Ward & Munoz Set Early Pace At Volcom Pipe Pro

Posted: Feb 04,2012 Written by  Jodi Wilmott

HONOLULU - (Jan. 29, 2012) -- Conditions settled down at the Banzai Pipeline today and yesterday's death-defying closeouts were replaced by long, hollow tubes at the Volcom Pipe Pro. California's Chris Ward and Costa Rican Carlos Munoz put on incredible performances at Backdoor that saw them clearly emerge the pacesetters. 

A $130,000 5-star Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) event, the Volcom Pipe Pro still has two days of competition to run before crowning the 2012 champion. The defending champion is John John Florence (Hawaii), who will make his debut on the next day of surfing.

Above: Carlos Munoz (Costa Rica) en-route to his ELECTRIC Perfect 10.

Photo: Courtesy Volcom/Carey

 Carlos Munoz, 19, was the only surfer to post a perfect 10-point ride today, earning a bonus $1,000 for the ELECTRIC Pefect 10 award. He did it at Backdoor with an air-drop takeoff into a deep, long barrel that ran the full length of the break. The crowd erupted when he emerged through the curtain of water with fists pumping. His second high wave of 8.6 gave him a total of 18.6 points.

"This is one of my dreams and I'm so stoked to make the 10 and to make my heat as well," said Munoz. "I felt like the wave was going to be a close-out but I just run, run, run the tube and I can get out. It's amazing and I can't believe it. I really don't have words to explain. Amazing! 

"I heard about the $1,000 before but I didn't know that I was going to win it. I'm trying to get good scores here and then maybe I'll start traveling to get points for the pro tour."

Chris Ward, 33, who placed third in the final here last year, logged the highest heat score of the contest so far with a total of 19 points out of a possible 20. Counting a 9.57 and a 9.43 as his best two waves, Ward even had a third 'throwaway' wave of 9.0. 

"I haven't really surfed since I injured my knee," said Ward. "I surfed a couple of heats in China and then stayed off it until today. I guess it paid off because you get hungry and you want to catch good waves. I didn't want to go on any bad waves and I guess it worked, I lucked out. 

"I've been coming here to Hawaii since I was 12. Being around the local guys and the legends... learning from the best in good waves... you learn a lot surfing with your favorite surfers. Being out at Pipe when the conditions are good tests your ability. Any heats at Pipe are amazing - just three guys out, so I'm looking forward to more heats."

Peruvian Gabriel Villaran was the third-highest scorer today, with 17.07 points. He was rock solid on the lefts of Pipeline and is feeling confident of a good-showing this year.

"I made a final here in 2006, so I know what it takes to make it all the way," said Villaran. "Today's a great day and hopefully I keep the mojo going through the whole event. When the wave is big, I prefer to go left because I feel more secure. But if the right Backdoor wave comes to me, I'm not going to hesitate. 

"I look forward to seeing John John surfing here. He really knows what's going on."

On the local front, Hawaii's Torrey Meister was the top scorer of the regular Pipeline chargers with 15.67 points.

"Today it's a little more manageable so I'm glad they decided to hold off yesterday," said Meister. "I surf this wave a lot. I like Backdoor a lot and I felt like I could sit a little more wide and pick off a few. It worked. I want to get in the Pipe Masters and this qualifies you for it, and it's an opportunity to surf Pipeline."

Organizers will assess the conditions at first light tomorrow to determine if there will be an 8am start. Two more days of competition remain. 

Surfers shown in order of 1st through 4th. Scores shown are based on each surfer's best 2 rides and are out of a maximum 20 points.



H3: Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR) 11.40pts; Jeremy Johnston (USA) 8.94pts ; David Wassel (HAW) 5.80pts; Landon McNamara (HAW) 2.77pts

H4:Flynn Novak (HAW) 11.90pts ; Koa Smith (HAW) 7.86pts ; Gregg Nakamura (HAW) 5.93pts ; Solomon Ortiz (HAW) 5.76pts

H5: Anthony Walsh (AUS) 11.57pts ; Parker Coffin (USA) 9.17pts ; TJ Barron (HAW) 7.47pts ; Kaimana Jaquias (HAW) 3.10pts

H6:  Liam McNamara (HAW) 7.80pts ; Carlos Munoz (CRI) 7.50pts ; Jonah Morgan (HAW) 5.83pts ; Eli Olson (HAW) 5.10pts 

H7: Danny Fuller (HAW) 12.23pts ; Alexander Gray (USA) 8.77pts ; Kawai Lindo (HAW) 5.30pts ; Dylan Southworth (MEX) 3.94pts

H8: Koa Rothman (HAW) 13.76pts ; Brett Barley (USA) 9.12pts ; Alex Smith (HAW) 5.10pts ; Nathan Florence (HAW) 4.20pts



H1: Torrey Meister (HAW) 15.67pts ; Billy Kemper (HAW) 12.80pts ; Oliver Kurtz (USA) 12.07pts ; Love Hodel (HAW) 5.27pts 

H2: Nils Schweizer (USA) 15.60pts ; Kevin Sullivan (HAW) 11.07pts ; Mikey Bruneau (HAW) 10.50pts ; Teppei Tajima (JPN) 5.57pts

H3: Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 12.50pts ; Derek Peters (USA) 10.16pts ; Chris Foster (HAW) 8.50pts ; Taylor Thome (USA) 2.83pts

H4: Makai McNamara (HAW) 10.44pts ; Dane Gudauskas (USA) 8.93pts; Fisher Heverly (USA) 6.83pts ; Manuel Selman (CHL) 5.43pts 

H5: Tanner Hendrickson (HAW) 11.83pts ; Ramz Boukhiam (MAR) 9.53pts ; Sunny Garcia (HAW) 8.63pts ; Dennis Tihara (BRA) 7.33pts 

H6: Gabriel Villaran (PER) 17.07pts ; Tyler Newton (HAW) 12.76pts ; Jeremy Johnston (USA) 9.34pts ; Jesse Merle-Jones (HAW) 7.40pts

H7: Gavin Gillette (HAW) 10.84pts ; Flynn Novak (HAW) 9.74pts ; Makuakai Rothman (HAW) 4.90pts ; Yujiro Tsuji (JPN) 3.77pts 

H8: Koa Smith (HAW) 13.23pts ; Jamie O'Brien (HAW) 11.07pts ; Brad Ettinger (USA) 10.93pts ; Angelo Lozano (MEX) 2.04pts

H9: Anthony Walsh (AUS) 7.00pts ; Stephen Walsh (AUS) 6.46pts ; Dane Anderson (USA) 6.33pts ; Matt Pagan (USA) 4.10pts

H10: Chris Ward (USA) 19.00pts ; Sean Moody (HAW) 11.50pts ; Parker Coffin (USA) 5.90pts ; Cristobal De Col (PER) 5.27pts 

H11: Balaran Stack (USA) 10.60pts ; RUdy Palmboom (ZAF) 8.27pts ; Liam McNamara (HAW) 7.00pts ; Lan Crane (USA) 4.90pts

H12: Carlos Munoz (CRI) 18.60pts ; Kalani Chapman (HAW) 7.07pts ; Bino Lopes (BRA) 5.50pts ; Cory Arrambide (USA) 4.54pts

H13: Myles Padaca (HAW) 11.67pts ; Leandro Usuna (ARG) 8.64pts ; Ian Gentil (HAW) 6.16pts ; Danny Fuller (HAW) 4.54pts