Although Pipeline didn't show its finest face on Day One of the Billabong Pipe Masters, the tension among surfers fighting for requalification provided ample drama. Unfortunately, a series of Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour top seeds showed no mercy against those on the cusp. By day's end, Jadson Andre (No. 25), Kanoa Igarashi (No. 24), Keanu Asing (No. 23), and Nat Young (No. 22) were all relegated to Round Two. And while Kanoa and Jadson have already sealed a 2017 CT slot via the Qualifying Series, Nat and Kenau need to save their jobs at Pipe.
But requalification aside, a handful of Pipe specialists were able to find early form. 2016 World Champ John John Florence and 7-time Pipe Master Kelly Slater both dismantled Backdoor on their way to solid Round One wins. Florence, however, looked particularly lethal in his backyard. And with Frederico Morais now facing Round Two, John stands to overtake the Triple Crown Leader.
Steph Gilmore, Tyler Wright, and Carissa Moore also posted impressive performances in the Pipeline Women's Invitational. Despite hard-charging efforts from Carissa and Tyler, it was Steph's ultra-smooth forehand attack that took the win.