With competition due to start any day now, the heat draw for the Vans Pipe Masters offers some intriguing matchups ahead. In case you need a quick refresh, the Vans Pipe Masters waiting period runs from December 8-20 on the North Shore of Oahu. The specialty event features 60 invitees hand picked by Vans, set to battle it out at one of the world's best waves for a place on the podium and a share of $420k.
The new format will include four-person heats, with each surfer guaranteed to surf three times against the same competitors. Their best three wave scores from any of the three non-elimination heats will determine their final score, with the highest-scoring four male and four female surfers advancing through to the Finals. The refreshed format allows fans the opportunity to see their favorite surfers perform in a unique setting as many of them prepare for the upcoming 2023 Championship Tour season. Here are the heats you don't want to miss.
Women's Heat 4: Moana Jones Wong, Molly Picklum, Sierra Kerr, Pua Desoto
In an unprecedented performance at last year's Billabong Pro Pipeline, Moana Jones Wong stunned the field and won the event as a wildcard, proving she is undisputedly one of the best women to ever surf Pipeline. However, with the new judging criteria giving equal weight to airs, turns, and barrels, Moana could be in trouble with two of the most talented female aerialists stacked against her, Molly Picklum and Sierra Kerr. After finishing third on the Challenger Series and cementing her spot on the 2023 Championship Tour, Molly Picklum is looking fired up. Could she have what it takes to overthrow the reigning Queen of Pipeline?
Men's Heat 1: Jamie O'Brien, Rio Waida, Koa Smith, Robbie McCormick 2004 Pipeline Champion and one of the all-time greats out at Pipe, Jamie O'Brien will be hard to beat if the conditions turn on and offer up the picturesque barrels that his home break is renowned for. Growing up on the beach right out front, Jamie knows the line-up like the back of his hand and will be one of the most lethal competitors in the draw, particularly with the no priority rule at play. An exciting newcomer to look out for in this heat is Rio Waida, who recently made history by becoming the first Indonesian surfer to qualify for the Championship Tour. With two event wins on the 2022 Challenger Series under his belt, Rio is sure to have some newfound confidence heading into this competition and his CT debut at the Billabong Pro Pipeline in January.
Men's Heat 5: Griffin Colapinto, Seth Moniz, Crosby Colapinto, Kaulana Apo
Sure to be a fan favorite, Griffin Colapinto will face off against younger brother Crosby in a battle for the ages. The boys are among an impressive list of sibling rivalries in surfing history, including legends like Andy and Bruce Irons, CJ and Damien Hobgood, and current CT surfers Samuel and Miguel Pupo. With Crosby putting in the work on the Challenger Series, it could only be a matter of time before we see these brothers facing off more frequently on the Championship Tour. Also not to be underestimated in this heat is Seth Moniz. Seth finished runner-up at last year's Billabong Pro Pipeline to Kelly Slater in one of the most unforgettable surfing moments in recent history. No doubt comfortable out at Pipe lineup and carrying deep Hawaiian roots, Seth will be looking to make his home crowd and family proud.