Brian Wise: a past hero of the present

Contestable waves have opened way for the first day of competition at the 2011 IBA Pipeline Pro. Bodyboarders returned to the waters of the North Shore in clean two-metre waves. Brian Wise was one of the standout performances.

The 90s' hero blasted his way through three rounds of competition in his first contest in three years. The former finalist (1996) was clearly stoked to be back in the competitive arena, and registered the day’s highest individual wave score, an 8.75 out of a possible perfect 10, on route to Round 4.

"The waves are really contestable. We have good ramps and really nice, long drawn out waves and I think we’ll get better waves right through out this contest," said Wise. "I’ve been back on the North Shore since October and I’ve had so many Pipe days, concentrating on my riding, working to improve my style and my manoeuvres," he added.

Charles and Harley Ward made history. The Australian brothers became the first Tasmanian riders to compete at the elite level. The riders from Shipstern Bluff progressed through to Rounds two and three respectively in the main event, before being eliminated.

"We came here to get good surf and try our best in the competition. I think everyone at home is pretty stoked we made it into the main event. We tried last year, but didn’t get in. Now this is the first event we’ve qualified for," said Charles.

"Tassie has variety of waves, but obviously the water’s a lot warmer here, it’s so bloody cold at home! It’s not crowded at all at home, but crowded here, so there are same major differences. And the overall level of riding is higher in Hawaii. In fact, the level is higher than just about anywhere else we’ve ever travelled," he said.

The day’s highest two-wave combined heat score belonged to South African campaigner, Sacha Specker who within five minutes of his 20-minute encounter, had secured an 8.25 and 7.5 to be sitting comfortably in front on a combined total of 15.75 out of a possible 20.

"I was lucky those waves came straight to me at the start of the heat. From there I didn’t need to chase any more scores. I actually played it really safe. I picked the biggest waves and just did what the judges wanted to see - clean, big moves," explained Specker.

Fellow South African, former two-time Pipeline Pro winner, Andre Botha, was a surprise elimination, bowing out in Round 3 in equal 49th place. Botha became the youngest-ever champion of the event when he first stormed the victory dais aged 17 in 1998.

Former two-time runner-up, Babby Quino was also a surprise loss. The Puerto Rican with a reputation for his big-wave prowess has battled recurring injury and looked to be in good form before bowing out in third place to Aussie duo Josh Garner and Alex Halsey, in Round 2.