The most interesting moment of the contest was when Mick Fanning interfered with John John Florence’s final wave in their Round 4 heat. It was a strategic move on his part to avoid facing Florence in Round 5. Florence is surfing in his own backyard here at Pipeline and knows this wave better than most. He is a very difficult draw for anyone, including potential world champs.
Pipeline - the most famous wave in the world. Day one of this years Pipe Masters contest began with near perfect Pipeline surf. Sometime during this contest, the ASP 2013 World Title will be decided. If Mick Fanning gets past the Quarter Finals, he will win the title, even if Kelly Slater wins the contest. Kelly is basically in the position of needing a miracle to win title #12 this year. That being said, he is the greatest competitive surfer ever, so don’t write him off just yet. If Mick loses in the Quarters or before, Kelly still has to win the event to claim the title. It doesn’t get much more exciting than this in pro surfing!
It’s looking like Kelly Slater is out of the running for the ASP World Title this year, unless Mick Fanning gets eliminated before the semi finals in this event. After starting the year with some great events held in epic conditions, the last three events have had very lackluster conditions. Kelly’s comments can be heard in this video clip:
You have to wonder why heats that are so important to the title race between Mick and Kelly were run in such marginal conditions. The forecast is to blame, with increasing swell and poor conditions on offer for the rest of the waiting period. Still, it is tragic to see the title race come down to who gets luckiest in crappy surf… I’d much rather see them being pushed to their limits so that the best performance wins the title.
The ASP World Title Race resumed this morning on the opening day of the Quiksilver Pro France, with the world’s best surfers taking on clean 3-4Ft A-frames at the back-up location of Seignosse Le Penon.
Event No.8 of 10 on the 2013 ASP World Championship Tour, the Quiksilver Pro France showcases professional surfing’s heroes in some of the best beachbreaks on the planet. With only two more events left this year, both World Title contenders and surfers outside the Top22 consider the Quiksilver Pro France with the utmost importance.
Quiksilver surfer Kelly Slater (USA) 41, eleven-time ASP World Champion, had his back against the ropes in his Round 1 encounter with Adam Melling (AUS) and Dane Reynolds (USA) and failed to find excellent scoring opportunities for most of the 30-minute exchange. With only seconds on the clock, Slater found a cleaner, longer left with more verticality and dismantled every section of the wave to earn a near-perfect 9.23 out of a possible 10.
Adrian Buchan (AUS) defeated Kelly Slater (USA) to be crowned the 2013 Billabong Pro Champion.
There was a very controversial priority mistake made in the final, when Adrian paddled hard for a wave, then stopped when he saw Kelly back off. At that point in time, Kelly stopped because Adrian had priority. After his paddle for that wave, priority should have been returned to Kelly, but the judges either missed the call or decided that Adrian didn’t fully commit to catching the wave. If you look at the replay, it is clear that he definitely went for the wave. Shortly after this, Adrian caught his second high-scoring wave to clinch the heat. That wave should have gone to KS. If the priority error hadn’t been made, we might have had a very different result in the end. It is unfortunate that a judging error may have caused the wrong result. That being said, Ace surfed incredibly on the final day, grabbing some of the best waves in the entire contest in every heat he was in. He was in great form and very much deserved to be in the final. He may have won even if the judges hadn’t missed that call.
“I finally f++king won!” Sometimes, a t-shirt nails it. And Kustom’s victory shirt for Parko summed up the combination of relief and joy on the beach today. After 12 years battling out on tour, including four-runner-up finishes and three Triple Crown titles, Joel Parkinson finally f++king won the world title - and the Pipe Masters to boot.
About time, too.
“Over the last 12 years, people have seen how much he puts into his surfing and his family and his life; Parko really deserved it,” Mick Fanning said just after Kerrzy took down Slater in the semis, giving Joel the title. “Today was incredible. First it was in Kelly’s court, he had to perform.
Then it swung back. And then it swung back. A lot of times, the title comes down to one heat, but the back-and-forth was electric. And even though they didn’t surf against each other, Parko and Kelly were battling each other emotionally.”
A Parko/Kelly final would’ve been Hollywood material, but the scriptwriter must’ve not taken into account Josh Kerr, who bounced back from a R4 injury to take down the 11-time world champ in what turned out to be a slow semifinal.
“I felt like physically I was gonna be sick after Kerr’s first wave (a 9.2), like ‘could this really happen?’” Parko said of the Kerr/Slater semi. “And then it felt like time started going backwards. I can’t believe it’s actually happened — it feels very surreal.”
While the seconds ticked off and Kelly holding a 4.9 heat total - and only needing an 8-something - Parko’s camp at the Billabong house paced and whistled, started jumping up and down and hugging and clapping as the buzzer sounded. He was chaired up the beach in what was arguably the longest, soft-sand chair in ASP history.
Today is the final day of competition in the 2012 Billabong Pipe Masters on the North Shore of Oahu. First heat in the water features Kelly Slater, who is attempting to win an unprecedented 12th ASP World Title. The only 2 surfers that have a shot at the title anymore are Kelly and Joel Parkinson. There is a good chance that both of them will advance to the finals and face each other in an exciting, epic showdown. Down to the wire! The contest will be starting at 9:00am Hawaii time (11:00am Pacific). Not to be missed!
Solid swell continues on the North Shore of Oahu and day 2 of the Pipe Masters contest is underway!
Building swell and the first heat is in the water now.