Pipe Masters is like the twelve days of Christmas, it just keeps getting better as the days progress. The culmination of boundless, winter swell and incredible surfers builds to determine who will win the world title. This year, Pipe Masters kicked off with a bang, setting spectators' expectations soaring for the rest of the event. In 2012, Sebastian Zietz won the Vans Triple Crown Title of Surfing. Right out of the gate, Zietz proved to be a strong contender yet again. On the first day of the 2013 Billabong Pipe Masters, Sebastian Zietz (25) earned the first perfect 10-point ride in an unbelievable Backdoor barrel. "It was a dream start to the event," Zietz commented. Jeremy Flores (25) also showed off his barreling skills in the afternoon. Gabriel Medina (19) earned the opening day high heat-total. In keeping with his success at the other Triple Crown contests, Mitch Crews (23) also had a worthy, energizing performance. Upsets included his defeat of powerhouse, Shane Dorian and fellow Aussie, Matt Wilkinson.
However, the biggest upset to the commencement of the competition came with Kieren Perrow’s swan song. Australian and 2011 world title holder, Kieren Perrow (36) was forced to shore early in a dramatic, harrowing finish due to a dislocated shoulder following a heavy wipe out in an opening round at the Billabong Pipe Masters. "It [Pipe] spat me out, and I just felt my shoulder snap," Perrow pronounced in a despondent epilogue. After surfing Pipe, Perrow planned to retire, no matter the results. But, a dislocated shoulder is not how any athlete wants to end a seasoned career. Kai Otton was by Perrow’s side at the medical tent, followed closely by Mick Fanning.
Perrow’s injury only insights viewers to become all the more engrossed as Kelly Slater (USA) and Mick Fanning (AUS) go head to head for the world title. Who wants it more? Fanning will be world champion for a third time if he reaches the semi-finals. Slater needs to win the event to claim a 12th world title. Watching a friend and fellow countryman endure such a doozy may be the motivation Mick Fanning needs to secure the world title for Australia this year.
Related info: The Billabong Pipe Masters in Memory of Andy Irons holds a waiting period from December 8 - 20, 2013 (12 days).