A new large NNW swell filled in through the night and contest organizers and competitors arrived to pristine albeit challenging conditions at the famed break.
Italo Ferreira paddled out for the first heat of the day against good friend Jadson Andre and went on to win with an 8.53 two-wave total (out of a possible 10) to Andre’s 7.20. With a World Title on his shoulders, Ferreira handled the weight well and found mid-range scores alongside Andre.
“It was hard to sleep last night, I woke up at 1:30 a.m. and watched some movies,” said Ferreira. “It’s so hard out there, ya know. I tried to get the best waves. I got one good one but I fell in the end, the foam ball hit me. Every heat is history, let’s keep going. I hope in the next one I can do better than this.”
Ferreira has been working with legendary Pipeline veteran Shane Dorian to help work out the intricacies of Pipe and Backdoor, which showed in the Brazilian’s approach and wave selection today.
“We still working on this comp, Shane is a good guy and gave me a lot of details on Backdoor and Pipe and still helps me a lot,” Ferreira continued. “He’s still one of the best guys in on the Big Wave Tour, so happy to work with him, he’s a legend.”
Pipe Invitational wildcard, Imaikalani deVault , made two-time World Champion Medina work for the heat win after he earned the best wave of the exchange, an excellent 9.57. DeVault threaded multiple sections on a clean Pipeline wave and had a confident exit, but was unable to find a good backup score to edge out the Brazilian. Medina’s 17.07 scoreline was one of the highest in the event and he locked in on multiple frontside barrels to defend both his World Title and Billabong Pipe Masters title.
“That was a fun heat, a really tense heat because he got a nice wave in the end,” said Medina. “I’m happy to surf these kinds of waves with another guy. It was really fun, I just want to thank God for another heat and I’m looking forward to the next opportunity.”
World No. 5 Andino closed out the day with a win over Sebastian Zietz (HAW) in Heat 16. The battle saw Andino facing World Title dreams while Zietz fought for requalification to return to the 2020 CT. After a day of big scores and Perfect 10s, only mid-range scores were thrown down. Andino narrowly edged out Zietz with a 1.84-point lead. Zietz exits the final event of the season in 17th place, not enough to return to the CT next year.
“There were heats today where guys were losing with 9.5s, so I’d definitely rather have a low-scoring heat and come out on top,” said Andino. “It was quite a bummer that I had to come up against Seabass because obviously, I want to do well in this event but he’s not going to be on Tour next year and I just love having him on tour, he’s such a good guy so it’s quite a bummer but I’m just really stoked to be in Finals Day.”