Jeff Hubbard: Pipe specialist

Jeff Hubbard has conquered the 2011 IBA Pipeline Pro, in Hawaii. In one-to-two metre waves, Hubbard earned 2000 valuable GSS ratings points and the lead of the world bodyboarding rankings. This is the third Pipeline Pro title claimed by Jeff Hubbard, after taking it in 2002 and 2006.

His victory was an incredible come-from-behind effort that saw him snatch the title in the dying moments, from a host of hungry rookies: Tom Rigby, Jared Houston, and Dallas Singer. "I felt like I was surfing form behind all day. I finally got in a rhythm in the finals at the very last minute. But I was in combo-land for 17 minutes. I thought to myself, ‘what’s happened?’. I just felt totally out of rhythm again. I thought I have to dig deep, it’s my local spot, it’s the final – no one was giving an inch. So I just tried harder and it all fell together," said Hubbard.

Watch the final video highlights of the 2011 IBA Pipeline Pro, here.

With seven minutes remaining in the 35-minute decider, Hubbard’s chances looked dashed. In fourth place and requiring two waves to have a hope of winning, it looked like debutant and upstart, Rigby, would have his first-ever taste of victory.
Then Hubbard did the unthinkable, pulling a near-perfect 9.75 ride out of a possible 10, for a huge ARS (air, reverse spin) followed by two rolls, to push himself into third place and contention.

Two minutes later, Hubbard was again up and riding, pulling into a deep Backdoor cave before launching to the heavens, to pull the ultimate Houdini act, earning a 9.5 from the judges and victory.

"It’s probably the most exciting final I’ve ever had out here. I’m over the moon! To come from so far behind and then take first place, I’m really feeling it right now. Wow!”

Rookie Rigby was on the verge of history. He earned his spot via his local Australian qualifying series and surfed his way through nine rounds qualify for his first ever Grand Slam final. "I’m living in a dream world right now. I really had no expectations of making the final. To beat Hardy in the quarters, he has always been a hero of mine, was awesome. And Amaury, the world champ. It’s been an amazing day. Congratulations to Hubb, I’m just stoked to be able to surf a final against all these guys, It’s pretty surreal." said Rigby.

Jared Houston finished third at Pipeline last year during his debut appearance at elite level and matched that effort again today. Fourth place went to Australian Dallas Singer.

The next event on the IBA World Tour is scheduled for April 14-20 at The Box, a notorious shallow, right hand reef break situated near Margaret River, West Australia. The Box event will also be the first to feature the new three-round non-elimination format that will be utilized at each remaining location on the 2011 GSS tour.

MEN’S GRAND SLAM SERIES

FINAL - IBA PIPELINE PRO

1st Jeff Hubbard (Haw) 2000pts $6,000
2nd Tom Rigby (AUS) 1720pts $3,800
3rd Jared Houston (ZAF) 1460pts $3,000
4th Dallas Singer (AUS) 1340pts $2,000

SEMI-FINALS
SF1: 1st Tom Rigby (AUS), 2nd Dallas Singer (AUS), 3rd Mark McCarthy (ZAF), 4th Yeray Martinez (CNY)
SF2: 1st Jeff Hubbard (Haw), 2nd Jared Houston (ZAF), 3rd Pierre Louis Costes (FRA), 4th Guilherme Tamega (BRA)