by Sacha Specker on 18th February 2012
Jeff Hubbard (Honolulu, HAW) has taken out the 2012 IBA Pipe Challenge for the fourth time. Defeating fellow Hawaiian and 11 times Pipe Champion, Mike Stewart in second place, Dave Winchester (Mullumbimby, AUS) in third and 21 year old Sam Bennet from Port Macquarie, Australia in fourth. The flawless 6-8 foot Pipe and Backdoor waves made for one of the highest scoring finals in the history of the IBA.
Hubbard posted a total heat score of 18.65, placing a strangle hold on the remaining finalists as all of them needed a combination of scores to overtake him. In the opening minutes of the final, Hubbard launched the biggest Air-Roll-Spin of the event, for which the judges rewarded him with a massive 9.0 out of a possible 10, confirming that the three time Pipeline Champ is worthy of another win at home. Although the other finalists had posted two scores each, in the excellent range (8.0 or higher), Hubbards final wave sealed the deal for him. Splitting the peak with good friend Mike Stewart, Hubbard chose to go right, taking on the notoriously dangerous and unpredictable Backdoor section, as Stewart scooped into a flawless Pipe bomb. Stewart was rewarded with an 8.15 for a long and deep tube ride, pushing him into second place, when moments later the judges gave Hubbard with a 9.65 after he miraculously exited a near impossible barrel at Backdoor with a roll.
Dropping off the IBA Grand Slam Series (GSS) last year, Stewart will need to back up results like this one on the 2012 GQS (Global Qualifying Series) if he is to regain a spot on the 2013 GSS.
Combined, Mike Stewart and Jeff Hubbard have claimed 15 Pipeline Titles and 11 World Titles together.
Although Winchester and Bennet both put on stand out performances, their impressive heat totals of 16.5 and 16.25 respectively was not enough to overtake Stewart or Hubbard.
Winchester has been a World Title contender for several years now and thanks to this third place result has a good start to what is looking to be a momentous year on the IBA GSS tour.
The 2012 IBA Pipe Challenge is Bennets first event as a Top 24 IBA GSS competitor. Although only 21 years old, the young Australian has put on a show-stopping performance throughout the event and is looking like a potential 2012 IBA World Title contender.
Mens Final Scorecard
Ladies and DK will resume on Saturday 8am Honolulu time / 8pm South African time.
The Next IBA Grand Slam event will be the Box Pro in Margaret River, Western Australia, from March 26th to April 4th.
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