WSL Billabong Pipe Masters
The 2018 WSL finale begins this weekend on the shores of Haleiwa on the North shore of Hawaii. The Billabong Pipe Masters is the last event of the triple crown of surfing, the event kicks off on December 8th and runs through to the 20th if needed.
The world title is still up for grabs even though Gabriel Medina leads the rankings by just under 5000 points ahead of Julian Wilson and fellow countrymen Filipe Toledo.
Medina has been the most consistent throughout the year and thoroughly deserves another World Title to his name. For Medina to get knocked out early in the heats, there will need to be a huge upset. Medina finished 13th in the first event of the year held on the Gold Coast Australia, but since that his worst finish to an event was in Bali where is finished ninth. In his previous three events he has had one victory and two semi final exits. He meets Australian Connor O’Leary and still waiting to hear who his second opponent will be, most probably will be a wild card opponent.
Julian Wilson and Filipe Toledo will be frustrated that they weren't closer to Medina in the rankings but both surfers had one to many heat losses and couldn't obtain the consistency that Medina had. Putting that aside I'm sure they are more focused on their Pipe Masters instead of focusing on Medina to see if he gets knocked out early.
This year's Pipe Masters will feel a little different with Hawaiian world champ John John Florence once again withdrawing from the event. Florence is yet to win this event in his backyard but has been there to claim to claim the world title the previous two years. He was defeated by veteran Jeremy Flores who won his second Pipe event of his career. Flores is in 16th position in the rankings and by his standards would love to break the top 10 to finish the year off.
With the world title on everyone's mind we may be forgetting that the 11 time WSL world champion Kelly Slater will be surfing the 2018 Pipe Masters. It's still unsure if this will be his last tournament of his career, but to have Slater at another Pipe Masters event is fantastic. The eight time Pipe champion will meet a pair of young groms in Griffin Colapinto and Wade Carmichael in round one. It's a tough round one for Slater who hasn't completed in a contest since his own event held at the Surf Ranch in California. But you don't need to tell the 46 year old how to surf Pipe.
Young rookie Griffin Colapinto is one of the favourites to take out the this event, the American is clear from losing a spot on tour but is still ranked in 20th position after a solid start to the year.
With only days left for the start of the contest, will we see Medina take home another world title or will it be spoiled by the Aussie Julian Wilson or Brazilian Filipe Toledo.
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