Two-time WSL Champion Tyler Wright (AUS) surfing at Banzai Pipeline. The holding period for the Billabong Pro Pipeline opens tomorrow, Saturday, January 29, 2022. Credit: © WSL/Saguibo
- Women to Make History at Billabong Pro Pipeline
- World Champions Set for 2022 CT Debuts
- Rookie Class, Wildcards, and World Title Contenders Ready for Season Start
- More Available at WorldSurfLeague.com
The Billabong Pro Pipeline, the first stop on the World Surf League (WSL) 2022 Championship Tour (CT), opens tomorrow at the world-renowned Banzai Pipeline. A promising forecast calls for eight-to-ten foot northwest swell filling in early morning and holding throughout opening day to set the stage for the historic competition.
Women To Make History at Billabong Pro Pipeline
The Billabong Pro Pipeline will make surfing history when it kickstarts the 2022 season by hosting the first-ever women’s CT competition at Pipeline. The performances from two-time WSL Champion Tyler Wright (AUS) and five-time WSL Champion Carissa Moore (HAW) at the venue last season demonstrated the high level of competition in waves of consequence. This season the entire women’s CT, including the next generation of talent, will get their opportunity to shine alongside the men’s competitors when the Billabong Pro Pipeline gets underway.
“To have the women surf Pipe is incredible,” said Wright. “A lot of hard work has happened to get us here today. I think it will take us a few years to get used to it, but it’s exciting. I’m scared of Pipe, I don’t even hide that. It’s a wave that makes you pull every single resource. All the choices and all these things you have to read within half a second while surfing there, really pulls everything you got as a surfer.”
World Champions Florence, Moore, Wright, Slater, Ferreira Set for 2022 CT Debuts
The world-class field of men and women awaiting their highly anticipated start to the ‘22 season includes the likes of two-time WSL Champions, John John Florence (HAW) and Wright, reigning five-time WSL Champion Moore, and 11-time WSL Champion Kelly Slater (USA) among many more. In addition to his Pipeline win in 2021, Florence won the Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold Haleiwa Challenger and HIC Pipe Pro QS 1,000, and is in undeniable form ahead of the season’s start. With three-time WSL Champion Gabriel Medina (BRA) withdrawing from the event, Florence’s younger brother Ivan will join him in the competition as an injury replacement.
“My goal this year is to win a World Title,” said Florence. “I learned a lot from my injuries these past couple of years. I’ve been putting a ton of effort and work into my recovery, and coming into this year with no injuries and a lot of training feels pretty good. I’ve learned so much about being more optimistic about my situation.”
Stacked Rookie Class Ready to Fight for Early Success
The 2022 rookie class has put their time in at the hallowed grounds of Pipeline throughout the winter with the women making a big impression ahead of their CT debut. The likes of Oahu’s Bettylou Sakura Johnson and Luana Silva, alongside fellow rookies Gabriela Bryan (HAW), India Robinson(AUS) and Molly Picklum (AUS), could spell danger for some of the CT veterans.
Silva’s upbringing on the North Shore has her comfortable in waves of consequence and now the 17-year-old is ready to take on the world’s best at home.
“There are so many factors that make Pipeline so challenging,” said Silva. “The crowd, the reef, how the wave breaks, how hollow the wave is, is all a part of how consequential this wave is which makes it kind of scary, but I don’t want to think about it too much. I think everyone is looking for a barrel ride out there. Pipeline is a barrel-riding wave and doesn’t really score much with turns. I’m just looking for nice barrels and hopefully I come out of a couple.”
“I think the strong contingency coming from Hawaii is because of Carissa inspiring all of us,” continued Silva. “She progressed the girls’ sport so much, and the way she carries it with such style and grace makes me and all the other girls want to do better and progress the sport more for the next and younger generation.”A long-awaited breakthrough onto the CT came true for the likes of 2022 rookies Carlos Munoz (CRI) and Jackson Baker (AUS) after experiencing near-misses in previous attempts and are joined by a hungry cast of young competitors ready to show their talents. Peru’s 2021 Olympian Lucca Mesinas, Southern California’s Jake Marshall, Brazil’s Samuel Pupo and João Chianca, and Australians Liam O’Brien and Callum Robson round out a dynamic rookie class that could provide a generational shift in the sport. The world’s best and newly added rookies will have to deal with Pipeline specialist wildcards Moana Jones Wong (HAW) and Barron Mamiya (HAW), respectively, along with proven Pipeline charger Miguel Tudela (PER) when the event gets underway.
