After 10 events, the ASP World Champion title race will be decided at the tour’s final stop—and mecca of the sport: the Billabong Pipeline Masters in Oahu, Hawaii.
It’s becoming a trend. This is the third consecutive year in which the world champ is not crowned until Pipe. In 2012 Joel Parkinson, a four-time runner up on the world tour, finally broke through with a win at the Pipe Masters and claimed his first ASP World Title. Last year, Mick Fanning advanced to the semifinals of the Pipe Masters and earned his third world title. The surfer on the losing end both years needs no introduction—Kelly Slater.
- MORE EDGE: A day in the life of pro surfer Mick Fanning
Slater once again is near the top of the standings heading into Hawaii. But with no wins on this year’s tour (yet), the 11-time world champ finds himself behind Gabriel Medina and Mick Fanning in the rankings.
Fanning has continued his winning ways from 2013. He has finished first in three events this season (Bells Beach, Jeffreys Bay and Portugal). The victory in Portugal, cobined as it was with a third-round exit by Medina, has Fanning eyeing a feat that only four surfers (including Slater) have accomplished. Win at least four world titles.
But in his way is Medina, the current points leader. Medina is at the forefront of a group of younger surfers, including John John Florence, Kolohe Andino and Nat Young, who are looking to take down the same tour veterans they idolized when they started surfing. Slater won his first world title in 1992—the year before Medina was born.
Yet this year, Medina has been the one to beat. He has matched Fanning’s total with three event wins (Gold Coast, Fiji and Tahiti) and has held the top spot in the title race after every event except the Billabong Rio Pro in early May.
But while the 20-year-old from Maresias, Brazil, still possesses a substantial lead going into the Pipe Masters, the championship is far from settled. “I’m gonna plead the fifth,” said big wave world champion and ASP commentator Pete Mel on the title race preview show. “I think all three competitors can do this and it’s just going to be a matter of what the waves do.”
The points breakdown for the three surfers who still have a chance to win the world title looks like this:
- Gabriel Medina: 56,550
- Mick Fanning: 53,100
- Kelly Slater: 50,050
So what does each contender need to win? Here’s what you need to know:
To see all the possible scenarios take a look at the chart below:
|If Media finishes...||25th-13th||9th||5th-3rd||2nd-1st|
|Fanning must finish...||3rd*||2nd||1st||Out|
|Slater must finish...||1st||Out||Out||Out|
*If Fanning finishes 5th, he will force a surf off vs. Medina. Information courtesy of ASP.
2014 Billabong Pipe Masters First Round Heat Draw:
Heat 1: Joel Parkinson, Julian Wilson, Glenn Hall
Heat 2: Michel Bourez, Sebastian Zietz, Raoni Monteiro
Heat 3: John John Florence, Matt Wilkinson, Mitch Coleborn
Heat 4: Kelly Slater, Adam Melling, Dusty Payne
Heat 5: Mick Fanning, Aritz Aranburu, Wildcard (TBA)
Heat 6: Gabriel Medina, Dion Atkinson, Wildcard (TBA)
Heat 7: Jordy Smith, Jadson Andre, Jeremy Flores
Heat 8: Kolohe Andino, Fred Patacchia, Travis Logie
Heat 9: Josh Kerr, Kai Otton, Brett Simpson
Heat 10: Owen Wright, Adrian Buchan, Mitch Crews
Heat 11: Nat Young, Filipe Toledo, Alejo Muniz
Heat 12: Bede Durbidge, Miguel Pupo, Tiago Pires