Reef McIntosh has conquered the Da Hui Backdoor Shootout 2012, held in splendid surfing conditions, in Pipeline, Hawaii. Intense heats were surfed in the famous big wave arena, in eight-foot glassy sets. It was an hard fought victory for the Pipe connoisseur. Bruce Irons, Jamie O'Brien and Marcus Hickman were right behind McIntosh until the last surfed wave.
"I just stopped watching because I thought Jamie, and then John, passed me," McIntosh laughed. "I don't want to ever experience that pressure again."
Reef McIntosh gathered 115.90 points, in a scoring in which three judges score between one and 12 points. The overal score of a single wave is then added up and each surfer's best four scores are tallied for an overall total.
The Da Hui Backdoor Shootout is all about perfect barrel riding. Forget rashies, classic 10-point scales and nice full roundhouse carves. Simply, get pitted. Reef McIntosh cashed in $30,000.
The best team at the Da Hui Backdoor Shootout 2012 was Volcom (Bruce Irons, Marcus Hickman, Dusty Payne, Dean Morrison). The best wave of the contest was awarded to Dusty Payne.
Newly crowned Champion Reef McIntosh, 35, is ringing out Korbel and anxiety from his drenched t-shirt. The tall, regular-foot from Kauai is standing at Ehukai Beach Park, soaking wet and grinning ear-to-ear. Moments ago he received a champagne shower from the boys for winning $30,000 and his first victory at Pipe. He held the lead from the second day of competition to the final day of Da Hui Backdoor Shootout and was a ball of nerves going into the awards ceremony.
"I don't know how guys like Slater, Bruce Irons, or other guys that get on a roll get used to it -- I'm not used to the kind of stuff, so I was freaking out," admits Reef about sitting in first place since day two, "It's a really good feeling, but I feel like the anxiety ages you. I'm just ringing it out of my shirt right now."
Reef McIntosh is notorious for being an all-around happy dude and getting some of the best barrels at Pipeline. He manages Quiksilver's house at Pipe. And you don't want to track sand onto the deck! His Da Hui Backdoor Shootout victory reaffirms his spot in Pipe's hierarchy. The win was no walk in the park for Reef. He narrowly beat Jamie O'Brien by 1.2 points and JOB was only .4 points higher in second over Marcus Hickman.
"Each heat you're not competing for first or second, rather you're competing for the best waves of the event," explains Jamie O'Brien of Da Hui Backdoor Shootout's unique contest format.
There's no elimination at the Shootout, each of the 32 competitors surf an equal amount of heats, each ride is judged on a 12-point scale and the four best waves are totaled.
It's a contest, "for the surfers, put on by the surfers, like The Eddie (Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau) in the sense that Da Hui Backdoor Shootout only runs if Pipe is A-plus," says Reef.
"It has to be cream of the crop," explains McIntosh, "My standards (the waves for The Shootout) were A-minus, so pretty damn good. I think the first and second day were probably the best."
The first two days of competition saw solid 8-to 10-foot tubes at Pipeline. While the third and final day of competition saw more-manageable 6-to 8-foot surf, it was still heavy. Like Reef, O'Brien, aka Mr. Pipeline, also thought the surf at the world's most dangerous break was epic.
"The waves were firing for the Backdoor Shootout," says O'Brien, "We got perfect surf."
Da Hui Backdoor Shootout is also a team event, where sponsors pay $2500 a surfer for four man squads. Third place finisher Marcus Hickman led Team Volcom to victory.
"This event is just about showing what you do as a surfer and not so much worrying about what someone else is doing," says Hickman. "When you surf competitively out here, like in the Pipe Masters, you're doing you're surfing, but there is still a lot of strategy involved. (Da Hui Backdoor Shootout format) takes out the strategy and allows you to just show what you can do as a surfer."
Results of the Da Hui Backdoor Shootout 2012:
1st: Reef McIntosh, $30,000
2nd: Jamie O'Brien, $20,000
3rd: Marcus Hickman, $10,000
4th: Bruce Irons, $5000
5th: John John Florence, $2500
1st: Volcom (Bruce Irons, Marcus Hickman, Dusty Payne, Dean Morrison)
2nd: RVCA (Makua Rothman, Billy Kemper, Danny Fuller, Daniel Jones)
3rd: Body Glove (Jamie O'Brien, Alex Gray, Anthony Walsh, Cheyne Magnussen)
4th: Quiksilver (Reef McIntosh, Mark Healey, Fred Patacchia, Kiron Jabour)