By Jesse Faen/ASP
Pipeline, O`ahu, Hawai`i (Friday, Dec 8, 2000) -- The 30th anniversary Mountain Dew Gerry Lopez Pipe Masters waiting period (Dec 8-21) began today with a lay-day for competitors. The prestigious tournament at the world-renowned Banzai Pipeline entered its window of opportunity without swell, after last night officially honoring the champions of the 1980's with a ceremonial dinner. Adding to the importance of this year's Mountain Dew Pipe Masters is its position as the final World Championship Tour (WCT) event of 2000, with the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing title still to be decided, as well as the bottom end of WCT positions for 2001.
Making up the honor roll last night were all-but-one of the '80s Pipe Masters. Mark Richards (Aus-'80), Simon Anderson (Aus-'81), Michael Ho (Haw-'82), Dane Kealoha (Haw-'83), Joey Buran (USA-'84), Mark Occhilupo (Aus-'85), Derek Ho (Haw-'86), Tom Carroll (Aus-'87), and Rob Page (Aus-'88) were present, while Gary Elkerton (Aus-'89) was unable to attend due to being in transit. Later this week an expression session will be held showcasing this elite groups talent at Pipeline.
World Champion elect Sunny Garcia (Haw), who amassed enough ratings points nearly two months ago to clinch his first world title, enters Pipeline anxious for yet another major crown. With four Vans Triple Crown of Surfing titles already to his credit, the Hawaiian holds an almost unbeatable lead for a record-breaking fifth, since his astonishing back-to-back World Qualifying Series (WQS) wins this past month. First he took out the G-Shock Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa, followed by the Rip Curl Cup at Sunset Beach two days ago.
Garcia is the first surfer in 13-years to win back-to-back Triple Crown events. The last to do so was Elkerton, in 1987, and he'll be on-hand to see if his record is smashed this coming week.
"'Elko' is a great surfer in Hawai`i, so for me it's a privilege to be in the same place," said Garcia, after his win at Sunset. "I feel comfortable. Right now there is a lot of sand at Pipe, so hopefully it will run when Backdoor is good and we'll get some good rights."
The only person who can mathematically overtake Garcia for the Vans Triple Crown title is fellow Hawaiian Kaipo Jaquias, but the odds are stacked against him. Jaquias would have to emerge as one of two to survive the Pipe Masters trials and then go on to take first place in the event. In addition, Garcia would have to lose in his first heat.
Armando Daltro (Brz) also enters the Mountain Dew Pipe Masters a world champion. The Brazilian topped the WQS circuit this year with the final event at Sunset sealing victory. Though a late charge from Hawaiian Andy Irons had Daltro a nervous bystander, the title officially became his once Irons failed to beat Garcia in the final.
A complete list of those surfers who have qualified for the 2001 tour will be released soon. At this stage many variables still exist pending the outcome at Pipeline.
Further Information Contact: Jesse Faen Media Director, ASP Int'l
ESPN AIR DATES
Thursday, 12/14/00, 3pm, G-Shock Hawaiian Pro
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Last Modified: Saturday - 20001209.12:02 EST
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