John John Florence

Competitors reveled in the gently groomed four-to-six foot (1.5 – 2 metre) barrels of the Banzai Pipeline today as the remaining nine Round 2 heats of the Billabong Pipe Masters were completed before competition was called off for the day.

Event No. 10 of 10 on the 2009 ASP World Tour, the Billabong Pipe Masters marks the third and final stop of the Vans Triple Crown (an ASP Specialty Series) and the Hawaiians ruled the day’s proceedings, taking six wins in nine heats.

John John Florence (HAW), 16, wildcard and youngest the competitor in the Billabong Pipe Masters, was dominant once again today, effortlessly threading both the Backdoor rights and the Pipeline lefts with pancahe and aplomb to net the day’s highest heat total, an 18.90 out of a possible 20, to eliminate ASP World No. 27, Heitor Alves (BRA), 27.

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Aritz Aranburu

Round 1 of the Billabong Pipeline Masters, Event No. 10 of 10 on the 2009 ASP World Tour, commenced today in clean six-to-ten foot (2 – 3 metre) waves at the Banzai Pipeline.

The third and final event in the Vans Triple Crown (an ASP Specialty Series), the Billabong Pipeline Masters plays host to two dramatic story arcs: the showdown for the 2009 ASP World Title and the requalification race for the 2010 ASP Dream Tour. Amidst the world’s best surfers exists a spattering of Pipeline specialists, making the competition field particularly challenging to navigate.

Michael Picon (FRA), 30, current ASP World No. 39, is in need of an impressive result in the final event of the year to secure his position amongst the world’s elite in 2010. Today, the Frenchman put the rest of the draw on notice, first eliminating wildcard Manoa Drollet (PYF) before posting the highest heat total of the event, a 19.76 out of a possible 20, for a brilliant backhand tube-riding approach to take out Josh Kerr (AUS), 25, in the final heat of the day.

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Lee-Ann Curren

Lee-Ann Curren (Anglet, FRA), 20, has officially qualified for the 2010 ASP Women’s World Tour and becomes the third French and European surfer ever to enter women’s surfing elite, following Marie-Pierre Abgral (Hossegor, FRA) in 2002 and Caroline Sarran (Capbreton, FRA) in 2007.

With the final event of this year’s ASP Women’s World Tour wrapping-up in exceptional surf yesterday, the official list of elite members was officially released naming Curren in No. 14 as a member of next year’s full-time touring contingent.

Curren, who had to wait until the end of the Gidget Pro Sunset Beach to get the confirmation of her 2010 elite inception, will compete against the world’s best female surfers in 2010 including reigning three-time ASP Women’s World Champion and freshly crowned 2009 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing champion Stephanie Gilmore (Gold Coast, AUS).

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