Gabriel Medina, Mick Fanning and Kelly Slater walk into a room. That’s not the beginning of a joke; it’s an actual thing that happened. The three of ’em strolled on into a room at the Billabong Pipeline Masters fortress and sat down at an elaborate brown desk — the type you’d find in a hip downtown espresso bar that’ll be ass-bankrupt in three years. They sat at the desk and they fielded questions about the upcoming World Title sprint at Pipe. The ASP turned the talk into a press release and we pulled a few quotes from it below. The only problem was that a lot of what’s said gets lost when translated to text. And that’s exactly why we, SURFING Magazine, exist: to translate surfing’s intricacies into a message that all can understand. So Gabe, Mick and Kelly walked into a room and here’s what they said…. Maybe that was the beginning of a joke. —Brendan Buckley
What he said: "I really don't care about all of the media attention. I try not to focus on that. There have been a lot of things going on but I don't feel too much pressure and I try not to worry about it. I'm just doing my job – to surf good at every single event and do my best. Competition is like this – you win some and you lose some. Portugal was like that but I know you can't always win.
What he means: Maybe you can’t always win, but that’s exactly what I want to do. Also, media, the attention is cool and all (I’m looking at you, Instagram girls) but stop saying that I didn’t go on bombs at Teahupo’o. And fine, maybe I feel a tiny little bit of pressure from the weight of an entire shouting nation riding on my very toned back but I can handle. By the way, I fucking hated losing in Portugal.
What he said: "It's very different defending a World Title compared to going for one. When you're going for one you're super hungry and you put everything else on the back burner. Then the following year you have so many more obligations, but you're also working hard to try to improve. Sometimes you put extra pressure on yourself and sometimes things don't go your way, but I've had fun.”
What he means: Kind of funny how I snuck up on everyone and put myself within striking distance of a second straight Title, no?
What he said: "I know what I have to do to win the Title, there's no middle ground this year. I have to win the contest. Hopefully we get good waves and it's really exciting. If we can make Gabriel (Medina) lose, like he never does, then Mick (Fanning) and I will have a shot and it will be really exciting. I think we're all hoping for good waves and lots of opportunity.”
What he means: Remember last year when I needed to win the event to win the Title? I just want to surf against John John in the final again. Oh, and I’m bribing the wildcards.
What he said: "It's hard to give advice to young people (who want to get into surfing) but I'd say just try to do your job, surf as well as you can and train hard. If you want to reach your goal, you have to do everything you can to reach it and try very hard."
What he means: I’m 20. Why did you ask me this?
What he said: "I think from when I first got on Tour to where I am now I hope I've improved. I think it's just a matter of putting in the time and I feel like I'm getting better in bigger waves. I still want to get better and I'm still fighting."
What he means: I have watched the sun rise from Off The Wall more times than most people will ever actually watch the sun rise anywhere ever — how do you think I spent this morning? And fuck you if you don’t like my cutback.
What he said: "We're going to go into competition and I'm going to do everything I can to win but I'm not in control of what Gabriel does or what Mick does. Every year, inevitably, you get to the end of the year and there's something that you wish you did differently, a slip up that you made along the way."
What he means: I, uhh, slipped on a banana peel and demolished my board after losing in Portugal — but I’m over that now. Can’t I please just surf against John John in the final? And seriously, wildcards, call me.
And just to refresh…
– If Medina finishes 2nd or better at the Billabong Pipe Masters, he will clinch the 2014 ASP World Title.
– If Medina finishes 3rd at the Billabong Pipe Masters, Fanning will need to win the event and Slater will be out of contention.
– If Medina finishes 5th at the Billabong Pipe Masters, Fanning will need to win the event and Slater will be out of contention.
– If Medina finishes 9th at the Billabong Pipe Masters, Fanning will need to finish 2nd or better and Slater will be out of contention.
-If Medina finishes 13th or 25th at the Billabong Pipe Masters, Fanning will need to finish 3rd to win or 5th to send the title race into a one-heat "surf-off" between himself and Medina.
– If Medina finishes 13th or 25th at the Billabong Pipe Masters, Slater will need to win the event.