It seems like yesterday surf fans around the world were treated to the spectacle of Pipeline to decide Gabriel Medina as the new World Champ. Now, it's the Qualifying Series' (QS) turn to take over one of surfing's meccas once more for the tenth annual Volcom Pipe Pro Men's QS 3,000.
This year, the event includes 144 competitors on hand to vie for the prestigious event title and valuable points toward their 2019 Championship Tour (CT) qualification campaigns.
Can Josh Moniz Make it Two in a Row?
Moniz, the defending event champ, leads a star-studded lineup as he takes on some of Pipeline's most notable chargers including two-time Pipe Pro runner-up and 2010 winner Jamie O'Brien, North Shore's most unpredictable competitor Mason Ho, 18-year-old stand out Barron Mamiya, former event winner and 2019 CT rookie Soli Bailey, and former CT competitor Dusty Payne.
Moniz is ready and waiting for the starting horn at one of the world's most famous waves alongside his younger brother, and 2019 CT rookie Seth.
"It's pretty crazy to be coming into this year at the Volcom Pipe Pro as the defending champion," Moniz said. "Coming into events at Pipe I don't really look at it as an event I'm trying to win like a normal contest. I just try to get as many waves as I can and to just have fun. I would love to go back to back, but I'm just trying to get as barreled as I can before heading out for a full QS year. All the history of the sport that's happened at this wave is what makes this event so special. After watching Seth (Moniz) smash the QS last year and qualify, I can't wait to try and get there myself. I'm sure watching him on the CT this year will get me fired up to join him."
Payne is Back
Following his horrific wipeout at Backdoor last year, former CT competitor Dusty Payne returns to Pipeline once more after a tough go at the Pipe Invitational. The Maui, Hawaii, native looks to start his year off in the right direction with a full QS season awaiting him.
"I'm really excited to get going this year with Sunset and then the Volcom Pipe Pro," Payne said. "I feel like I've had enough time away from competition and I'm ready to go. After surfing in the Invitational, it was challenging but I'm looking forward to this one. I'm just happy to be healthy and my goal this year is to give myself a fighting chance at qualifying at the end of the season."
Hawaii/ Tahiti Nui Tour Manager Marty Thomas will be on the calls each morning and work with athletes to ensure competition is run in the best conditions during the twelve-day waiting period.
"The North Pacific has been very active this winter surf season providing swell after swell," Thomas said. "We'll be keeping a close eye on the forecast as we near the start of the waiting period, and if the current trend continues we should have some great waves for this year's Volcom Pipe Pro."
In addition to consistently delivering some of the best barrels and most historic heats on the QS, the Volcom Pipe Pro is one of the most popular and most watched events. It's also Deep Blue-certified, meaning that it sets the standard for sustainability & minimizing environmental impact. In 2016, it was recognized by the WSL as the season's cleanest, most "Ocean Friendly" event. For 2019, Volcom's commitment to sustainability goes even further to make the Volcom Pipe Pro not just the most exciting but also one of the most progressive events in the sport. "We are so excited to once again host the Volcom Pipe Pro in 2019. There have been so many historic moments from events past that we aim to exceed in the future," says Volcom's VP of Surf Brad Dougherty. "Our goal is to produce a world-class event while continually pushing our sustainability efforts. Pipeline is one of the most prolific waves in the world and we are honored to be part of such an amazing contest."
The Volcom Pipe Pro QS 3,000 event window opens January 29 and will run through February 10.