2009 Billabong Pipeline Masters Day 4

The 2009 ASP World season is officially over. Mick Fanning is your world champion, Joel Parkinson is your Triple Crown champ, and after his win today, Taj Burrow is your new Pipeline Master.

"For an Australian to win the Pipe Masters is an awesome thing," said Joel Parkinson. "I'd give up my Triple Crown title win the Pipe Masters."

For as talented as Burrow is, he spent most of '09 in obscurity. All year long the spotlight was on Parko, Fanning and Kelly, so coming into the Pipe Masters he had nothing to lose and everything to gain.

"This is 100% as good as you can imagine," said Burrow from the podium. "This is the one event everybody wants to win, so it's amazing to be standing here. It's the best feeling I could ever imagine.

That being said, check out the blow-by-blow report from a dramatic final day at the Pipe Masters:

Billabong Pipeline Masters Final results:
1. Taj Burrow
2. Kelly Slater
=3. Dane Reynolds, Dean Morrison

1:56 p.m. HST: Taj Burrow wins, it's over. Then why is Slater still sitting out the back looking for corners? --JH

1:44 p.m. HST: Like I said before, Slater is one of the only surfers who can make a barrel in these conditions. The judges weren't too impressed however. Meanwhile, Burrow's alley oop is probably the first ever landed in the Pipeline Masters. --JC

1:20 p.m. HST: ASP Womens World Champ, Stephanie Gilmore just came down to the beach. She's watching the finals, most likely pulling for Taj Burrow.

She noted the irony that the Womens Triple Crown wrapped up with the Billabong Pro Maui (which she won) in pristine, rippable conditions, while the men are surfing windblown four-footers. But she, like this whole beach knows anything is possible.--JC

1:16 p.m. HST: Conditions aren't so hot. Burrow looks to be set on throwing big turns, while on his first two waves Slater was barrel hunting. The barrels aren't out there, and if this becomes a manuever-centric final Slater could be in a little trouble. Then again, Burrow's known for crumbling to Slater in finals, so who knows. Burrow's already dropped a 7.0. There are about 26 minutes to go. --JH

12:53 p.m. HST: Taj Burrow just ran down from the Billabong house to surf his heat. As he left the yard, World Champ Mick Fanning yelled out, "Yeah ledge (ledgend.) Go do it, brother."

The Australians may take it to each other pretty hard, but there's nothing they like to see better than a fellow countryman take down Kelly Slater. --JC

12:33 p.m. HST: Well, we do have Slater in the finals against Taj Burrow. As usual, Reynolds didn't seem too concerned about the outcome. Very Dane Reynolds.

While the Ho/Irons show is in the water, the sea breeze is kicking up. It might be a lukewarm ending to a smoking Vans Triple Crown, if not for the presence of Mr. Kelly Slater. This is his fourteenth Pipe Masters final. There are few surfers in the world who can find barrels in onshore conditions. But if Slater can do it at three-foot Sebastian Inlet, he can do it at Pipe. --JC

12:02 p.m. HST: Here come the onshore winds. Reynolds needs a 7-point score to get back Burrow, but thanks to deteriorating conditions it doesn't look like it's going happen. Plus, Reynolds isn't exactly clutch. It's looking like we're in for a Slater/Burrow final. What do you think the odds are on that heat? If Slater wins he'll have successfully defended his Pipe Masters title. --JH

11:39 a.m. HST: Slater actually did a chop hop on a throwaway wave. The Chop hop has been considered poor taste since 1995. Maybe he'll make it cool. I hope so. But I'm probably the only one. --JC

11:35 a.m. HST: Whose idea was this Legends heat, anyway? You have to give someone credit. Right now, two Pipeline Masters champs from the 1970s -- Rory Russell and Gerry Lopez -- are in the wate trading Pipe lefts. And it's a good thing, because there was about ten minutes there where neither Dean Morrison nor Kelly Slater caught a significant wave.

And this could only happen in surfing. Imagine of during the NBA finals, they just let Bill Walton and Kareem Abdul Jabbar play one on one while the action was at the other end of the court?--JC

11:28 a.m. HST: Slater's board is working so good out there. Not often you hear of a guy dominating Pipe on a 5'6", but then Slater's not normal. And speaking of not normal, he's finding waves out at Pipe right now that don't exist. Dean Morrison is slogging and dragging, while Slater looks fresh and energetic. --JH

11:07 a.m. HST: It's official, Joel Parkinson is your 2009 Vans Triple Crown champion. Last year Parkinson said winning at Triple Crown was the next best thing to winning a world title. You think he still feels like that? More on Parkinson and the Triple Crown later, Slater and Morrison are in the water. After both Hobgoods went down Florida's hopes are once again riding on the shoulders of Slater. We're just a couple minutes into the first semi, and Slater just took a licking over the falls. --JH

10:42 a.m. HST: Just spoke to Taj Burrow about the shifted judging criteria, particularly landing airs at Pipe, whilst Dane Reynolds was turning the well-known wave into a skatepark.

