No extension for Pipe Masters; contest should run Thursday, Friday

The end of the waiting period is quickly approaching and with just two rounds of the Billabong Pipe Masters complete, all eyes are on the incoming swell. The conditions have been a bit disappointing and difficult to handle to this point but the window to finish the contest and crown the 2014 ASP world champion is closing. While there is precedent for extending a waiting period, organizers are confident that the next couple days will provide the requisite waves to complete the event.

“No, we will not be filing for an extension,” said Jodi Wilmott, Vans Triple Crown Communications Director on Tuesday. “We will have waves within the period to work with. Thursday and Friday look most likely at this stage.”

Indeed, there is a swell heading for Oahu’s North Shore on Thursday. The main issue, according to Surfline, is that the best parts of the swell will begin during the afternoon and peak overnight. They say it should hold on into Friday morning, but will drop off through the day.

“It should peak overnight on Thursday, which is kind of a bummer,” said forecaster Kevin Wallis in a Monday Surfline web interview. “The bigger bummer is that swell for Sunday really looks good. [It] potentially will be the best swell of the year, thus far, for Pipe. Long period, west, winds are good – a similar size to the swell we saw over the weekend, but the winds look a lot better.”

When I read that quote, I began to wonder if the ASP might possibly try to extend the period, given the importance and prestige of the Pipe Masters. But after reaching out to Ms. Wilmott, she said that won’t be the case. So strap in for plenty of heats over the next two days and we should be crowning our world champ and Triple Crown champ by Friday afternoon.

Twelve third-round heats will narrow the field from 24 to 12. Sebastian Zietz will be taking on former world champion and 2012 Pipe Master champion Joel Parkinson. Zietz may not need to win the heat to re-qualify for the 2015 world tour, but it could be the final step to that end.

All three world title hopefuls remain in the event. Gabriel Medina is set to face Triple Crown hopeful Dusty Payne, Mick Fanning will take on Jeremy Flores and Kelly Slater faces Alejo Muniz in the round’s final matchup.

Live action can be seen on Oceanic Surf Channels 250 and 1250.

Long layoff for ‘Bows ends Friday

The Hawaii Rainbow Warriors men’s basketball team hasn’t played since Dec. 6, but they’ll be back in action Friday night against the Chaminade Silverswords at the Blaisdell Center. That 13-day stretch will have given the ‘Bows plenty of time to think about a 90-70 loss they suffered in Salt Lake City against BYU, dropping UH to 7-3 on the season.

The last time Hawaii took on Chaminade was actually last year at the Kauai High School gym. In what was a very entertaining game with a boisterous local crowd, UH took charge late for a 94-84 victory. The ‘Bows have won five of the six all-time meetings between the two programs.

After the home contest, coach Benjy Taylor will be getting his team ready for the Diamond Head Classic. Hawaii starts off against Nebraska on Monday night at the Stan Sheriff Center in the last of four opening-round games. The tournament will start with George Washington versus. Ohio, followed by Colorado versus DePaul, then 11th-ranked Wichita State versus Loyola Marymount before the UH finale.

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David Simon can be reached at dsimon@thegardenisland.com.

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