Pictured: Jeremy Flores (FRA) on a solid wave at Sunset last night. Credit: © ASP / Cestari
CAPBRETON, France (Wednesday, December 5, 2012) - With the completion of the VANS World Cup of Surfing last night, second jewel of the Hawaiian Triple Crown, and the victory of Australia's Adam Melling, the ASP World Tour comes to an end with the much anticipated Pipeline Masters starting this Saturday, December 8. The iconic Banzaii and Backdoor Pipeline will play a vital role in deciding the 2013 World Championship Tour lineup of surfers.
The European crew in Hawaii continues to perform with the recent equal 13th of Jeremy Flores (FRA) and Michel Bourez (PYF), who will be forces to reckon with when comes the time to paddle out at Pipe. Things had started really well with excellent performances in the earlier rounds of Marc Lacomare (FRA), Glenn Hall (IRL) and Joan Duru (FRA) who unfortunately couldn't overcome some of the World's Best entering the competition in the third and fourth rounds.
Jeremy Flores, a former winner of the Pipeline Masters, nets his second quarter-final berth at the VANS World Cup of Surfing and sits in 7th position in the overall Triple Crown rankings before the last event at Pipe. The French natural-footer will be looking to confirm his excellent form this season and finish the year with a bang. Flores's tube skills will come in handy at Pipeline and his engagement in sizeable surf has been proven in the past, making him a favourite amongst the European troops for an exploit in this last event.
Michel Bourez, who placed second to John John Florence last year at Sunset, unfortunately came short in his quarter-final bout against Hawaii's Sebastian Zietz and Jamie O'Brien, and Ace Buchan (AUS). Bourez put on a powersurfing show in the previous rounds, destroying every bit of shoulder he surfed, but couldn't find the best scoring opportunities in his last confrontation. A natural tuberider originating from Tahiti, Bourez particularly appreciates the reef bottoms of Hawaii, and will be one to watch this weekend.
Tiago Pires (PRT) was stopped in his first heat at Sunset, suffering the lack of opportunities in a shifting lineup where wave selection made the difference between local knowledge experts and the rest of the crowd. With his recent win in Lanzarote, and his preference for big hollow waves developped on Portugal's heaviest lineups, Pires needs a breakthrough performance at the upcoming Billabong Pipeline Masters.
All-eyes will now naturally turn towards an experienced trio composed of Joel Parkinson (AUS), 11x World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) and Mick Fanning (AUS) who are still battling it out for the prestigious ASP World Champion Title to be decided over the upcoming couple of weeks at Pipeline. In an incredibly tight points race, Parkinson leads the three into the last event, and will need to place better than the Floridian to claim his maiden ASP World Title.
The Billabong Pipeline Masters is the last event of the 2012 ASP World Tour, and will run from December 8-20 on the iconic North Shore of Hawaii. All information, results, photos and LIVE webcast will be available via http://vanstriplecrownofsurfing.com/billabongpipemasters2012.