Last year, reigning World Champ John Florence clinched the 2016 title in Portugal, leaving the last event of the season a fairly low-stakes affair (for the Title race, that is). This year, things are a bit different. The waiting period for the Billabong Pipe Masters–the last event of the 2017 ‘CT season–officially starts tomorrow, and there’s a four-man showdown underway. Florence, Gabriel Medina, Jordy Smith and Julian Wilson all have a shot at claiming the huge-ass WSL trophy, but it won’t be an easy undertaking for any of them.
Florence is currently sitting at the top of the Jeep Leaderboard. But if he falters in the first few rounds, he could leave the gate open for the rest of the Title campaigners. Here’s a breakdown of who needs to do what in order to win, according to the WSL:
1. If John John makes the final, he’ll take the 2017 World Title.
2. If Gabriel Medina wins Pipe, he’ll clinch only if Florence finishes no better than 3rd.
3. If Florence does no better than 9th, Medina can take the Title with a 2nd place finish. Jordy Smith can take it with a win.
4. If Florence gets 13th or 25th, Medina needs 5th to clinch the Title, Smith a 2nd, and Julian a win.
If you take a look at each contender’s previous results for the last five years, you’ll see that Florence and Medina have been the most consistent of the bunch. But then again, Wilson is also the one with a Pipe Masters title to his name:
Results 2011 – 2016
John John Florence: 5th, 13th, 2nd, 5th, 9th, 5th
Gabriel Medina: 5th, 9th, 13th, 2nd, 2nd, 13th
Jordy Smith: 13th, 13th, INJ, 25th, 13th, 5th
Julian Wilson: 13th, 13th, 5th, 1st, 13th, 13th
If we’ve learned anything from last year’s event which saw Michel Bourez and Kanoa Igarashi in the finals, it’s that events at Pipe can be unpredictable, and open to anyone’s taking. Tune in tomorrow to see if the event will run.