Day 4 Highlights from the 2019 Volcom Pipe Pro
BANZAI PIPELINE, Oahu/Hawaii (Tuesday, February 5, 2019) – Jack Robinson (AUS) was crowned the 2019 World Surf League (WSL) men’s Qualifying Series (QS) Volcom Pipe Pro QS 3,000 champion outright in pristine, 6-to-8 foot (10-foot plus wave faces), occasional plus, WNW swell at Pipeline and Backdoor over a heavily-stacked finals day field. The 21-year-old fulfilled a part of his destiny with this victory, known for charging waves of consequence from a young age at his home of Western Australia. But, he’s also put his time in at the mecca here on Hawaii’s North Shore and finally capitalized on that experience.”
“I’m on top of the world, couldn’t have more confidence to start the year off with a win here — it’s about as good as it gets,” Robinson said. “It’s the hardest contest all year and Pipeline I feel like chooses guys. If a wave comes it comes. You have to be so on to win this contest. You can do all the preparation in the world to be ready, but if the wave doesn’t come to you then you’re left on the outside looking in. Thank you to everyone for coming out and supporting me. I couldn’t do this without my dad, my friends, my girlfriend — all the local boys here make me feel at home.”
Robinson took on Oahu, Hawaii’s, own Barron Mamiya, fellow Australian Reef Heazlewood, and the first Volcom team rider to make a Final at this event, and known Pipe charger, Balaram Stack (USA). An early start for Robinson garnered him a 7.00 (out of a possible 10) before Mamiya topped that with a 7.50. Heazlewood got in the mix with an excellent 8.00 to take the lead, but Robinson was quick to respond and threw himself over the ledge on a Backdoor bomb to post a 7.87 and ultimately claim the victory. Now, Robinson looks to carry this momentum into the rest of 2019.
“I feel confident and just want to get to the World Tour already,” Robinson added. “That’s where I’m meant to be I feel. It’s going to be a lot of hard work to get there, but I feel like it’s time.”
The 2019 Volcom Pipe Pro champ also posted the event’s highest heat total of a near-perfect 19.57 (out of a possible 20) in Round 5 to start the day’s proceedings.
Runner-up Mamiya, along with Robinson, posted a Perfect 10 en route to his terrific finish and set himself up for a big year on the QS. The 19-year-old also earned the Banzai Bowl “Life in the Bowl” award for best barrel with that Perfect 10. It marks a great start for the young, upcoming QS threat as he has his goals set high heading into a full season — his first full-time year away from the Pro Juniors.
“I think I had a great day even though I didn’t win, obviously I wanted to, but I had three really great heats that I’m really excited about,” Mamiya said. “Pipeline is a very special wave to me and I’ve always studied the best guys out here like John (John Florence), Jamie (O’Brien), and Kelly (Slater), and I just want to surf like them out here. Last year I had a hard year and didn’t make any heats really, but this is a big confidence booster and I’ll look to keep backing this up.”
Starting the year off with a bang, Heazlewood is also on the watchlist for 2019 threats and proved it today — taking down defending event champion Joshua Moniz (HAW) in the Quarterfinals en route to his third-place finish. Now, the Australian plans for a big run at home with two QS 6,000-level events awaiting, along with another QS 3,000.
“Just kept getting through and thinking, one more heat, one more heat,” Heazlewood said. “Then the next thing I know I’m in the Final. It felt like just another heat, but with the best guys out there which was awesome — couldn’t have wanted anything less. It was just beautiful conditions and to spend so much time out there was awesome. I can’t believe that it’s worked out this way and now I just want to keep it rolling throughout the year.”
One of Pipeline’s most notable winter season chargers, Stack, made his first-ever QS Final in dynamic fashion with a buzzer-beater in the Semifinals to join eventual third-place finisher Heazlewood. The Final didn’t quite come together for the New York, N.Y., born-and-raised surfer but it was a dream come true for Stack to represent for the house he’s stayed in for countless winters on the North Shore.
“This was beyond any of my expectations and it’s crazy just having everyone here for my first Final,” Stack said. “It’s my favorite wave in the world and you couldn’t ask for much more. I’m taking this home forever. Right when I was going down for the heat every time, all the boys just yelling was probably the best part (laughs). That was just incredible and those boys were pushing it all event so to share that with them was great.”
The finalists: Balaram Stack, Reef Heazlewood, Barron Mamiya, Jack Robinson
Finishing off notable moments, North Shore, Oahu’s, own Kalani David earned the prestigious Todd Chesser Charger of the Event Award, presented by the late Chesser’s beloved mother Jeannie for showing heart and remaining humble both in and out of the water while putting on a great display of surfing.