Big ques­tions in the Pipe­line

POST Newspapers - - Property - By CAMERON BED­FORDBROWN

Ig­ni­tion point, ground zero, that’s Hawaii’s Ban­zai Pipe­line, the al­tar of surf­ing glory.

Eleven-time Amer­i­can world cham­pion Kelly Slater is back to throw down some deep tubes on the world’s most fa­mous wave, af­ter a much-talked-about lay­off through in­jury.

Low talk­ers are whis­per­ing in the dark re­cesses – he’s too old, can’t cut it, too self-ab­sorbed. But I’m not buy­ing it. Slater’s back to wreck some dreams and lay waste to the world one last time.

His sure-footed com­po­sure in the maw of the Pipe beast is be­yond com­pare.

At 45, can he thrill the crowds once again at the de­cep­tively peace­ful, palm-lined death zone?

And then the chil­dren will play in the ru­ins of Par­adise Lost, next to the crum­bling statue of a long-for­got­ten surfer.

A cham­pion of the mighty ocean.

The same goes for megas­tar J.J. Florence, also back from a hia­tus due to in­jury.

Ques­tions swirl about him. Has he lost the heart? Will he sail his yacht off into the Hawai­ian sun­set?

Other demons might lurk in Florence’s mind, but not one of them is how to get tubed at Pipe.

Rare as goat’s teeth and the only big thing he hasn’t won, Pipe­line awaits the new heir ap­par­ent.

If Steph Gil­more is the smil­ing as­sas­sin, Brazil­ian Gabriel Me­d­ina is the ter­mi­na­tor.

Me­d­ina is a stone-cold surf­ing ma­chine and any­one get­ting in the way of his sec­ond world ti­tle is go­ing to get roughed up on the way.

Swash­buck­ling Aus­tralian Ju­lian Wil­son is fenc­ing around the edges like a wounded bull, but is the gate open wide enough for him to make a last stam­pede to the ti­tle?

Ei­ther way, let’s hope big.

Photo: WSL/Sloane

Hard to tell which would feel bet­ter – Stephanie Gil­more’s sev­enth world ti­tle or this tube.

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