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How The World’s Best Prepare for the Billabong Pipe Masters

In Hawaii, Oahu, Portfolio, Surf, Writing by Steve0 Comments

Call it the “Super­bowl of Surf­ing,” for two weeks in Decem­ber, the entire surf­ing world con­verges on Oahu’s north shore to wit­ness the biggest show in the water: The Bill­abong Pipe Masters.

The Bill­abong Pipe Mas­ters is the final stop on the ASP world tour which deter­mines who holds the title of World Cham­pion. Win­ning at Pipe can be a life-changing moment that will etch a surfer’s posi­tion in the record books as one of the undis­puted best.

I wanted to know, as I’m sure many oth­ers do as well, how the best of the best pre­pare for the biggest, pos­si­bly most life chang­ing con­test of the year. Intense yoga asanas? Affir­ma­tions in front of the mir­ror? A nap? So I hit the beach dur­ing Day 1 of the Pipe Mas­ters to see what the heat win­ners were doing to set them apart from the rest of the pack.

JOEL “PARKO” PARKIN­SON (AUS) –
Parko, the 2012 World Cham­pion, did not com­pete on Day 1 as he qual­i­fied for later rounds. So instead of ask­ing what he did that day, I just asked his usual pre-contest rou­tine that earned him the title of last years world champ:
“Not much, really.  I just go for a surf on my own, get a feel for the waves.  Other than that I just cruise and have breaky.”
MITCH CREWS (AUS)
Mitch is a Ris­ing Rookie on the world tour for next year who made the cut for Pipe with a stand­out per­for­mance on the qual­i­fy­ing cir­cuit. He will be one to watch on the world tour in 2014.
“I had some bananas, a cup of cof­fee, then just was cruis­ing, and doing some stuff on my lap­top for a bit.”

GRANGER LAR­SON (HAW)
This Maui native won his heat against fel­low Hawai­ian Kalani Chap­man. The 23-year old is sure to be a fix­ture in pro cir­cuits for many years to come.
“I went for a surf, but it was pretty crowded.  So I had break­fast — Cereal, eggs, and a Kale Smoothie”. 
TAN­NER GAU­DASKIS (USA)
Tan­ner (and his beard) have the good for­tune of stay­ing in the Vans house right in front of pipeline, where the team pro can get out and check the con­di­tions from his bal­cony. His morn­ing strat­egy seemed to pay off, as he won his first heat against Brazil­lian Ricardo dos San­tos. His morn­ing warm-up?
“I cleaned the kitchen.”
BEDE DURBAGE (AUS)
Bede is a for­mer Pipe Mas­ters cham­pion from 2007. He has rock­star sta­tus in Aus­tralia, and even in Hawaii he can’t escape the TV cam­eras and ador­ing fans shout­ing out his name. But he’s still a gen­uinely nice guy who was nice enough to tell us what he did in the morn­ing, before win­ning his heat against Brazil­ian Jad­son Andre.
“I had a later heat so I took my time get­ting ready by hav­ing a free surf.  Then I came in and watched a few heats online, then went back out for another free surf”.
MIGUEL PUPO (BRA)
Miguel is only 22 but is ranked among the top 34 in the world, hav­ing the honor of secur­ing a spot on the 2013 world tour. He defeated fel­low Brazil­ian Alejo Muniz with one of the best waves of the day, an 8.77 scor­ing wave to advance to the next round. His morn­ing routine?
“I was just hang­ing out on the couch with some of my team­mates on the Hur­ley team.  We made some Mex­i­can food.  I was just try­ing to relax.  It paid off, I think.”
ADAM MELLING (AUS)
Adam was able to defeat tour vet­eran Damien Hob­good in his heat, which is no easy task con­sid­er­ing Damien once held the honor of high­est two-wave con­test score of 19.9. But this year, Adam was able to shine with a cou­ple excel­lent waves to advance to the next round.  His warm up was fairly basic:
“I came down for an early surf, then came back to have a bunch of food — A bagle, with avo­cado, tomato, a cou­ple eggs, and an eng­lish muf­fin.  That’s about it.”
So as you can see, the surfers like to surf, even before com­pet­ing on the biggest stage of the year.  Other than that, eat­ing a big meal seemed to be the trick, as well as try­ing to relax before show­cas­ing their skills before their fel­low com­peti­tors and spec­ta­tors around the world.
What do you do when the pressure’s on? Is it sim­i­lar or dif­fer­ent to these top surfers? Let us know!