This past weekend during the MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal, Gabriel Medina had the chance to clinch his second world title. Contenders Filipe Toledo and Julian Wilson were ousted from the event before Medina, leaving him the opportunity to be crowned champ if he could get through the semis and finals and take the event. But thanks to a display of aerial wizardly on behalf of event winner Italo Ferreira, Medina’s trophy chase was shelved. Now the title showdown will continue at the 2018 Pipe Masters–which, arguably, is what all the fans want anyway.
By making the semifinal, however, Medina did increase his lead over Wilson and Toledo, putting the follow 2018 World Title scenarios into effect (according to the WSL):
-If Gabriel Medina finishes 1st or 2nd at Pipeline he wins the World Title.
-If Gabriel Medina places 3rd at Pipeline, Julian Wilson and Filipe Toledo will need a 1st to win the World Title.
-If Gabriel Medina finishes 5th or worse at Pipeline, Julian Wilson and Filipe Toledo will need to make the final to win the World Title.
According to Medina’s track record at Pipe, things are looking promising for 2014 World Champ (P.S. how has he not won another world title since 2014, amirite?). He always performs well at Pipe (he’s made the final twice) and is an ace in big, left-hand tubes. But it ain’t a sure thing for Medina. Wilson has won the event before–the same year Medina secured his first title, remember?
And hell, even though Toledo hasn’t placed better than 5th at Pipe doesn’t take him out of the running this year. The high-flying Brazilian seems like he’s been putting in his time at places that produce big, hollow left-hand barrels, which hopefully will be on the menu this year at Pipe.
All in all, the race will be tight, and if they luck into a swell during the waiting period, the three-man showdown will be highly entertaining.
[Ed Note: Check back in to SURFER.com to get the official World Title Scenarios for the women, which will play out at Honolua Bay starting November 25th]