Damian King takes out the Rockstar Games Pipeline Pro and the WST crown for 2003
posted by Mark Fordham on 12th January 2004
Australian Damian King, from Port Macquarie, on the New South Wales North Coast has won his first IBA World Super Tour Title, after taking out the final of the Rockstar Games Pipeline Pro.
After his win the crowd raced to the waters edge to celebrate. "The win is so surreal", said an exhausted King. In the first 5 minutes of the heat, King paddled into one of the best waves of the afternoon, pulling into a 6-8ft backdoor wave in the sometime testing side to onshore conditions.
"After my first wave, straight away felt quiet confident, I knew I would have got high scores from the judges and the reaction from the other competitors as they heard the hooting and screaming from the beach, they all looked pretty flustered. Since it was out of the best two scoring waves I knew that that particular Backdoor Pipe wave would have scored between 8 to 10 points out of 10. I already had a good wave with 35 minutes left in the 40 minute final, so concentrating on looking for the next high scoring wave took the pressure of me for sure, all I had to do was to be patient and relax."
During the middle of the dramatic final, current IBA World Champion, Brazilian Guilherme Tamega was called for an interference, which was very unfortunate considering he was again one of the stand out athletes of the event and the whole IBA World Super Tour (WST). When asked about the call King explained, "I was kind of worried at first, just because I know Tamega knows and reads more about the rule book than me and would not have jeopardised his position. Who knows, he might have made the simple mistake just out of desperation. I was going right and the wave was a right hander so, hey. To tell you the truth I didn't really think about it, I didn't touch him and I was hoping that nothing would come of it.
During the final King snapped his bodyboard in half, having to return to the beach to collect another board, "I got a backdoor wave," King explains, "and as I was paddling out some solid set waves were approaching, probably the biggest all afternoon, say a good 8ft. I just got under the first couple and was powering to try and duck dive under the last set. The wave feathered and I know that there was no way I was going to make it, so I just through my board to the side and dived to the bottom of the reef. The lip of the wave must of landed on my board because as I came to the surface my board was snapped in two, just a perfect clean break.
The first round started in perfect 6 to 8ft waves off shore conditions with larger 10ft sets. Stand out included Brazilian Guilherme Tamega with his usual huge Rollos and inverts in heat one. South African Alistair Taylor and Australian Grahame Miller dominated heat two with long barrels. Heat three saw Rui Ferreira from Portugal and world title contender, Western Australian Sean Virtue trade tube after tube, inverts and barrel rolls to progress to the quarter finals. Margaret River local Ryan Hardy took control of heat four. Heat five saw defending Pipe Champion Hawaiian Jeff Hubbard stamp his authority on this heat by busting some of the biggest airs and taking on some long backdoor barrels. Australian Toby Player found the big barrels in heat six to progress. Mike Stewart found his line to win his heat in heat seven followed by a close second place by Australian Damian King. The last heat of round one was taken out by Australian Beau Day with local wildcard competitor Kainoa Mc Gee, drop kneeing his way into second place.
Quarters saw some big upsets with Tamega and Taylor progressing and Australian Mitch Rawlins getting eliminated. Hardy again dominated his heat taking it out, progressing with Rui Ferreira; Virtue just couldn't find the wave or stick the landings to progress.
"To tell you the truth I had another shocker," explained Virtue." There was about six minutes to go in the heat and I had not got a scoring wave yet, so I just saw this one at Backdoor come through and I just though to myself, if I can just get one good one like a 10 I might have a chance of getting through. I paddled for the wave and took off, I bottom turned and it was about 6-8ft and I just aimed for probably one of the heaviest backdoor sections I have every encountered. I hit is so hard and just flew straight into the flats. I could see the reef so clear. I just landed and got so worked it wasn't funny and that was the end of my heat. I had four minutes to the end of the heat and there was no way I was going to make it back out so I just went in."
Heat three in the quarters was taken out by Spencer Skipper and world title contender Andre Botha. "It was kinda fun trying to find some ramps and barrels. I was just trying to look for the big moves. I made it through so I am stoked", explained a relieved Botha.
One of the biggest upsets of the event was the elimination of defending Rockstar Games Pipeline Pro Champion and world title contender, Hawaiian Jeff Hubbard. "The event was great; I was just taking everything heat by heat. Just before the quarters the waves looked fun, there were some cool ramps out there and I was super amped just to hit some lips and get some good tubes. I paddled out super focused but just had bad rhythm. I got two good waves; they just were not good enough to win. Skip dominated the heat so he definitely deserved to win. Skip and Andre were pretty close so. I should have done a few more rolls to win, I shouldn't have just pulled out after my waves, and I should have worked them better and got more moves in them.
Heat four saw Australians Beau Day and world title contender Damian King progress to the semi finals. "It was pretty good, I got a really good backdoor wave so all is good." expressed a relieved King.
Semi final one saw the contest machine, Brazilian Guilherme Tamega and Portugal's Rui Ferreira head straight to the final. Past Pipeline finalist, South African, Alistair Taylor also could not find the waves he wanted "Yeah it was pretty difficult out there, especially with the wind and the dropping swell. My first wave was good and I did a pretty good air on the next one but got eaten on landing.
Hardy was in the same boat, "I did OK, just didn't get the ones that I needed and wanted. I got a couple of alright ones for the conditions, but you know, it's pretty hard trying to find the ones you want."
Semi heat two saw conditions deteriorate a little, though some bombs were still lining up on the backdoor pipe reef. Hawaiian wildcard Spencer Skipper did well to progress through his heat as did the heat winner, Damian King.
To give the competitors a break before the final a dropknee expression session was run. Hawaiian dropknee star Dave Hubbard chose the riders that competed, with the final out come being, first place Bud Miamoto, second place going to Hawaiian drop knee legend Kainoa Mc Gee and third Mikah Mc Mullen.
The presentation saw King not only win the Rockstar Games Pipeline Pro, but take out the IBA World Super Tour (WST) Championship. An official presentation night will be held at Volcano's nightclub Honolulu, on the 16th of January, doors open at 7pm. Presentation will commence at 8pm.