The season-ending Billabong Pipe Masters in Memory of Andy Irons looks as though it will begin Thursday, the first possible day of competition, because of a large swell that already has arrived on Oahu's North Shore.
Waves were 8-10 feet on Tuesday and the Surfline forecast calls for sets in the double- to triple-overhead range on Thursday, with face heights exceeding 15 feet, and brisk offshore trade winds.
The swell will fade only slightly Friday, and slightly more Saturday, but overall conditions should be outstanding for the first three days.
Though Kelly Slater has already clinched the ASP World Tour title, there's plenty at stake for surfers hoping to improve their position in the standings, and for those in the running for the prestigious Vans Triple Crown of Surfing title.
The top five in the World Tour rankings are Slater, Joel Parkinson, Owen Wright, Adriano de Souza and Taj Burrow.
Leading the Triple Crown race is Hawaii's John John Florence, 18; Adam Melling and Michel Bourez.
The competition window for the event, which is being held in honor of the late surfing icon Andy Irons, closes Dec. 20.
-- Image of Pipeline as seen from the beach Tuesday is courtesy of ASP