How the World’s Best Prepare for the Billabong Pipe Masters

Billabong Pipe Masters
Call it the “Superbowl of Surfing,” for two weeks in December, the entire surfing world converges on Oahu’s north shore to witness the biggest show in the water: The Billabong Pipe Masters.

The Billabong Pipe Masters is the final stop on the ASP world tour which determines who holds the title of World Champion. Winning at Pipe can be a life-changing moment that will etch a surfer’s position in the record books as one of the undisputed best.

I wanted to know, as I’m sure many others do as well, how the best of the best prepare for the biggest, possibly most life changing contest of the year. Intense yoga asanas? Affirmations in front of the mirror? A nap? So I hit the beach during Day 1 of the Pipe Masters to see what the heat winners were doing to set them apart from the rest of the pack.

Joel “Parko” Parkinson (AUS) – 
Parko, the 2012 World Champion, did not compete on Day 1 as he qualified for later rounds. So instead of asking what he did that day, I just asked his usual pre-contest routine that earned him the title of last years world champ:
“Not much, really.  I just go for a surf on my own, get a feel for the waves.  Other than that I just cruise and have breaky.”
Mitch Crews (AUS)
Mitch is a Rising Rookie on the world tour for next year who made the cut for Pipe with a standout performance on the qualifying circuit. He will be one to watch on the world tour in 2014.
“I had some bananas, a cup of coffee, then just was cruising, and doing some stuff on my laptop for a bit.”

Granger Larson (HAW)
This Maui native won his heat against fellow Hawaiian Kalani Chapman. The 23-year old is sure to be a fixture in pro circuits for many years to come.
“I went for a surf, but it was pretty crowded.  So I had breakfast – Cereal, eggs, and a Kale Smoothie”. 
Tanner Gaudaskis (USA)
Tanner (and his beard) have the good fortune of staying in the Vans house right in front of pipeline, where the team pro can get out and check the conditions from his balcony. His morning strategy seemed to pay off, as he won his first heat against Brazillian Ricardo dos Santos. His morning warm-up?
“I cleaned the kitchen.”

Bede Durbage (AUS)
Bede is a former Pipe Masters champion from 2007. He has rockstar status in Australia, and even in Hawaii he can’t escape the TV cameras and adoring fans shouting out his name. But he’s still a genuinely nice guy who was nice enough to tell us what he did in the morning, before winning his heat against Brazilian Jadson Andre.
“I had a later heat so I took my time getting ready by having a free surf.  Then I came in and watched a few heats online, then went back out for another free surf”.
Miguel Pupo (BRA)
Miguel is only 22 but is ranked among the top 34 in the world, having the honor of securing a spot on the 2013 world tour. He defeated fellow Brazilian Alejo Muniz with one of the best waves of the day, an 8.77 scoring wave to advance to the next round. His morning routine?
“I was just hanging out on the couch with some of my teammates on the Hurley team.  We made some Mexican food.  I was just trying to relax.  It paid off, I think.”
Adam Melling (AUS)
Adam was able to defeat tour veteran Damien Hobgood in his heat, which is no easy task considering Damien once held the honor of highest two-wave contest score of 19.9. But this year, Adam was able to shine with a couple excellent waves to advance to the next round.  His warm up was fairly basic:
“I came down for an early surf, then came back to have a bunch of food – A bagle, with avocado, tomato, a couple eggs, and an english muffin.  That’s about it.”

So as you can see, the surfers like to surf, even before competing on the biggest stage of the year.  Other than that, eating a big meal seemed to be the trick, as well as trying to relax before showcasing their skills before their fellow competitors and spectators around the world. 
What do you do when the pressure’s on? Is it similar or different to these top surfers? Let us know!