The Billabong Pipe Masters will be starting soon. However, the lead-up to the final event of the season wasn’t without drama - both good and bad.
The good: Young surfers Jack Robinson and Jamie O’Brien are well on their way to a promising career, winning the Pipe Invitational, becoming automatic wildcard entries in the Pipe Masters. Plenty of spectators are already impressed – they could be the next big ones. For now, they'll be up against 34 other competitors, six of whom are up for the world title - Mick Fanning, Filipe Toledo, Adriano de Souza, Gabriel Medina, Julian Wilson and Owen Wright.
The bad: Australian Owen Wright, one of the six world title contenders, was hospitalized after what taking multiple hits to the head during a practice session. After resting back at the team house, the world no. 5 woke up struggling to breath and visibly disoriented.
Aussie Matt Wilkinson explained Wright “got three or four on the head” and “it was like his body was completely out of fuel, it was pretty scary looking”.
With waves being dangerously big, it’s no wonder earlier in the week, German surfer Evan Geiselman was knocked unconscious after hitting a reef.
Many are aware of the problematic surf at Banzai Pipeline over the last few days. Perhaps it’s time to think about changing the venue for future Pipeline Masters.