Friday, January 19, 2001
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Posted on: Friday, January 19, 2001

Australian wins Pipeline Pro bodyboarding meet

Andrew Lester surfed to victory yesterday in the Mike Stewart International Pipeline Pro.

Bernie Baker photo

By Dayton Morinaga
Advertiser Staff Writer

MAILI — Finally, the final day of the Mike Stewart International Pipeline Pro was completed yesterday.

The international part of the contest was just that, as four different nations were represented in the final. The Pipeline part was not, as the contest was forced to move to Maili Point yesterday.

Not that any of it mattered to Australian Andrew Lester, who won the event in challenging 4- to 8-foot waves. The contest is considered the most prestigious in the sport of bodyboarding.

Lester said that as a child he dreamed of competing in the Pipeline Pro.

Bernie Baker photo

"Growing up as a kid, I dreamed of competing in this event," said Lester, 20. "It kind of didn’t matter to me where it was at. I just wanted a chance to compete against the best."

He did that, and also beat the best. In the four-man final, Lester edged four-time former world champion Guilherme Tamega of Brazil for the $3,000 first prize. Jesse Cooper of Kauai was third, and David Perez of Spain fourth.

"This is by far the biggest win of my life," Lester said. "A lot of those guys are my idols."

Gusty winds of 15 to 20 mph were blowing on shore by the time the final commenced, messing up most of the waves at Maili. However, Lester managed to find two of the biggest and best waves, which resulted in the two highest scores.

He rode one wave for more than 100 yards, completing more than 10 carving maneuvers along the way. The judges rewarded him with a score of 7.83, which was the highest of the final. Late in the heat, he clinched first place with another long ride that included two aerial maneuvers for a score of 6.67.

"There weren’t that many good ones," he said. "So when I did get those good ones, I decided it was do or die, and I went all out."

In the final tally, Lester’s top four rides scored 22.77. Tamega was next at 20.43, followed by Cooper’s 18.50.

Paulo Barcellos of Brazil tied for ninth yesterday, and clinched the 2000-01 Global Organization of Bodyboarders World Tour championship. Yesterday’s event was the final stop on the tour.

Lester, who defeated Barcellos in the quarterfinals, finished second in the world title race.

For the first time in the 19-year history of the event, the final was not held at the famed Banzai Pipeline. After several days of large and unrideable waves, the contest’s holding period expired on Wednesday.

State officials refused to grant an extension for the contest to continue at Pipeline, so the site for the final day was shifted to Maili.

"It all worked out," said Mike Stewart, the contest’s sponsor and also one of the top entries. "I think everybody is a little disappointed that it wasn’t Pipeline, but we still got better surf today than you would see in 90 percent of the other contests on tour. And all the best riders in the world were here, so to win it is still huge no matter where it was held."

Stewart, an 11-time former Pipeline champion, tied for seventh yesterday.

Paul Roach of California won $1,000 as the top performer in the drop-knee division. Hawaii competitors David Hubbard and Kainoa McGee were second and third, respectively.

Final results

1, Andrew Lester (Australia), $3,000. 2, Guilherme Tamega (Brazil), $2,000. 3, Jesse Cooper (Hawaii), $1,500. 4, David Perez (Spain), $1,100. 5 (tie), Nicholas Capdeville (France) and Diego Cabral (Brazil), $800. 7 (tie), Mike Stewart (Hawaii) and Thomas Richard (Reunion Island), $600. 9 (tie), Paulo Barcellos (Brazil), Alistair Taylor (South Africa), Ben Holland (Australia) and Philip Rodrigues (South Africa), $500. 13 (tie), Ryan Hardy (Australia), Sean Virtue (Australia), Hermano Castro (Brazil) and Brett Lillyman (Australia), $400.

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