It’s an excellent time to be a pro surfing fan. Even if you’re disgruntled with the recent Jules/Gabs outcome, there’s no denying the thrill of controversy, and the surge of passion and like we’ve never seen before (386 comments on our Rip Curl Pro, Portugal final day article). And that ain’t all. Simmering away not so subtly is one of the most electric world title climaxes you’ve seen in a long time. With eight events down and two remaining, we’re faced with the strong possibility of a Pipe showdown (read more on that below).
“I’ve never been in a title race with so many people so close,” Mick Fanning said recently. “It’s definitely something new.” Those ‘so many people’, in order of their rankings at this moment, are Joel Parkinson, Kelly Slater, Mick himself, John Florence and Adriano de Souza. And make no mistake – winning a world title when Kelly’s seriously gunning for it is as legitimate a way to do it as is possible in this decade (or the last).
Stab loves a hypothetical. But we also dig on possible outcomes. Who doesn’t? We asked resident ASP mathematician Al Hunt to indulge us with the official rundown, rolling into the O’Neill Cold Water Classic in Santa Cruz.
Joel: “Joel can only clinch the title in Santa Cruz if he wins the event and Kelly gets a 13th or worse, and Mick gets a ninth or worse.”
Kelly: “Kelly cannot clinch in Santa Cruz. Even with a first place and Joel a 25th, it will go to Pipe.”
Pipe: “If Joel gets a second place or worse, it will go to Pipe, regardless of the other contenders’ results.”
Contenders: “Only Parko, Kelly, Mick, John John and Adriano in the running. The rest have no chance.”
So, how’s all that taste? – Elliot Struck