A New Lineup, Vans Pipe

On December 21, 2022 by creativewavemovement

In an ingenious form – without reservation, hesitation, or qualification – the Vans Pipe Masters introduced an entirely new platform in which we should and shall perceive the possibilities of professional surf. The new format – pronouncing non-elimination, multiple heats, no priority for the first time – inexplicably shook the standard, demanding an elevation of professional surfing, the professional surfer and active engagement of fans.

(PHOTO CRED:  Stab Magazine, 2022)

(PHOTO CRED: Stab Magazine, 2022)


Over the stretch of an almost two-week stairway, the first-ever Vans Pipe Masters, (formerly licensed to the World Surfing League),  introduced a level of competition and tenacity for ‘the catch of the wave’ that traditionally positions itself around former standards, such as priority. In inaugural fashion, this new approach mandated a much more heightened and focused competitive spirit than I believe we’ve allowed our senses to fully understand. We witnessed the intensity of our men’s heat, (45 minutes of standing potential), and equally, wonderfully, 45 minutes of contest confirmation for women. What I saw, more clearly amidst the women, was a concerted need – operative terminology, need – to produce more of an uptick in competition, focus and restlessness. Potentially, more indefinitely, we have been witness to the transition of Women’s Surf, to the level of athleticism that it needs to be consistently represented and portrayed as.


(PHOTO CRED: Jesse Jennings via Stacks)

(PHOTO CRED: Tracks 2022, Molly Picklum carried into winner’s chair and welcome).


What was, included a layout that – respectfully – allowed for a tempered, slightly different level of competitiveness each day and each heat. With this particular shift, what transpired was a pivot in focus on the very truth: every day is a new day; who and how you arrive at each set matters, and can only be fueled by the previous experience, not defined. Instances of high power-performance, pummeled through each day, emerging suddenly and starkly - in contrast and expression – as the day’s weather patterns and swell.

As an excitedly engaged viewer, and lover and protector of the ocean, witnessing this management and interaction of how this format-shift beckoned its participants to approach, was more than interesting – it introduced a new stage in which we, (as a sports-watching community), would view and value the sport of surf, accompanied by women. The manifestation of this industry-shift, delegated a different recall of a sport we thought we knew – formerly embraced amongst women as a more polite dance with competition and competitive heat. Now, with the presentation of the new format – and the interaction thereof – we have been witness to the true athlete in the female surfer.

We, I believe, have been made aware of the indefinite shift – not solely in event-format – yet, in how we perceive and speak on / commentate on the woman surfer. This is now the jump-off point – young Molly, congratulations. Mr. Stack, wonderful to see.


Mahalo in Aloha,


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