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THE STORM BEFORE THE STORM
SURF NEWS THE STORM BEFORE THE STORM
February 7, 2007
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It was nothing short of a treat to see Shane Dorian back and pulling into Pipeline today As a fourth round wildcard seed, today was the first time we've seen Shane in a world tour event here in four years.
 
Thinking back to the mid-to-late '90s through '02, Dorian was one of those guys that every hardened surf journo, photographer, surfer and enthusiast would highlight on their Pipe Masters draw sheet as a "must watch". You could bet your last buck that the guy would throw life and limb on the line in pursuit of an outrageous tuberide -- especially if Backdoor was on, and his delivery rate was close to a hundred percent.
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THE STORM BEFORE THE STORM
Palm trees and pits. Pipeline turned on for just three heats on day four. But the perfection was quickly ended when adverse weather moved in. Photo: ASP World Tour/Covered Images/Cestari
Today's scene was almost surreal. With a heavy, black front rapidly pushing in from the horizon threatening onshores and rain, there was hardly a soul around beyond the officials, competitors and friends as Shane checked in at 8:10am for his heat with Fred Patacchia, Liam McNamara and Australia's Tom Innes.

Regardless of the weather, had this been mid-December you would have had to park your car about two miles away on the side of Kam Hwy and made a two-mile run along the bike path to catch his heat in time. You would have known that KS was somewhere close by mind-recording every ride as inspiration for his coming heat, and you would have left the beach on a high and on the phone telling your buddy what you just witnessed. But it's February 7, Kelly's somewhere sunnier showing Cameron how to swing a club, and just a lucky few of us at Pipe got to savor the moment.

Today wasn't about macking barrels. It wasn't about an exchange of 9s and 9.5s. It was 6-to-8 feet, glassy -- pretty mellow. Liam McNamara was old-schooling through a pristine barrel, arms overhead. Pattachia was looking to make some magic. West Aussie Innes was picking up the vibe, and Dorian was finessing the Backdoor with touch of an old friend.

With decades at Pipe between them, it was ironic that Shane and Liam had never met in a heat at Pipe before today. Even more ironic was the fact that they never even crossed paths during the heat.
"I don't think Shane's [Dorian] that concerned with competition. He's pretty fulfilled. But I'm sure he'd be stoked to top it all off with a win at Pipe."
--Liam McNamara
"Right off the bat I saw him go for that first peak," said Liam. "I didn't even know if he went left or right, but I heard the score (7.25 -- the best ride of the heat). I figured he must have gone right.

"I can recall being out there so many years, splitting peaks out there with Shane on a lot of free-surfing days. He's always been a dominant force at Pipe. For sure, he's one of the top five guys at Backdoor from the 90s-to-now-type-era. It's really surprising that he's never won a Pipe Masters or a Monster Energy.

"A guy with that much talent -- it's almost a shame he retired, but he's an even better surfer today because he did. He's been able to push the envelope in tow-surfing and he's still as good as he's ever been out here. I wouldn't be surprised if he at least makes the final, if not wins it, and I can definitely see him getting one of the wildcard spots out of this event into the Pipe Masters. They should hope so.

When you get guys like Shane and Rob into events like Pipe, it adds so much more prestige. People want to see guys like that lay it on the line - guys who you know won't pull back.

"I don't think Shane's that concerned with competition. He's pretty fulfilled. But I'm sure he'd be stoked to top it all off with a win at Pipe."

With just one more day of surfing left for the Monster, mark your calendar. Whether it be online or on the beach, do yourself a favor and enjoy Shane's final day performance -- come December, you'll be lucky to find a park.
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