Owen Wright (Head Injury) DOUBTFUL:
10 December, 2015 - Owen Wright has officially withdrawn from the Pipe Masters and will be replaced by Mason Ho. Details are still forthcoming in regards to his injury.
9 December, 2015 - Owen Wright sustained some form of head injury during a freesurf today near Pipeline, Oahu. After taking multiple waves to the head following a wipeout he returned to his hotel room to sleep it off. Upon awaking, Wright was "visibly disoriented" with difficulty breathing. He was immediately taken to the Kahuku Medical Center by ambulance.
According to Matt Wilkinson, Rip Curl teammate and eyewitness:
"He got a nug, then a big wide set came and he got three or four on the head. ...Mick [Fanning] got one of them and dove off next to him, they both got smashed together for two or three more, and Owen just let himself get washed in.
...[Wright] came in and felt weird and couldn’t really speak or anything. It was like his body was completely out of fuel, it was pretty scary looking."
Reports are confirming that Wrights vitals were stable when EMS arrived and that he is in no danger. The diagnosis based on this new account may suggest water in the lungs, but still unconfirmed. Stay tuned, we'll keep you posted.
Matt Banting (Knee) OUT:
23 November, 2015 - Matt Banting will sit out the remainder of the year, including the Billabong Pipe Masters. He will be replaced by Bruce Irons. It's hard to believe that he will be sidelined again, given his recovery period and seemingly successful rehabilitation, but it may be a play-it-safe scenario. He'll hope for a Wildcard spot with Jordy Smith to get back on the 2016 CT.
Freddy Patacchia Jr. (Retired) OUT:
5 December, 2015 - Freddy Patacchia (retirement) will remain true to his word and not return to the CT this season. We were hoping he would be temped to surf the classic break uncrowded, but it won't be enough to pull him back to the draw. In his stead will be Wade Carmichael, recent winner of the Hawaiian Pro QS.