STAGE SET FOR EPIC FINALE:
The stage is set for epic world title race on Saturday. Surf Europe reports live from Hawaii.
Funny, fark yeah, and today Pipe showed the love, and left the Billabong Pipe Masters perfectly poised for a classic finish for 2013 world title. Kelly Slater and Mick Fanning are both still in the running, and there is waves predicted for Saturday. “The swell looks amazing, the winds great, it could be 10 foot and perfect," said Shane Dorian, who knows a little about such matters. Mick needs to make two heats, a semifinal birth will net him a world title. Kelly still needs to win it to get his 12th.
“The way I figure it," said Kelly after winning is second heat of the day and progressing straight through to the quarters, unlike Mick who lost and now has to surf the round 5. “Mick’s four waves away from a world title and I am six waves away from a world title." When pressed what he would be doing over the next few days he said. “I am going to be gluttonous and lazy and play a lot of golf. I’ll probably check the forecast about 400 times, but apart from that I’ll try and keep my mind off it all."
Don’t be fooled though, he really wants this. “Kelly is absolutely serious about this," said Taylor Knox. “There’s been times this year I have questioned his commitment, but not now. This is the perfect set up for him, it’s like he needs this type of scenario to really make it happen."
Fanning is also obviously taking it seriously, but came unstuck after just failing to make it out of about six Backdoor runners. “I came really close on one, and then just started going everything, it’s so close out there, anything can happen."
Bede Durbidge will vouch for that. Just after getting a 9.4 screamer on a left, and taking command of the heat, his next right featured a doggy door lip to the right earhole and a courtesy lift on the beach ambulance. His opponent Nat Young then added further pain, scoring a heat winner with two minutest to go.
John John Florence did something similar, netting a 9.83 backdoor chandelier riddled bomb to stop an impressive Gabriel Medina. With ten foot Pipe predicted, you’d be a brave man to bet against him. Other highlights was a Yadin Nicol 10 point left, his third in three years. The Aussie has to win the event to secure a place on next year’s WCT, and as one of eight surfers left in the quarterfinal, his chances aren’t as long as you think. In that his is already joined by Kelly Slater, John John and Parko. Pipeline has a way of sorting the wheat from the chaff. But right now there are only two names that matter, Fanning and Slater. As Kelly said, after a year on the road, it has come down to four waves. Of course a lot of shit will go down before those four waves are ridden. It should be epic.