WINS 5th Mtn Dew Gerry Lopez Pipe Masters Title!
Sunny Garcia 1999 Triple Crown Champion

ASP Official Results:
Round3(16) -|- Qtr Final -|- Semi Final -|- Final

Slater still The Master at Pipeline
StarBulletin story by Greg Ambrose with Tostee pix

SurferMag's Spread of Tostee Pipeline Pix

More PHOTOS later on this week....

and it's Hats-off once again as Slater wows em with new moves
posted 21Dec by Some Guy at The Beach, who was there as
Sunny Garcia talks about life, liberty and The Backdoor by Billy O'Neill
and if anybody has more newslinks to add? Let us Know!

lots More Triple Crown News

Banzai Pipeline, O`ahu Hawai`i (December 20, 1999)-- Florida's Kelly Slater rewrote the record books once again today when he won his fifth Mountain Dew Gerry Lopez Pipeline Masters title, defeating retiring Australian Shane Wehner in the final. In 29 years of the Pipe Masters, no-one has had a more successful career at Pipeline than six time world champion Slater, who has raised the winner's trophy in 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996 and today.

In four to six foot peaks and moderate south-west winds, Slater and Wehner worked their way through opposite sides of a stacked draw; Wehner finding success on the left-handers of Pipeline, and Slater surfing to trademark perfection on the Backdoor' right handers he has monopolized in recent years.

En-route to the final, Wehner fended off 1999 Vans G-Shock Triple Crown champion Sunny Garcia, Hawai`i, in the semi-finals, and Australian Matt Hoy in the quarter finals. Slater had an equally tough road to tread, clashing with Brazilian charger Victor Ribas in the quarters and, in the highlight heat of the day, world champion Mark Occhilupo, Australia, in the semi's.

In the final, Wehner opted for the left-handers again but they did not open up to offer the same tube-riding potential as they had up to that point. Slater again took the right-handers off the Backdoor, seemingly following the signs which pointed him out one perfect tube ride and into the next. The end result was a losing game of catch-up for 25-year-old Wehner, while Slater surfed his way to the highest heat score of this year's tournament 28.9 out of a possible 30 points with three brilliant scores of a perfect 10, 9.9 and 9 points. Wehner's three scores came in at 8, 7.25, and three points for a total of 18.25.

"I haven't won a contest on tour this year and I haven't won one since the first contest of 1998 (Billabong Pro, Australia), so I had good reason to be trying for this one," Slater said, after the final. "Pipeline is so exciting for me.

"Sometimes you surf a contest and all the signs are pointing you in the direction to win. It was one of those contests where it felt like that was happening."

Although disappointed by losing the final, Wehner was satisfied to have stepped off the ASP World Tour and into retirement with a strong result.

"It's the greatest feeling I've ever had," Wehner said. "I'm just glad I got to show what I could do at Pipeline. It's a sweet way to go out. This is actually my last event. I'm not going to be following the tour anymore."

The highlight of the day in the eyes of all was the semi-final heat between Slater and Occhilupo. Just when it looked as if Occhilupo had pulled off the impossible and realized another dream of taking down Slater to make the final, Slater turned the tables on him. With 15 seconds remaining in the heat, and in need of a near-perfect score, Slater forced Occhilupo into the second-last wave of the heat, only to set himself up for a perfectly scoring tube on the final wave and leave Occhilupo to watch the result slip through his fingers.

Occhilupo was disappointed with the loss but still high on his world championship victory.

"Words can't describe," Occhilupo said. "I feel really grateful and happy. I thought I had it in the bag in the heat with Kelly, but I guess that's how it goes. I'm just glad I won the world title."

Slater has less trouble finding the right words for Occhilupo: "Occy is Australia's surfing pride, perhaps the greatest ever surfer when he's on. I don't think people in America ever really realized how good he is. It's a magical comeback. I think it's truly the biggest thing in surfing. I have a huge amount of respect for what Occy's done. I'm truly amazed by it and I hope the American fans and industry can respect that. I love to see great things in surfing. I want to see people rise up and reach their potential.

"I was driven to try to win that heat against because obviously he's the current world champion. On one hand I don't feel I really have much to prove, but on the other hand I do want to prove myself at Pipe."

Equal third with Occhilupo following a semi-final loss was overall 1999 Vans G-Shock Triple Crown champion Sunny Garcia. Garcia secured a record-equaling fourth Triple Crown title with his performance today, matching the achievement of fellow Hawai`ian Derek Ho.

"To be the best guy in Hawai`i is still bigger than winning any other contest," Garcia said. "Hawai`i is the proving ground where everyone's trying to show what they've got. So second to the world title, this is the one everyone wants."

The Mountain Dew Gerry Lopez Pipeline Masters was the final stop on the 1999 Association of Surfing Professionals World Championship Tour, and the third and final jewel in the 1999 Vans G-Shock Triple Crown of Surfing.

A sincere Mahalo for all of your support of professional surfing this year. Wishing you a very safe and Merry Christmas from the 1999 Vans G-Shock Triple Crown of Surfing and we look forward to seeing again in 2000.


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