There’s World Titles, Triple Crowns, Olympic spots and CT slots all on the line
Who Will The World Title?
Yep, the big one. One of Gabriel Medina, Italo Ferreira and Kolohe Andino can win the World Title at Pipe. Kolohe’s chances are, at best, mathematical. He must win Pipe and hope that both Italo and Gabriel lose in the next Round of 16 to take the title. For Gabe, he simply has to best Italo to win.
Could It Be All Rather Anti-climatic?
If Italo loses to Peterson Chrisanto in Heat 1, and Medina beats Ciao Ibelli in Round 5, Gabriel will claim his third World Title. Of course if it goes the other way, Italo takes it. If they both lose Italo comes out on top. The potential for this rather anti-climatic finish hasn’t been mentioned, but it is a potential outcome. On the flipside, being on opposite sides of the draw, they both could go all the way to the Final and set up one of the great showdowns of the modern era.
What About Kelly Slater?
Kelly still has his fingers in the Olympic qualification pie. The trouble for Kelly is that John John already has that pie in the oven. Slater must win Pipe and JJF finish 5th or worse to claim the last USA qualification spot. If John bombs out his the first round against Soli Bailey, Kelly would still need to make the Final.
Who Can Claim The Triple Crown?
Ethan Ewing is the man at the top of the Triple Crown ratings, but will be watching on to see if either Michel Bourez or Kelly Slater can overtake him. Both would currently need a Semifinal finish or better to take the trophy. If the pair score the same result i.e. a 3rd it would be the Tahitian who would claim his first Triple Crown.
What About The Cut?
It’s a final day weirdly devoid of any major jeopardy on the CT qualification front. Only Jesse Mendes and Soli Bailey have any chance of climbing significantly up the rankings to make a late, late charge. Mendes needs a 3rd or better to have any hopes to qualify via the CT, and that would also need Yago Dora losing in his first heat. Bailey would have to win the event to have any chance at all.
The Double Qualifier Conundrum
Again, usually we have the story of QS qualifiers waiting anxiously watching every heat at Pipe to see if there dreams of making the CT will come true. Not this year. Going into the event Deivid Silva was the only double-qualifier sitting at 22nd. His early exit should see him drop out of top 22 meaning he would use his QS spot to qualify. In that scenario the 11th placed surfer on the QS Morgan Cibillic would miss out. However in better news for Morgs, the person most likely to replace Silva in the top 22 is Yago Dora, who also qualified via the QS. As long as one of those Brazilians double qualifies, Cibillic is sweet. That’s bad news for the next surfer in line, Stu Kennedy, who now seems certain not to make the cut. It is absolutely no consolation, but his QS finishing position of 12th is the highest ranked to ever miss out on a qualifying spot.