Hana’s Eleogram Finishes 4th, Florence Wins Pipe Pro
By Rodney S. Yap
For the third consecutive year Hawaii’s John John Florence emerged grand champion of the Volcom Pipe Pro at Banzai Pipeline Saturday, eliminating Hana’s Olamana Eleogram, Chris Ward of San Clemente, Calif., and Australian Josh Kerr in the final.
The 20-year-old produced another world-class performance at the famed Pipeline, which happens to be the backyard of Florence’s beachfront home on the north shore. Given the unpredictability of the ocean and competitive heats, Florence comfortably attacked the overhead conditions with epic barrels that earned him the $20,000 first-place check.
Eleogram finished fourth and took home $5,500.
The win gives Florence a huge boost going into the upcoming ASP World Championship Tour as he pursues the 2013 ASP World Title. The Volcom Pipe Pro is a 5-star rated ASP event, but does not count towards the world title rankings.
With conditions favoring the rights at Backdoor on Saturday, Florence positioned himself perfectly for a pair of two great tube rides in the first three minutes of the 30-minute final, leaving his three opponents scrambling to keep pace. The early lead proved to be insurmountable as Florence slipped away from the pack, unnoticed, for his third scoring wave at Backdoor that would ultimately shut the door on the competition.
“It was definitely a special final for me, my third time in a row, I can’t even believe it,” said Florence. “I was just happy to make it through today really, because the waves were small but still really good. Surfing the four man heats in small, peaky conditions like that is really tough and it’s quite a battle to even get a wave. I’m glad I snuck some in.”
Earlier in the day, Florence survived a super tight quarter final clash with three other surfers who have tasted victory at Pipeline: Jamie O’Brien, Reef McIntosh, and Bruce Irons.
“That quarter final heat was a scary one,” he added. “So many of the guys that I really respect and have watched since I was so little. I knew I was going to have to go out there and paddle battle because it’s small. But I don’t want to paddle battle the guys I’ve been looking up to since I was little, so I kind of just went out and did what I could to sneak in a couple waves.”
Looking ahead to his upcoming season on the ASP World Championship Tour that starts in Australia in a few weeks: “I just hope it’s as good as last year. Last year was the best year of my life.”
There were moments of hope for Ward and Kerr, both of whom had been in brilliant form over the past two days of incredible surf. This was Ward’s second Volcom final in as many years. Prior to the final, Eleogram had been having the break-out performance of his life. But from the beach it was clear that Florence had tapped into a sixth sense in the final that can only come with a lifetime of watching and riding the most coveted surf spot on Earth. With that, he is sure to rule here for a very long time.
Among the other winners Saturday, guaranteeing themselves a berth in the most prestigious professional surfing event on the planet: the year-ending Pipe Masters in December. The eight highest placed Hawaii surfers in this event, who are not already on the ASP World Championship Tour, win the wildcards: O’Brien, McIntosh, Irons, Eleogram, Kahea Hart, Kaimana Jaquias, Marcus Hickman, and Joel Centeio.
VOLCOM PIPE PRO RESULTS
1st: $20,000 – John John Florence – 16.33 points (8.43, 7.9)
2nd: $10,000 – Chris Ward – 14.8 (7.93, 6.87)
3rd: $6,500 – Josh Kerr – 13.83 (8.33, 5.5)
4th: $5,500 – Ola Eleogram – 13.3 (6.87, 6.43)
1st & 2nd advance; 3rd=5th; 4th=7th
H1: John John Florence (HI); Chris Ward (USA); Kolohe Andino (USA); Reef McIntosh (HI)
H2: Josh Kerr (AUS); Olamana Eleogram (HI); Conner Coffin (USA); Dusty Payne (HI)
!st & 2nd advance; 3rd=9th; 4th=13th
H1: John John Florence (HI); Reef McIntosh (HI); Bruce Irons (HI); Jamie O’Brien (HI)
H2: Kolohe Andino (USA); Chris Ward (USA); Kahea Hart (HI); Masatoshi Ohno (JPN)
H3: Olamana Eleogram (HI); Dusty Payne (HI); Dale Staples (ZAF); Jesse Mendes (BRA)
H4: Josh Kerr (AUS); Conner Coffin (USA); Alex Gray (USA); Sebastian Zietz (HI)
Round of 32:
1st & 2nd advance; 3rd=17th; 4th=25th
H1: Jamie O’Brien (HI); Kahea Hart (HI); Tanner Gudauskas (USA); Eala Stewart (HI)
H2: Bruce Irons (HI); Kolohe Andino (USA); Joel Centeio (HI); Nat Young (USA)
H3: Masatoshi Ohno (JPN); Reef McIntosh (HI); Ricardo Dos Santos (BRA); Pancho Sullivan (HI)
H4: Chris Ward (USA); John John Florence (HI); Cory Arrambide (USA); Perth Standlick (AUS)
H5: Olamana Eleogram (HI); Josh Kerr (AUS); Patrick Gudauskas (USA); Cory Lopez (USA)
H6: Dale Staples (ZAF); Alex Gray (USA); Wiggolly Dantas (BRA); Krystian Kymerson (BRA)
H7: Conner Coffin (USA); Dusty Payne (HI); Kaimana Jaquias (HI); Leandro Bastos (BRA)
H8: Sebastian Zietz (HI); Jesse Mendes (BRA); Marcus Hickman (HI); Ezekiel Lau (HI)