The morning fired out continuous barrels as Round 1 of the Volcom Pipe Pro got underway in clean 8-10 foot surf and light offshore easterly winds. The second event of the Hawaii Qualifying Series season, the Volcom Pipe Pro offers up to 3,000 regional ratings points, a slot into the 2016 Pipe Invitational and with it the potential of qualifying for the 2016 Billabong Pipe Masters, the final stop of the Championship Tour.
One of the youngest competitors of the event, Maui's Imaikalani deVault, 18, advanced behind North Shore mainstay Kai Mana Henry, 37, with a relatively small heat total. The teen is working to qualify into the QS6,000 events at the end of the year and talked about the benefit of competing here in the islands.
Koa Smith got the crowd on their feet with two of highest scores of the day back to back - a 9.00 and a 9.67 - to storm his heat against Kiron Jabour, Noa Mizuno and Kaito Ohashi. The Kauai native used prime positioning to his advantage and ended with an excellent heat total of 18.67, one of the highest of the opening day of competition.
The wildcards of the event included Volcom teamriders Gavin Beschen and Balaram Stack, who both earned spots into Round 3, while North Shore's Koa Rothman, 22, earned his berth into the Round of 96 by besting the 6-man Volcom Qualifier heat against Tom Dosland, Kawai Lindo, JD Irons, Dave Wassel and Derek Ho. The highest score of the heat - an 8.33 - saw Rothman win the third wildcard slot into the competition.
Bruce Irons advanced to Round 3 after a nail biting heat with Torrey Meister, Makuakai Rothman and Seth Moniz. Rothman and Moniz had the lead for the majority of the 25-minute heat until Meister and Irons split a peak in the last ten seconds and scored a 5.27 and 7.17 respectively. The small scores were enough to bump them up to first and second place.
Official forecaster, Surfline.com, predicts an easing NW swell over the weekend with head high waves and moderate easterly trade winds. Contest organizers will convene tomorrow morning at 7am to make a decision on whether the contest will resume at 8am.