"Backdoor has one of the best ramps in the world. But yeah, it gets a little sketchy trying to land airs when its nearly dry reef," he laughed. --JC

10:37 a.m. HST: A little bit of added drama: if CJ Hobgood loses to Reynolds Parko will win the Triple Crown title. It's a little consolation to missing out on the world title, but winning the Triple Crown's no small feat. --JH

10:29 a.m. HST: "That board looks like something that came out of the space race," says Occy regarding Slater's board. --JH

10:26 a.m. HST: "I just hope he doesn't grab my leash," Slater on his upcoming semifinal heat against Morrison. --JC

10:21 a.m. HST: Slater's going to be hard to beat.

"He's riding a 5'6" today," says Channel Islands' Travis Lee. "The board was going to be a 5'11" Tangent model, but the blank didn't have enough volume, so this is what we came up with. It's the same board Julian Wilson rode in all that Surfline footage."

"This is the weirdest board I probably have," confesses Slater."It fits in the wave good." --JH

10:16 a.m. HST: Lance Burkhart references are running rampant around the Morrison/Hobgood comparison. Pundits are baffled as to why or how Morrison could get away with pulling Hobgood's leash in the dying seconds of their quarterfinal heat. Morrison says it was an accident, but does that matter? The fact is that somehow Morrison got tangled up in Hobgood's leash and it could have had a direct result in outcome of the heat. Morrison has a reputation for being a bit aggressive in the lineup, and maybe he just got a little over eager. --JH

10:12 a.m. HST: A bit of controversey down on the beach right now following the Damien Hobgood/Dean Morrison interference. It has been unofficially announced that Morrison won the heat. Hobgood is arguing that though he did not have priority, Morrison pulled his leash. To Hobgood's credit, he is maintaining his cool. His point is that he has to plead his case so that other competitors don't feel it's okay to grab a leash or otherwise obstruct a surfer just because they have priority. Waiting to hear from the Volcom camp on Morrison's position. --JC

9:40 a.m. HST: Dean Morrison in the water right now closely trailing Damien Hobgood. He had an emotional day on Saturday. Check out my interview with Morrison directly after his mate, Mick Fanning beat Joel Parkinson for the World Title. --JC

9:38 a.m. HST: Flynn Novak is the only Hawaiian left in this event. He partly qualified by winning the Sponsor Me Pro at Ala Moana last summer. He's got an awful lot of the North Shore pulling for him right now. Watched him surf Rocky lefts the other day, and he's just so confident right now. --JC

9:21 a.m. HST: What is Slater riding today? It looks like maybe a 5'8" quad with a bat tail. There's a black carbon fiber strip down the middle for strength, it appears the experiment continues. The board looks similar to what he rode at the U.S. Open. --JH

9:13 a.m. HST: Interesting stuff coming from the Judges' tower. ASP Head Judge, Perry Hatchett from Australia just had a meeting with the panel of judges. Regarding the conditions, he has made it very clear that manuevers will be rewarded heavily today as well as tube riding. "If the guy is out there doing doing some really explosive manuevers, I want to see that rewarded over someone who's just stalling, stalling (for the barrel.) Not just slaps to the beach -- I mean real manuevers, not just groveling," he announced, "Finish your breaky and lets get going." --JC

8:30 a.m. HST: Just spoke with North Shore lifeguard and legendary surfer/bodysurfer, Mark Cunningham about the conditions. He felt pretty confident that today's show wouldn't be an anti-climatic end to the Triple Crown. While he wasn't so sure about new swell filling in, he did expect the sun to come out and the wind to go offshore, making for some ample Pipe drama. --JC

8:24 a.m. HST: The call has been made, it's game on. It's a little slow and a little funky out there this morning, but there's still a few corners to be found. "It looks more like a beachbreak than Pipe," describes Dane Reynolds. "There's not really a set take-off spot, you're going to have to go out there and hunt some corners. Unless I see some bigger sets I'll probably ride my shortboard."

There are a few grumblings about when this final day should have been run, but given the weather front that's forecast to move over the island tomorrow, it's probably a good call just to fire through this thing today. For the quarterfinals they'll be running 50-minute, overlapping heats. All told there's probably about four hours of surfing left today. It's going to be interesting. If it was still pumping Pipe I'd put my money on Slater or one of the Hobgoods, but seeing as there are a few "playful" sections out there, don't be surprised if Reynolds or Taj Burrow light it up. --JH