What's funny is at first, this wasn't even about the Pipeline. It was about television.
After just a year in contest promotion, Fred Hemmings knew if pro surfing was going anywhere, he needed big TV. ABC Wide World of Sports was already signed on for the Duke Classic, and Fred thought, well, they're here in Hawaii, let's give them an extra taste. He invented the simplest possible contest - six surfers, one heat - and called it the Hawaiian Masters. Like golf, right?
The ABC crew stuck around awhile, but they couldn't stay forever. Finally Fred called it, on a day when the surf was so bad, Gerry Lopez didn't show up.
Jeff Hakman, the ultimate pro, won the heat and $500, but it was a rough start for the world's greatest surf contest. Maybe all good things take time.