As of today, Kelly Slater is a 7-time Pipeline Master. He has won 56 events on the WCT, and he nabbed 6 perfect 10s in 2013 alone. But, despite all that, he is still only an 11-time world champion.
Kelly did everything right on the final day of the 2013 Billabong Pipeline Masters. The waves were bold and perfect and so was Kelly. He had to win the event to clinch the world title and the beach trembled with hope for the almighty. Walking from house to house along the Pipeline shore, most folks said they were pulling for Kelly to stumble, but privately yearned for him to succeed. Who doesn’t love a fairy tale? However, in the Quarterfinals, Mick controversially eliminated the bald Cinderella’s chance of winning by defeating Yadin Nicol and scalping his third world title. It sparked a debate that will roar into wee hours, and we’ll be discussing that in detail very soon. Down but not defeated by the call, Kelly plowed onward and defeated Sebastian Zietz in the Quarters, Joel Parkinson in the Semis and John John Florence in the Final. It was a bittersweet day for the master.
Speaking of runner-up John John Florence, wow. The kid won his second career Triple Crown today, and he did it with much flair. Blow-tail reverse after coming out of a Pipe bomb? John doesn’t see why not. It’s only a matter of time before he too masters the Pipe, and before he steals Sunny Garcia’s 6 Triple Crown thunder. Fret not, young freak.
And fret not, Kelly Slater fans. It would have been wild to witness him pull it off today, but he’s already saying that losing the title today pissed him off enough to return next year looking for No. 12. After all, the guy is only 41. —Brendan Buckley