Within the next few days, the surf world will crown a new world champion on Oahu’s North Shore. With three very different surfers in contention for the crown (Australia’s Mick Fanning, Brazil’s Gabriel Medina, and the US’s Kelly Slater) each of the contenders respective camps and fan bases are holding their collective breath as we approach the final lap. And if the current predictions for swell are accurate, we’ll most likely be looking at the world-champ deciding heats going down at Pipeline in the next 48 hours. So get ready, surf fans. We’re nearing the end.
For those of you unfamiliar with the backstory and inner workings of competitive surfing, this has been a tumultuous and potentially game-changing year for the sport as Kelly Slater, the most dominant surfer in the history of the sport, vies for his 12th world title while a young Brazilian upstart, Gabriel Medina, prepares to ascend to the throne. Then, of course, you need to factor in the reigning world champion, Mick Fanning, into the equation.
Leading the ratings is the aforementioned Brazilian wunderkind, Gabriel Medina. In his early 20s, Medina has quickly risen to the upper echelon of the sport and has a passionate fan base in Brazil pushing him towards an inevitable world title. But there’s something to be said when it comes to Medina: he’s still very young. When the pressure mounted in the Portuguese leg of the World Tour, Medina had the opportunity to cement his first title, but faltered, leaving the door open for Mick Fanning and Slater to tighten the race. Medina is still the odds-on favorite as we approach the end of the Pipe Masters, but his inexperience at a niche wave like Pipe (especially of the conditions favor Backdoor) could prove to be his undoing.
For Australia’s Fanning to find himself once again crowned world champ, he’ll need for Medina to falter and to finish the event near the top. Slater, as it turns out, finds himself needing a miracle. Medina will need to lose in round three and he’ll practically have to win the event outright to win the title. If that sounds like a journey too far, keep in mind that Slater has built his entire reputation on doing the impossible.
We’re just a few hours away from the big, title-deciding showdown at Pipeline. So get ready, the greatest show in surf is coming to Oahu’s North Shore.
If you’re lucky enough to be staying at Turtle Bay and can catch all the action from Pipe in person, you’re in for a showing that you won’t soon forget. If you couldn’t make the pilgrimage to paradise, you can watch all of the action at ASPWorldTour.com.