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Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Pipe Masters Kicks off in Hawaii

Defending Billabong Pipeline Masters champion Andy Irons (Hawaii) bolted out of the gates with a blistering performance in the opening heat of the competition today. Making the most of the morning's clean waves of six- to eight-feet, a combination of solid scores earned at both Backdoor and Pipe netted him the highest heat score of the day: 17.5 out of a maximum 20 points.

"It's always good to be at Pipeline with three other guys out," said Irons. "Even though it's 4-feet, it's a pleasure to be out there. It's the end of the year, it's the last event, it's Pipeline and there's so much hype. It's one of the best waves in the world."

"It would be really nice to have big Pipe and Backdoor," said Kelly Slater. "I think when it's bigger it opens up the field a little more. When it's smaller like this it becomes easier for the tour guys." Current Vans Triple Crown Series ratings leader Bede Durbidge (Australia) continued his stellar run with a first round heat win against local Fred Patacchia, former world champion Mark Occhilupo (Australia), and Daniel Wills (Australia).

The men's Billabong Pipeline Masters runs concurrently with the women's Billabong Pro Maui, held at Honolua Bay, Maui. That event was postponed today due to small surf. These two events will wrap up the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing for 2007 and determine this year's Series champions. The women's Billabong Pro Maui will also determine the 2007 ASP women's world champion.

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