Despite having an amazing Hawaiian winter season, one of the true heroes of Pipeline will be forced to watch the Mike Stewart Pipeline Invitational from the beach.
Two-time world champion Andre Botha will not compete in the Mike Stewart Pipeline Invitational due to a back injury sustained while bodyboarding during a heavy session at Waimea shorebreak.
The South African bodyboarding legend, and one of our dark horse picks of the contest, has confirmed he will be a late scratching from the contest.
Botha visited several doctors after the injury and was diagnosed with a mild compression fracture in the T-12 vertebrae.
He was advised to take at least six weeks out of the water with no strenuous activity, meaning he will be unable to compete in the contest, which is set to start tomorrow (Hawaiian local time).
Despite the heartbreak on missing out of the contest, Botha remained upbeat about the situation.
“These things tend to happen for a reason and it’s just a part of putting it on the line during free surfing,” he said.
“I’m sure there will be plenty of Pipe contests for me in the years to come, just unfortunately not this year.”
Botha has been one of the standout bodyboarders throughout a rollercoaster Hawaiian winter season, which included rescuing pro surfer Evan Gieselman in between big sessions at Pipeline and Waimea shorebreak.
Filling in for Botha will be Cronulla legend and Skid Kid Christian “Rissole” Riguccini, who is on the North Shore for an upcoming Holding On documentary Hawaiian premiere.
An updated heat draw will be posted the morning of the contest.
Day one of the Mike Stewart Pipeline Invitational is expected to begin tomorrow (Hawaiian time).