There is just one event left in the 2019 WSL Championship Tour as we head into the Pacific Ocean for the Pipe Masters held on the north shore of Oahu, Hawaii. The action gets underway this week and continues, weather permitting, through the weekend.
It’s been over a month since the last event in Portugal and boy oh boy the rankings have certainly tightened up after that event. Italo Ferreira who won the event, now leads the charge into the Pipe Masters after defeating Jordy Smith in a one-sided final. The victory in Portugal was Ferreira’s second tour event win for the year and now he leads the standings going into the final event of the year.
Ferreira took the lead over fellow Brazilian Gabriel Medina who finished ninth in Portugal to narrowly fall behind Ferreira in the overall standings. But the year is far from over for Medina who will get his chance to regain the lead and championship in Hawaii. Jordy Smith and Filipe Toledo are also in contention as they try and steal the title, but to do this Ferreira and Medina will need to be knocked out early in the heats to give them any chance of an upset.
Gabriel Medina won his first Pipe Masters event last year after numerous final appearances in the past. After becoming runners up against Julian Wilson in 2014 and Adriana de Sousa the following year, Medina finally got his Pipeline title in 2018 after defeating Julian Wilson. With a never say die approach, look for Medina to be a contender in 2019.
After winning the Pipe Masters back in 2010, Frenchman Jeremy Flores had to wait seven years to take out his second Pipe title. Flores lost in the quarters the previous year but came back to secure it in 2010. Flores had a semi final finish in Bali and he also won the Quiksilver Pro in his home country France back in October. Flores remains a threat as he has had one of the best years on tour in 2019. Flores sits in ninth position and could possibly finish in at least seventh or eighth if all goes well.
Apart from Aussie Jack Robinson taking out the Sunset beach contest. The biggest news to come out of Hawaii in the past week is the inclusion of John John Florence who after missing the previous five contests will make an appearance at Pipe. The crazy thing is that Florence is still in the top ten in eighth position and could quite possibly finish the season in sixth position if he was to win the event.
You can’t talk about the Pipe Masters without mentioning the GOAT Kelly Slater. Slater has remained consistent this season with numerous round of 16 finishes and a quarter final finish at Bells. Slater has earned his position in tenth and could finish this year on a high note at Pipeline. It would be huge if Slater could come out on top and claim his eighth Pipeline Masters.
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