Head Coach Joey Buran

Joey Buran’s World Tour career was bookended by two Pipeline Masters contests. The first was in 1978, and if you were a teenaged American surfer at the time–even better, if you had at least a passive acquaintance with Joey, as I did–it was a shocker. This raggedy-haired 17-year-old high school dropout stoner beat Rory Russell in the prelims and made the Masters final, where he finished one place behind Lopez and one ahead of Kealoha. We sputtered all over our Supertramp LPs. Joey Buran! Sand Crab! Sure, he’d been slaying the WSA opens for two years, and a couple months before Pipe he’d won the California Pro (his $3,000 winner’s check bounced like a piece of flubber; contest haters were chortling for weeks), but so what? Who among us West Coast plebes, in that beat down period of localism and all-purpose single-fin guns and the endless kowtowing to our Aussie and Hawaiian betters, had the drive, the stones, the imagination, to surf their way into a Pipe Masters final? Nobody but Joey. We were in awe.