HONOLULU, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- The Billabong Pipe Masters -- the finale of the pro surfing season -- got under way Saturday at Hawaii's famed Banzai Pipeline in solid 6-to-8 foot swells.
The event will end sometime next week and determine the winner of this season's Association of Surfing Professionals World Championship Tour.
"After our brief hold this morning our new swell is filling in and we'll get under way with Round 1," Rich Porta, ASP International Head Judge said in a written statement. "The surf is expected to build throughout the day and we should see some nice barrels for the opening round of competition."
Australians Joel Parkinson and Mick Fanning are in the hunt for the championship, along with U.S. veteran Kelly Slater.
Slater needs to finish fifth or higher to claim the title and Fanning must win the event outright. Parkinson has the advantage in points and can win the crown with a 13th place.
All three will remain on the beach at the North Shore until the third round.