In the final heat of Round 1, former Pipe Masters Champion, Bede Durbidge came out strong against Tiago Pires and Miguel Pupo. Durbidge, who also won the Triple Crown in 2007, comboed his opponents with two sevens.
Heat 10 saw an all-Australian battle between Owen Wright, Mitch Crews and Adrian Buchan. Though Buchan nabbed two seven's in a very active heat, it was Wright who claimed the direct advance with two excellent range scores, a 8.93 and 8.57.
"You get more comfortable the more time you spend and I've been here over a month now or maybe a bit more than that, but just starting to get comfortable at Backdoor," Wright revealed. "For me Backdoor is one of those really challenging waves. I hit the bottom twice out there so it kind of shows it's a dangerous wave."
Brett Simpson (USA) had the highest single-wave score in Heat 9, but it wasn't enough to overcome the two-wave total of Josh Kerr. Kai Otton had a hard time adjusting to the offshore winds that appeared in the afternoon heats, only finding two waves for a combined 1.67.
Kolohe Andino and Freddy Patacchia went head-to-head in heat eight, as an injured Travis Logie pulled out ahead of Round 1. Though Patacchia has a long history at Pipe, it was the energetic Andino that found his way to a 10.77 two-wave total and a win over the veteran WCT surfer.
"I was really excited to surf out there even if Travis was in the heat or whatever, just two other guys," said Andino. "I was really amped because I don't get much in the freesurfs and everyone is watching so you get to showcase what you can do."
In Heat 7, Jordy Smith, Jadson Andre and Jeremy Flores went to battle in the second half of Round 1. 2010 Pipe Masters Champion, Flores, nabbed an early lead with a 7.00, the highest score of the heat.
After Flores backed up his 7.00 with a 2.30, Andre and Smith could not catch up. Smith, who has spent a great deal of time in Hawaii over the last few weeks competing in the Reef Hawaiian Pro and the Vans World Cup of Surfing, looked sluggish in his first heat placing third with a two-wave total of 2.07.
Battle No. 6 saw World No. 1, Gabriel Medina (BRA) faced off against Dion Atkinson and Pipe Invitational winner, Reef McIntosh (HAW) in a what turned out be a low-scoring heat. Much like Fanning, Medina opened aggressively with a 3.33, but McIntosh answered back with a 4.17 and early lead change.
However, only Medina was able to find a backup score to secure his place into Round 3. "It's really fun, I love to surf pipe," Medina told ASP's Rosy Hodge. "I'm looking forward just to surf good and having fun out there. I feel comfortable, I got a good board under my feet."
Brazil's First World Title hopeful will continue his quest in Round 3.
In Heat 5, Mick Fanning came out hungry against Aritz Aranburu and wildcard Makai McNamara, solidifying an early lead with a 7.33. Having never backed up any of his World Titles, world No. 2 Fanning appeared more eager than ever before to earn his fourth crown.
McNamara attempted three waves throughout the heat, but failed to find a score above 1.40. Patience seemed to be getting the better of Aranburu, until he scored a 9.27 with 13 minutes left in the heat, putting Fanning on edge.
With two minutes left, Fanning faltered, giving up priority on a Backdoor closeout. Aranburu only needed a 2.89 to upset the World Title hopeful. In a stroke of luck the ocean went quiet, offering no chance for Aranburu to find a small score and allowing Fanning to escape a Round 1 loss.
In the first of three highly anticipated Round 1 heats, World Title hopeful, Kelly Slater took on Adam Melling and Triple Crown star Dusty Payne in Heat 4. Payne and Slater traded the first blows, taking back-to-back waves. It was Slater who took the early lead with an 8.10, backing it up with a 7.70 halfway through the heat.
Melling found himself well behind Payne and Slater heading into the last 10 minutes. He earned a 7.00 to get himself out of a combo situation, but needed an 8.80 to secure the advance to Round 3. Under priority heading into the two-minute mark, Melling seemed all but destined for Round 2.
Payne lifted the priority with under a minute left in an attempt to better his 5.17 and overtake Slater, but it was Melling on the following wave who snagged an 8.90 and a last minute heat win.
Though Slater will face elimination in Round 2, his toe injury recently suffered in Fiji, appeared to offer little hinderance to his ability to perform at Pipeline.
Heat 3 saw Hawaiian favorite John John Florence take on Australians, Mitch Coleburn and Matt Wilkinson. Florence waited patiently through the first 10 minutes of his heat, but started off with an 8.93 and quickly backed up his first wave with a 9.23, the first nine-point ride of the 2014 Billabong Pipe Masters.
Wilkinson had a difficult time in his Round 1 heat, facing a broken leash and two-wave total of 2.23. Fellow Australian, Mitch Coleburn, attempted eight waves, but failed to match Florence's excellent range combo.
Florence is a two-time Vans Triple Crown Champion, but has yet to win a Pipe Masters event, falling to Slater in last year's Final. He will continue his pursuit in Round 3.
In the second facoff of the day, former Triple Crown Champion, Sebastian Zietz, looked comfortable, snagging a pair of sevens and a direct advance to Round 3. Raoni Monteiro suffered two of the heaviest wipeouts, finishing the heat in second place with a low scoring two-wave total.
World No. 5 and recent Vans World Cup of Surfing Champion, Michel Bourez, charged the entire heat. But he couldn't seem to find the right waves, pulling in too deep at Backdoor and suffering a broken board. He'll face new opponents in Round 2.
In Round 1 of the Billabong Pipe Masters, Joel Parkinson, who pulled out of the Vans World Cup of Surfing due to an injury suffered at Pipe, dominated his opening heat. "I spent a week out of the water and I feel fine now," Parko told ASP commentator Todd Kline. "Little tight in my shoulder and a bit of bruising, but not too bad."
His fellow Australian Julian Wilson struggled to find waves, locking in a 1.23, his only wave ridden during the entire 30-minute heat. Injury wildcard, Glenn Hall, who filled the opening of Adriano De Souza (BRA), caught four waves during Heat 1, but only garnered a 4.26 two-wave total in a relatively slow heat.