Billabong to Celebrate Women’s Debut at Billabong Pro Pipeline
In celebration of the women’s CT debut at the Billabong Pro Pipeline, Billabong partnered with the WSL and Hunt House Pictures to create the Pioneers of Pipeline series. Narrated by North Shore lifeguard, artist and bodysurfing legend, Mark Cunningham, the 14-part video series takes fans through the decades as Cunningham shares memories of the greatest men and women he’s ever seen at Banzai Pipeline. To complement the series, Cunningham created a ‘found object’ art installation that is on display at the event site, featuring selected treasures he discovered during his countless dives along the reef that gives Pipeline its teeth. The artwork will be sold by auction with all proceeds going to the North Shore Lifeguard association.
Billabong Pro Pipeline Women’s Opening Round Matchups:
Heat 1: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Courtney Conlogue (USA), Molly Picklum (AUS)
Heat 2: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA), Gabriela Bryan (HAW), Malia Manuel (HAW)
Heat 3: Carissa Moore (HAW), Brisa Hennessy (CRI), Moana Jones Wong (HAW)
Heat 4: Johanne Defay (FRA), Isabella Nichols (AUS), Luana Silva (HAW)
Heat 5: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Tyler Wright (AUS), India Robinson (AUS)
Heat 6: Caroline Marks (USA), Lakey Peterson (USA), Bettylou Sakura Johnson (HAW)
Billabong Pro Pipeline Men’s Opening Round Matchups:
Heat 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Ezekiel Lau (HAW), Owen Wright (AUS)
Heat 2: Griffin Colapinto (USA), Liam O’Brien (AUS), Matthew McGillivray (ZAF)
Heat 3: Morgan Cibilic (AUS), Connor O’Leary (AUS), Caio Ibelli (BRA)
Heat 4: Conner Coffin (USA), Jake Marshall (USA), Barron Mamiya (HAW)
Heat 5: Italo Ferreira (BRA), Callum Robson (AUS), Miguel Tudela (PER)
Heat 6: Filipe Toledo (BRA), Samuel Pupo (BRA), Ivan Florence (HAW)
Heat 7: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN), Seth Moniz (HAW), Carlos Munoz (CRI)
Heat 8: Frederico Morais (PRT), Miguel Pupo (BRA), Jackson Baker (AUS)
Heat 9: John John Florence (HAW), Jadson Andre (BRA), Joao Chianca (BRA)
Heat 10: Jack Robinson (AUS), Kelly Slater (USA), Lucca Mesinas (PER)
Heat 11: Kolohe Andino (USA), Ethan Ewing (AUS), Imaikalani deVault (HAW)
Heat 12: Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA), Deivid Silva (BRA), Nat Young (USA)
The health and safety of our athletes, staff, and the local community are of the utmost importance and we have been working closely with local authorities to put a robust set of procedures in place to keep everyone safe. This includes pre-event screening, testing protocols, and minimal personnel on site.
The Billabong Pro Pipeline opens tomorrow, Saturday, January 29, 2022. The competition will be broadcast LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com, the free WSL app, and the WSL’s YouTube channel. Also, check local listings for coverage from the WSL’s broadcast partners.
The Billabong Pro Pipeline is proudly supported by our partners Billabong, Red Bull, Expedia, Shiseido, Oakley, Hydro Flask, Flying Embers, Spectrum, 805, and Pura Vida.
For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.
About the WSL
Established in 1976, the World Surf League (WSL) is the home of the world’s best surfing. A global sports, media and entertainment company, the WSL oversees international tours and competitions, a studios division creating over 500+ hours of live and on-demand content, and via affiliate WaveCo, the home of the world’s largest high performance, human-made wave. Headquartered in Santa Monica, California, the WSL has regional offices in North America, Latin America, Asia Pacific, and EMEA.
The WSL annually crowns the men’s and women’s surfing World Champions. The global Tours and Competition division oversees and operates more than 180 global contests each year across the Championship Tour, the development tiers, including the Challenger, Qualifying and Junior Series, as well as longboard and big wave properties.
Launched in 2019, WSL Studios is an independent producer of unscripted television projects, including documentaries and series, which provide unprecedented access to athletes, events, and locations around the world. WSL events and content are distributed on linear television in over 743M+ homes worldwide and across digital and social media platforms around the world, including WorldSurfLeague.com.
WaveCo includes the Surf Ranch Lemoore facility and the utilizing and licensing of the Kelly Slater Wave System.
The WSL is dedicated to changing the world through the inspirational power of surfing by creating authentic events, experiences, and storytelling to inspire a growing, global community to live with purpose, originality, and stoke.
For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.