Mick Fanning won the war, but Kelly Slater won the battle. This morning at the Billabong Pipe Masters, Kelly had to sit and watch Mick win the world title, but he was never gonna let anyone else win the contest. Even when he drew John John Florence in the final. “This guy’s the king out here these days,” said the Floridian of John. “And I’m the old lion trying to hold on.” And, the lion held on.
For the first two thirds of the final, it was, as Sean Doherty described it, “a commentator’s worst nightmare.” Then it turned on. The first exchanges of consequences saw Kelly drop into an absolute mutant for 9.87, backed up by a 2.67. John, sitting on an 8.50 and a 3.17, still led. Kelly whipped into a 6.50 to take the lead with a coupla minutes remaining, and in the final minute John took off on a rare Backdoor runner needing 7.88. He was given 7.40. And while John gets a Triple Crown consolation prize, Kelly Slater, for the seventh time, is the Pipe Master.
Here’s some extra things you might not have known leading into this world title showdown and Pipe Masters final day…
- Kelly attributes his Pipe success to one single wave he had there. This wave gave him the confidence he needed and created the love he now has for the place. Before this wave he was terrified every time he went out there. It’s like something clicked after this wave, and he went on to win his first Pipe Masters and world title after it.
- Mick is the best loser around. Even if he’d lost this title, he’d of course have been frustrated for a minute, but then let it go, partied with the rest, and said, “what’s done is done, no point looking back.” A trait Kelly perhaps wishes he had.
- Kelly knows more about the swell and charts than the forecasters themselves. He knows exactly what this swell is going to look like. If Kelly spent half as much time surfing as he does on his phone no other surfer in the world would have a chance.
- Mick brought his whole family and crew to Hawaii this year. He wanted them to be there when he won. They come first, and the rest was fun.
- Even though Kelly said if he won this contest and the title that he’d retire, he’s not. His manager and big homies just bought the ASP. You know he was part of that deal. And, during the awards ceremony, he said: “I think this pissed me off just enough to stick around.”
- Kelly ain’t young anymore and he has to take calculated risks. A wipeout that Mick or a younger surfer would shake off might tear Kelly’s shoulder or knee out. This is why he doesn’t get too crazy during freesurfs.
- Every night, Kelly would’ve read every forum and article about the world title race. In fact, he’s probably one of the commentators among you. If someone gets a fact wrong, it’ll annoy him. Actually, he’s probably annoyed at this right now.
- Watching the birth of his nephew almost kept Kelly out of the title race altogether. He missed his first heat in Fiji because of it, but then swooped in time to stay in the contest, and go on to win it. Being late also nearly cost Kelly a world title in 2011, when Luke Egan ran the comp in J-Bay before Kelly could get there.
- Despite being in second place before Pipe, Kelly made more money than Mick this year. Mick’s title bonus will change that, however.
- While he said this world title was Mick’s to lose, Kelly knew deep down that it was the other way around. How many times have we seen him do the impossible? Kelly needs last minute heroics to get the same winning rush he had with his first world title.
- The mainstream wanted Kelly to win this world title. But, every pro surfer on tour or pro freesurfer would’ve told you they wanted Mick to win. The party will be bigger and he is the people’s champ.
- #cmonmick has three times as many hashtags as #onlykellycan
BILLABONG PIPE MASTERS FINAL RESULTS:
1 - Kelly Slater (USA) 16.37
2 - John John Florence (HAW) 15.90
BILLABONG PIPE MASTERS SEMIFINAL RESULTS:
SF 1: John John Florence (HAW) 18.30 def. Mick Fanning (AUS) 5.00
SF 2: Kelly Slater (USA) 19.63 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 14.84
BILLABONG PIPE MASTERS QUARTERFINAL RESULTS:
QF 1: Mick Fanning (AUS) 17.03 def. Yadin Nicol (AUS) 16.90
QF 2: John John Florence (HAW) 16.77 def. Julian Wilson (AUS) 13.00
QF 3: Kelly Slater (USA) 18.80 def. Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 7.80
QF 4: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 12.83 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 6.00
BILLABONG PIPE MASTERS ROUND 5 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Mick Fanning (AUS) 12.00 def. C.J. Hobgood (USA) 10.50
Heat 2: Julian Wilson (AUS) 10.67 def. Nat Young (USA) 7.26
Heat 3: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 16.60 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 4.33
Heat 4: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 15.27 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 10.76