Jamie O'Brien

Prayers, plundered surfboards and Pipeline perfection were the order of the final day of the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS) 5-Star Volcom Pipeline Pro, and local boy Jamie O’Brien avoided the drama to walk away with the win.


O’Brien, 26, clinched his third Pipeline Pro title today to take home $16,000 and 2,000 ASP WQS ratings points. Surf for the final day was in the range of 10-15-foot wave face heights.

Australian pair Anthony Walsh and Mark Mathews were second and third respectively in the final, both breaking surfboards and forced to swim to the beach during the 45-minute bout.

Fourth place was Hawaii’s Danny Fuller, who posted the day’s only perfect 10 during his semi-final heat but was unable to exit several deep tubes in the final that might have scored the same.

Two high scores - 8.77 and 8.23 - sealed the deal for O’Brien, giving him a two-wave total of 17.0 out of a maximum 20.

The highest scoring ride in the final actually belonged to Mathews, who was runner-up to O’Brien here at this same event back in 2007. Despite a horrible start to the heat, Mathews regrouped on a backup board and ended up splitting a peak with O’Brien on the best wave of the final.

Mathews opted for the Backdoor, O’Brien took Pipe. Mathews’ was a super deep and long barrel, while O’Brien’s looked bigger but didn’t travel as far. Mathews was right back in the game with a 9.57 after that, but never managed to secure the second score he needed of 7.43, counting a 4.57 in its place.

"I thought I had a good wave and then I heard his score!" said Jamie, of the near-perfect score Mathews got going right on the wave they split.

"I love Pipeline. I kind of talk to it out there. You might think I’m crazy, but I just started praying it was going to go flat in the end, and Mark looks and me and says, ’I bet you’re praying that it’s going flat’, and I was like, yeah! (Laughs.)

"Mark was in the running. I’ve surfed with him out here before, he’s a great surfer, he was ripping. But it’s kind of funny, every time you think you have it, you don’t have it. I didn’t think I had it even with 10 seconds (to go).

"It’s my passion, year in and your out here, I just like surfing this wave. My goal is to win as many Pipe contests as I can and there’s only a few chances every year. I got one more, so I’m stoked."

Source: ASP World Tour