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The Billabong Pipeline Masters got underway Thursday in the best conditions in at least 15 years, Vans Triple Crown of Surf Executive Director Randy Rarick told me.
He estimated the waves at 10 to 15 Hawaiian feet, which translates to 18 to 25 foot faces, he said.
Triple Crown Managing Director Marty Thomas added that everything lined up perfectly – the large waves, the swell direction, the wind.
There was definitely a lot of excitement in the air, and the crowd – including folks in the Vans VIP room - went wild when team rider John John Florence scored a perfect 10.
I spent the day at the contest site watching the action and visiting different houses, including two homes Volcom owns immediately adjacent to the contest site. I also visited the Hurley house, which the company rented for the season.
It’s fun to see – and hear - each house rooting for their surfers, and hear the collective gasp from the different porches when there is a big wipeout.
I saw lots of industry folks around, and have photos from the day above in a slide show.