crown plans.
Admittedly, the Triple Crown has been in disarray for a few years, the contests split between CT and QS tours, then COVID came and the Triple Crown went digital. However, Vans harboured hopes to once again unite the three contests, only to find a late January waiting period yet one more difficulty to overcome.
Allegedly, there were other hurdles such as Vans making demands on the amount of local surfers and the number of wildcards, which would upset the consistency the Woz has achieved throughout the rest of the CT season. Each camp held firm with their demands and here we have the outcome: two contests, one called the Pipe Masters and run by Vans in the manner they wish, the other isn't the Pipe Masters but was up until two years ago - it's now called the Billabong Pro Pipeline.
Despite the split, the Vans Pipe Masters was sanctioned by the Woz, meaning CT surfers were given the all clear to surf in it. However, a raft of CT surfers, including Gabs, Italo, KS, JJF, Steph, and Filipe have all fobbed off their invites. The number of surfers turning down the opportunity to surf uncrowded Pipe would appear to indicate internal pressure. No proof, but loads of circumstantial evidence.
Then again, they may have all got an early heads up on the forecast.
Unfortunately, it looks like the Haleiwa Challenger contest used up all the contest luck. The succesive NW groundswells that hit Haleiwa - while simultaneously pressing the perfection button at Pipe - aren't expected to be repeated through the Pipe Masters waiting period.
The current storm track to the north-west is misaligned, with lows spawning off Japan being quickly swept away to the north-east, away from Hawaii.
This will result in small to tiny surf through most of the waiting period, with a possible swell producer showing for later in the window.
Coming off the back of a moderate sized N/NW swell today, tomorrow will be lucky to be 2-3ft. A small lift in mid-period NW swell is due on Friday but only to 3ft to possibly 4ft before fading Saturday.
The surf will then be small to tiny up until later Tuesday when the next small pulse of mid-period NW swell is due. Surf to 4ft is expected at this stage along with strong trade-winds, easing Wednesday from a similar size with lighter winds.
Into the end of the waiting period, the leading global forecasting models diverge regarding the deepening of a significant swell generating system, so there is hope for more contestable surf into the final days. This will be monitored over the coming week.
Last of all, the format for the new and supposedly improved Pipe Masters. We couldn't be arsed typing it out so the following has been swiped wholesale from the STAB website:
For the men, a complete round consists of ten 4-man heats. For the women, each round will consist of five 4-woman heats. All heats will be thirty minutes, and there is a possibility the men and women could run overlapping heats if conditions allow.
The surfers are ultimately looking for their 3 best waves, which can come from any/all rounds. Then, the top 4 ranked surfers after 3 rounds advance into the Final — the duration of which will be determined on the day. The winner of the Final will be determined by each surfer’s best two waves in the heat.
There will be no priority, though, should a surfer interfere with or drop in on another surfer, the interfering surfer will lose half of their top wave score. The penalty sticks with a surfer throughout the event, even if they get their best wave before or after the interference is called. Where a surfer incurs two interference penalties, their top two wave scores will be halved and they must immediately leave the water.
If that surfer makes the final, the interference call will not affect the final (unless they get an interference in the final.)
Good sportsmanship is a fundamental expectation of this event.
Surfers are encouraged to utilize the whole wave to its fullest potential, including tube-riding and progressive maneuvers above the lip line and on the wave.
Consistently demonstrating high levels of commitment and riding/performing maneuvers on the heaviest and most critical sections will be highly rewarded. Also heavily considered will, interestingly, be style — combining major maneuvers with a seamless flow, while maximizing speed and power.
“Creative Self-Expression” will also be rewarded, which considers whether or not the surfer consistently demonstrates a unique individual approach to riding and executing maneuvers.
Finally, wave selection and progressive maneuvers will —of course — be rewarded.