Do Goofy-foots Have an Advantage at Pipeline? Who Has Won More Billabong Pipe Masters Titles - Regulars or Goofies? What Years Saw ‘Double Doubles’ (Two Surfers Winning Two Titles Back-To-Back?) And When Was the Last Time a Goofyfoot Won a Pipe Title? Read On.
When Lopez won the second event with his trademark elegant performance in perfect tubes, broadcaster Jim McKay from the ABC wiped tears from his eyes on air. Lopez went on to win again in 1973 and then announced his retirement to a stunned surf world.
Goofy-foot Jeff Crawford’s 1974 victory was a big boost for the east coast back in the days before Floridians like Slater, the Hobgood’s and the Lopez brothers earned the respect they deserved.
But it was Rory Russell’s 76-77 and Larry Blair’s 78-79 double wins that were the first back-to-back double Titles. Gotcha founder and former Pipe competitor Michael Tomson described Blair’s goofy-foot surfing as so explosive it was “as if he were snorting gunpowder.”
1984 was the beginning of a brave new world. Upstart goofy-footer Joey Buran “the California kid” was one of the most emotional wins ever. A tearful, joyful, exuberant Buran took his trophy while his entire family watched from the beach – a rare treat back in the day.
The next year Mark Occhilupo, a brash goofy young Aussie would take the crown just as a young brash California goofyfoot had in ‘84. Occy won in big, wild conditions, proving it was no fluke.
Goofy-foot and two-time Pipe Champ Derik Ho had the longest space between wins, taking one in 86 and another seven years later in 93. In between those bookends Tommy Carroll another top goofy-foot, put 3 Pipe Masters trophies on his mantel including the one in 1991 containing “the snap heard around the world.” Goofy-foot Robbie Paige the only Australian Aboriginal to snag a Pipe win did it in 1988.
And who can forget goofyfoot Rob Machado giving a high five to friend Kelly Slater as he rode by him for a 2nd place finish in 95, or his flawless Pipe performance in his millennial win of 2000?
But with all these storied performances, have goofy-footers been the top dogs at the Pipe finals? Surprisingly, not. Statistically, regular-footers have achieved a 60% win margin at the Pipe Masters, with 15 regular-footers taking the Title versus 11 goofy-footers. In total wins the margin remains nearly the same: 24 regular-foot wins VS 16 Goofy titles.
In fact, the last goofy foot to be crowned a Pipe Master was California’s Rob Machado in 2000. Since then, the regular foots have dominated the title by utilizing Backdoor and going right. Backdoor is problematic for goofy-foots because they’re forced to surf with their back facing the wave, according to 2001 Pipeline Master Bruce Irons.
“Backdoor is a lot more dangerous than Pipeline because the reef gradually gets shallower,” said Irons, who is a regular foot and one of the best Pipeline surfers ever. “So you have to be thinking of a way to get out and that’s harder going backside. To a goofy-foot surfer, Backdoor often looks like a closeout.”
While there is much truth in Irons’ assessment, there is only one sure-fire way to win the Billabong Pipe Masters: get barreled. No matter the direction the wave breaks, the tube will always decide the victor at the Pipe Masters.
For all the latest information on the Billabong Pipe Masters:
Jim Kempton email@example.com
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