From Surfer Magazine

M.R. GOES B.I.G.: 1985 and 1986
After winning his fourth world title in 1982, Mark Richards, a gangly, graceful surfer from Newcastle, Australia, all but disappeared from professional surfing. But in 1985, Richards made a devastating comeback at the mobile Billabong Hawaiian Pro. He dominated the early rounds at Sunset Beach, charged a huge day at Waimea Bay, and then returned to Sunset to win the final. The next year, he came back and did the exact same thing, only this time the waves were even bigger. Here's how Richards described it to SURFER Magazine in 1992: "I rode the biggest wave of my life that day (at Waimea). We'd gotten used to having events in crap waves. All of a sudden, boom, we're faced with the spectacle of 20-foot surf. It was a full shock to the system. I'd say it was the most memorable contest of my career." Photo: Rob Gilley.


In 1995, the Pipe Masters was once again the setting for a stunning world title comeback. Going into the final event of the year, Hawaiian Sunny Garcia led the World Championship Tour ratings, with Rob Machado second and Kelly Slater third. Surfing at home and at Pipe, Garcia appeared to be a shoe-in for his first world title. But then the impossible happened. Garcia lost in a first-round shocker to Australian Mark Occhilupo. Now the title was between Machado and Slater, who met head to head in the semifinals with the world title on the line. Slater was flawless, scoring two perfect 10s and a 9.67 while surfing the rights at Backdoor. Machado was only slightly less flawless with some deep tubes on the lefts.

Late in the heat, Machado conceded defeat with unprecedented style: emerging from another perfect Pipeline tube, he aimed for Slater, who sat on his board in the channel with his arms in the air, cheering on his friend. Machado timed his cutback just right, slapping high-five with Slater as he surfed past.
Photo: Rick Doyle.

In one of the greatest comebacks in pro surfing history, Slater went on to beat Occy in the final and take his third world title. Professionalism's finest hour.

In 1983, a very determined but relatively unknown kid from Carlsbad, Calif., named Joey Buran came to Hawaii determined to make history. Triple Crown Director Randy Rarick recalls going to the beach with Bernie Baker before daybreak on the morning of the final to check the surf. "We were sure we'd be the only ones down there," Rarick said,
"and we were shocked to find this kid with scraggly blond hair, running up and down the beach, pumping his fist and hyping himself up and doing the complete Rocky imitation. We thought he was nuts. As soon as there was enough light to see, he was in the water." In a final that Triple Crown founder Fred Hemmings called "the most exciting contest we've seen since the Smirnoff at Waimea in 1974," the scraggly kid paddled out and completed his mission, becoming the first Californian to win the Pipe Masters in over a decade. Photo: Steve Wilkings.

More Greatest Moments

Back to The Beach

Last Modified: Friday 11/28/97 1729 HST
The content of these pages provided by exclusive permission of and
Copyright 1997 Surfer Mag / Triple Crown Of Surfing
Produced OnLine by HoloHolo Internet Publishing, all rights reserved