The Qualifying Series (QS) can take its toll on competitors. With shorter windows than the Challenger Series or the Championship Tour (CT), events will run in testing conditions. But, when it comes to this year's HIC Pipe Pro, Hawaii events have the time to cherry pick days and make sure competitors get highly-contestable conditions.
This marks the seventh-consecutive lay day for the HIC Pipe Pro as event organizers await opening day and right there with them is surfer representative, 4X Jaws Challenge victor, Billy Kemper.
"We're very grateful we have regional event at Pipeline this year with the way it's gone with COVID and all the different protocols under our government," said Kemper. "Obviously the forecast isn't ideal. There's no traditional, big Pipeline swells but I just talked with Marty (Thomas) and was telling him that compared to some of the QS events I've had to do around the world - this is A+."
"For the future of our surfers, any opportunity to surf at home is a good opportunity," added Kemper. "Especially when you're able to surf in your backyard and I think we have a nice north swell filling in tomorrow which will kick off the event. We'll have some Backdoor barrel opportunities and big turns."
Putting his time in at the North Shore throughout his career, Kemper has been a pupil of its breaks and none moreso than Pipeline. He added that going into the weekend, swell coming out of the more westerly direction with lighter east winds will be a fun event. But, without the world-renowned Triple Crown, the qualification process is a bit different for Hawaiian competitors.
"I definitely think we'll see some good little barrels and some high-performance surfing," sai Kemper. "Anytime I'm able to compete at home I'm psyched. No Triple Crown being there is rough just knowing I can't qualify using those three big events. But, winning this event and getting a wildcard into the Pipe CT is massive and would be a dream come true, and that's all I'm thinking about.
The next call will be Wednesday, December 15 at 7:00 a.m. HST.