Prodigal Pipe Master celebrates
IT'S not every night the Suffolk Park hotel has a winner of the Pipe Masters surfing contest getting shouted at the bar.
And there would be even fewer nights the Pipe Master at the bar calls the Suffolk pub his local.
But on Wednesday night the Byron Bay surfing community gathered at the hotel to celebrate 34-year-old Byron surfer Kieren Perrow being crowned the latest winner of the iconic Pipe Master surfing title, held in Hawaii earlier this month.
"It was great to be home after so long away and catch up with friends that I haven't seen," Perrow told The Northern Star.
"The boys were so stoked (with the Pipeline win)."
Perrow said his achievement was a credit to the Byron Bay Boardriders' Club culture, which he surfed for prior to turning pro.
"It speaks to the community spirit here," he said.
"The boardriders really get behind the guys with talent."
After growing up surfing Byron's beach breaks, Perrow has developed a reputation as a surfer who fearlessly charges the hollow, intense waves Pipe dishes up every North Shore winter.
With his Pipe Masters victory, that reputation has crystallised into a win at the location every board rider wants to conquer.
"This is the pinnacle for me," Perrow said.
Perrow now has his name etched alongside legends of the sport including Mark Richards and 11-times world champ Kelly Slater as one of just 27 to have tamed the merciless beast that is Pipeline.
"I'll be honoured to be part of that list forever," he said.
"It'll be part of me from now on."
Not that it needed any more significance, but Perrow's win also ensured he qualified for next year's surfing world tour.
Perrow will have until February in the Bay before joining next year's surfing world tour schedule for its first event to be held on the Gold Coast.