Slater Wins His 7th Pipe Masters
John John Nabs His 2nd Vans Triple Crown
Fanning Brings Home His 3rd World Title
Photo: ASP World Tour Surfing
With a storybook climax at 10’- 12’ Pipe that included two last second charges to win his 5th Round and Quarterfinal heats, Mick Fanning took his 3rd World Title. He had to get to the Semis in order to win the World Title or else it was 11x World Champ Kelly Slater’s to lose. And that’s never someone you want to be in charge of your fate. Truth is that Fanning never looked that solid in his heats against CJ and Yadin, but both times, he did enough to get through and he did it in the dying seconds. Yadin Nicol-a WCT veteran and West Oz hellman-took control from the first couple of minutes of the Quarterfinal heat and looked to be man-handling Fanning. The opening for Mick came when Yadin had to grab a wave to hold him off, but the necessary move gave priority to Mick. One last 3rd reef set rolled in w/ seconds to go and Fanning grabbed a drainer that secured him a 9.7--only .13 over what he needed.
Mick Fanning joins an extremely elite group of Men’s World Champions who have 3 titles. That group only includes Mark Richards, Tom Curren, Kelly Slater and Andy Irons. That’s it. Tom Carroll and Damien Hardman both snagged 2, but every other WCT champion has only been able to muster one, which is a testament to just how hard it is to pull off. Fanning’s 2013 campaign was one of the most consistent title campaigns ever with him never placing lower than 9th (once). In fact, he had two 5th place finishes, four 3rds, a 2nd and a 1st. The only years that beat that kind of record were Slater’s dominance in the early-mid ‘90’s and his war years w/ Andy Irons in the ‘00’s. To win now requires the kind of ridiculous year that Fanning had. The level is just that high.
So, this year’s title goes to Australian Mick Fanning. Good on ‘im!
No surprise, but John John Florence nailed down his 2nd (of many to come) Triple Crown titles. He’s otherworldly when it comes to Hawaii and truly surfs gnarly grinders like they’re 2 ft beachbreak softies. He’s young and will be a contender for many, many years.
Billabong Pipe Masters
While he’s gotta be bummed about losing the World Title, Kelly looked super stoked to school the field (including Parko and John John) to take his 7th Pipe Masters. He dominated throughout the comp, compiling heat scores no lower than 17.5, except for the wave starved final, where he scored a 16.37. There was an assumption that he peaked in the Semis w/ a 19.63, but Slater saved enough to do what he needed to do to take John John out. So, is he coming back for more in 2014? Here was his response to the question when asked on the podium: “[Losing the title] pissed me off just enough to keep me going.” Good for surfing. Good for us!