Balaram Stack: the 2022 Pipe Masters men's champion | Photo: Red Bull

Balaram Stack and Molly Picklum have taken out the 2022 Pipe Masters at Banzai Pipeline on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii.

The most prestigious surf contest on the planet crowned two new champions in four-to-six-foot surf.

Strangely, this year the world's most renowned and celebrated surfing contest ran independently of the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT).

The 2022 Pipe Masters was an invitation-only specialty competition featuring 60 male and female athletes, focusing on Hawaiian performers.

The event also introduced a leaderboard-style format that saw surfers competing in three non-elimination heats throughout the contest window.

Athletes were judged equally on the quality of barrels, airs, and turns, and there was no priority system.

In the non-elimination heats stage, each surfer's three best wave scores counted toward the overall heat score.

In January, the surfing elite will only compete at the 2023 Billabong Pro Pipeline, the opening stage of the new professional surfing season.

Stack and Picklum Shine

The conditions were tricky for the finals, with strong winds and rain storming the line-up, interferences, and some of the best riding opportunities being Backdoor waves.

Thirty-one-year-old East Coast surfer Balaram Stack won the men's final after defeating Griffin Colapinto, Kaulana Apo, and João Chianca.

"I'm shocked. I don't really know what to think. I need a minute to settle in. I'm stoked my mother is here. I'll be thankful and shocked for a while," said the New York-based athlete.

In the women's event, Australian Molly Picklum beat Bettylou Sakura-Johnson, Caity Simmers, and Carissa Moore.

"This is the greatest moment of my career so far," expressed Picklum.

"Although I was holding the trophy, I feel like we won by pushing women's surfing. I'm honored to have done this alongside such a strong, inspirational, cool class of women!"

2022 Vans Pipe Masters | Finals

1. Balaram Stack (USA) 42.30
2. Griffin Colapinto (USA) 35.10
3. Kaulana Apo (HAW) 25.70
4. João Chianca (BRA) 24.60

1. Molly Picklum (AUS) 30.00
2. Bettylou Johnson (HAW) 20.30
3. Caitlin Simmers (USA) 18.50
4. Carissa Moore (HAW) 18.10

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