After a year of COVID-related stops and starts, specialty events and controlled environment scenarios, the World Surf League is set to kick off again in Hawaii in less than a month.
The first event starts with the women’s Championship Tour in Maui, November 25, before proceeding directly to Oahu for the Pipe Masters for the men. There might also be a Qualifying Series event at Sunset Beach, although no details are available.
After this start, the professional contingent will need to remain in Hawaii before heading over to the next event in Portugal.
New protocols also mean each surfer’s entourage will be restricted to one member only.
JBay surfer Matt McGillivray qualified for the 2020 Championship Tour after an excellent run of competitive surfing during the 2019 season, including a scintillating finish in Hawaii.
Matt showed great skill and Big Match Temperament when it counted most, at events at Haleiwa and Sunset Beach.
The waves were huge, and Matt’s hard-earned experience from surfing all those solid, cold days at Boneyards in JBay paid off.
The only difference is that he will be surfing the Pipe Masters this year, at the most dangerous wave in the world – the Banzai Pipeline, or simply Pipe.
Pipe has the notoriety of having the most surfing injuries and deaths in the world, and using that scale it is the most treacherous wave on the Championship Tour and in the world in general.
Surfers who are highly skilled at Pipe have a massive advantage over lesser experienced surfers out there, as the wave itself is so scary.
Many a good surfer has made a judgement that the waves are just too frightening, just too dangerous, and have pulled back from waves. These waves could possibly have been 10-point rides, the pinnacle of professional surfing.
Matt, however, is no slouch at Pipe. He might have grown up on the perfect point-break right-hand waves of Supertubes, but he knows what he wants in life and is a determined surfer and competitor.
At the beginning of this year, before the pandemic hit, Matt surfed in the Volcom Pipe Pro, a QS event, and surfed all the way to the semi-finals. The waves were serious, and Matt showed utter conviction and courage to beat many local and visiting surfers en route to his semi-final berth.
So he goes into the Pipe Masters as a surfer who knows his way around the Pipe lineup, who is not scared, and who knows how to get through big heats. Our local JBay surfer might be that one guy turning heads as the Championship Tour starts again.
By: Craig Jarvis
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