The First Ever Standup Contest at Pipeline

North Shore local Mo Freitas has a dig at Pipeline. Watch for him during this specialty event. Photo: Waterman League
North Shore local Mo Freitas has a dig at Pipeline. Watch for him during this specialty event. Photo: Waterman League

The First Ever Standup Contest at Pipeline

NOTE: The standup paddling portion of the competition will begin at 2pm HST.

The waiting period for the Annual Da Hui Backdoor Shootout kicks off on the North Shore today with 8- to 10-foot incoming swell promising an early start to the surfing competition (Ed’s Note: We just got the inside word that the contest is on hold until tomorrow morning, 7 a.m HST). To honor this year’s 50th anniversary of the Duke Kahanamoku Classic, contest coordinators are doing things a little differently. In addition to the usual surfing contest, they’ll be hosting the first ever standup competition at Pipeline (they’ll also feature longboarding and bodysurfing).

magazine caught up with manager of the Standup World Tour and co-organizer of this year’s Shootout—Tristan Boxford—to get the inside scoop on how it’s all going down.

SUP: How did the idea to include SUP in the Shootout come about?

TB: We’ve been working with Eddie Rothman and Da Hui on trying to get something like this going for a while. They want to use the Shootout to recognize the Duke Kahanamoku Classic, the contest that took place here for 50 years to which we all owe a lot. To that point, we wanted this year’s contest to have a well-rounded representation of Hawaiian culture, watermen and ocean riding, not just shortboard surfing. Standup is just that.

What is the format for the contest?

The SUP contest is going to be pretty simple. It’ll consist of ten surfers with two semis and a final— five guys in the water at a time for 45-minute heats and then a prestigious hour-long final.

How were the competitors for the event selected?

Basically, the primary function is based on Hawaiian heritage. We wanted to select the principle figures in Hawaiian standup and surfing. That is a principle of Da Hui and it’s what the Duke was originally all about. But at the same time, with the modern nature of the sport, we wanted to include some guys from the Standup World Tour as well—Kai Lenny and Mo Freitas. But the other factor is, Pipeline is a very different wave than what most on the World Tour guys are used to surfing. We didn’t want guys going out there and just doing donuts, and that’s what happens when you introduce new surfers to Pipe. Everyone on that list is capable and worthy of taking on Pipe, and that was kind of the criteria as well.

What does it mean for the standup industry to have standup competition at Pipe?

It definitely isn’t saying Pipeline is an open playground. Pipe is an extremely crowded and aggressive wave and we’re not encouraging unprepared people to go SUP Pipe by any means. Really it’s more of a show of respect for the Hawaiian culture and the ability of these guys as watermen. I think it’s also a showcase for how far the sport has come. The performance level and the board design has come so far that now we’re able to have contests in a wave as critical as Pipe. It’s really a testament to where the sport is today.

Is this any indication of a new location being added to the Standup World Tour next year?

It’s going to be kept as a specialty event, just given its relationship to the Duke Kahanamoku Classic, but it will definitely be associated with the Standup World Tour by the Waterman League. But as an official stop on the Standup World Tour—not yet. Sunset will still be the iconic stop, but Pipe will be a prestigious exhibition event.

Click the video for the live webcast, and keep tabs on the competition here

More SUP surf competition here.


Here’s the schedule (HST) from The Waterman League:

We are now live from Pipeline with the Opening day of action for the Da Hui Backdoor Shoout presented by Ambry Genetics and in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Duke Kahanamoku Invitational.

12:00pm: Bodysurfing
12:30pm: Bodyboarding
1:00pm: Longboarding semi finals
2:00pm: Stand Up Paddle semi finals
3:00pm: Longboarding Finals
3:30pm: Stand Up Paddle finals
Tomorrow will feature the traditional shortboarding teams event so plenty of action to come from the North Shore’s own Backdoor Shootout.

All the action is coming to you LIVE at

The article was originally published on Standup Paddling

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