There was plenty of action in the three rounds of men’s heats, including a perfect 10 ride from 10-time world champion Kelly Slater of Florida.
"There are really good waves when they come," he said. "There’s only one or two in a set, but they’re really good when they come. That 10 was a long one. It had that good north corner on it, and the right was just growing."
Australia’s Joel Parkinson — the two-time defending Triple Crown champion — was eliminated in the third round, but he remains in the lead for the Triple Crown title. The only other surfer with a shot is Australia’s Adrian Buchan, who advanced to the quarterfinals (where he will face Slater) and needs to win the contest to overtake Parkinson.
"I’d love to win the Triple Crown," Buchan said. "It’s a huge prize, but I have a lot of work to do. I do have a chance, though, and that’s all I need."
Maui’s Dusty Payne had a roller-coaster day. In his morning heat, he scored rides of 9.87 and 9.0 in the final 4 minutes to advance. In his afternoon heat, Payne was eliminated when Australia’s Kieren Perrow scored a 9.9 in the closing seconds.
Payne still was able to qualify for the 2011 ASP World Championship Tour based on his performance yesterday.
"Qualifying was the main thing, so I’m stoked I did that," he said. "But I still wanted to win the contest."
There are eight surfers remaining in the Pipe Masters contest; none is from Hawaii. The final is expected to run today, conditions permitting. For updated information visit www.triplecrownofsurfing.com or call 596-7873.