Kelly Slater wins Billabong Pipeline Masters, Chris Ward second
Kelly Slater is the winner of the Billabong Pipeline Masters -- for a record sixth time.
Slater, competing in an ASP World Tour event for the first time since clinching a ninth world title in October, defeated San Clemente's Chris Ward in 8- to 10-foot waves at the legendary Banzai Pipeline on Oahu's North Shore.
It was far from an epic final, held in the rain and sloppy surf, and full of closeouts. Good scores were nearly impossible, but Slater is a master at squeezing the most out of what's available. His two-wave score of 14.00 included a late tube ride for a 6.83 to put Ward in a combination situation. Ward's top wave score was a 3.53.
Another beneficiary of Slater's triumph was Australia's Joel Parkinson, who earned the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing title based on points. Ward would have won the title if he had been able to beat Slater. That's always a monumental IF.
-- Pete Thomas
Photos: Kelly Slater (top photo) celebrates winning his sixth Pipeline Masters competition, while San Clemente's Chris Ward (second photo) settles for second despite this tube ride on a rainy, uncharacteristically green-water day at Pipeline. Credit: ASP Rowland/Covered Images