The world title decider commences tonight with the start of the waiting period for the 2014 Billabong Pipeline Masters.
Kelly Slater will be gunning for his 12th world title at the Pipe Masters.
As we all know, Gabriel Medina is the current ratings leader and is in prime position to secure a maiden world title for himself and Brazil. To do this he will have to overcome the challenge by the vastly experienced second and third placed surfers; three time world champ, Mick Fanning, and 11-time world champ, Kelly Slater.
For Gabriel, his mission is to make it through to the semi finals at least. If he does then Mick and Kelly will have no chance of finishing above him. Should he stumble under pressure however, the following permutations (courtesy Surfagram.com) could see either Kelly or Mick crowned world champ:
Anything less than a win for Kelly Slater will see him missing out on his twelfth world title, and the biggest threat standing in the way of the seven time Pipe Master champion is John John Florence. The Hawaiian is yet to win a Pipe Masters title, but few would argue of his mastery at Pipe.
John John will be as fired up as the world title challengers to perform well, and admitted that he would like to get the better of Kelly, who beat him at Chopes in that nail-biting semi-final that saw them tied on 19.77pts at the final horn. Kelly of course won on a count back and John John will be seeking his revenge at Pipe.
John John makes the difficult look easy at Pipe.
Jordy Smith and Travis Logie will also be looking to get properly barrelled at Pipe to end their season on a high. For Travis, the Pipe Masters will be his final event after he announced his retirement from the World Tour last month. A win or final placing is the kind of send-off Travis would be stoked about, while Jordy will be hoping for a solid result to cement his place in the Top 10 on the rankings.
Travis will bid adieu to the world tour after a decade at the highest level.
At the mighty Banzai Pipeline every heat is a cracker if the swell comes to the party, and the forecast is looking promising ahead of the waiting period. Official forecaster Surfline are calling for 8 – 12 foot faces to kick things off on Monday, with the swell growing through Tuesday, while Wednesday is predicted to be huge and out of control. Could make for an interesting start.
An in-depth preview of how we got to and what can be expected from the season finale: