- WSL / Lauren Masurel

In the final 35-minute heat of the Men's Pipe Invitational, four Hawaiians battled for two coveted spots in the 2014 Billabong Pipe Masters.

Pipe specialists Hank Gaskell (HAW), Jamie O'brien (HAW), Makai McNamara (HAW) and Reef McIntosh (HAW) came out aggressively for the opening heat of the day. McIntosh and Gaskell traded the lead with midrange scores, but McNamara answered at the 18 minute mark with an 8.93 at Backdoor, placing him into second place.

McNamara's score was the highest single-wave score of the heat. ASP head judge Richie Porta noted the steepness of Backdoor during the early morning conditions, with the potential for big scores coming from Pipe's righthander.

McIntosh Talks Win Ahead of Pipe Masters
Reef McIntosh (HAW) and Makai McNamara (HAW) placed first and second, respectively, in the Final of the Men's Pipe Invitational.

In spite of snagging the highest single-wave score of the Final, Gaskell could not back up his 5.00 and finished the Final in fourth place. O'Brien had two midrange scores during the Final, but his patience worked against him, as he failed to find a wave to overcome McIntosh's two-wave total and McNamara's excellent-range score.

O'Brien, who finished in third position, still has an outside chance to compete in the main event with World Championship Tour surfer Travis Logie (ZAF) reporting an injury ahead of the Pipe Masters Round 1. According to Tour Director Renato Hickel, should Logie decide not to compete in Round 2 O'Brien will take his place.

The two wildcards will have little rest heading into the main event, with McNamara taking on World No. 2 Mick Fanning (AUS) in Heat 5 and McIntosh up against World No. 1 Gabriel Medina (BRA) in Heat 6.

Watch the Billabong Pipe Masters LIVE on this site through December 20th.

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