Usually when you spot a drone overhead it means you should duck and cover, because Uncle Same is about to send a hellfire missile through your front door, or maybe Amazon is dropping of a pizza. But now that quadcopter drones fitted with GoPro cameras are affordable for everyone, you can pretend to be the CIA and capture some amazing aerial footage. This was shot by Eric Sterman of Hawaii, full link is here. I wonder how long it will take before you will need permits to fly drones over ASP contests and other events.
It was the perfect setup for the final contest of the year; A sunny Saturday morning, huge crowd on the beach, 12-15 foot waves at Pipeline, with the Billabong Pipeline Masters title and the ASP championships on the line. All Mick Fanning had to do to win the ASP championship was advance past the quarterfinals and he would mathematically eliminate Kelly Slater. Not an easy task considering Fanning had to defeat CJ Hobgood in Round 5, and then Yadin Nicol in the quarterfinals.
CJ Hobgood looked unbeatable in Round 5, until Fanning did a great Kelly Slater impression and caught a 9.50 point barrel with 1 minute left in the heat for the win. Then Mick Fanning did the same thing in the quarterfinals against Yadin Nicol. Fanning was behind the whole heat until he caught another last minute barrel! Fanning needed a 9.59 score or better. It took over 5 minutes for the score to arrive, but the judges gave him a 9.70. Fanning won the heat and clinched the title by a mere .13 points! But Fanning's luck ran out in the semifinals when the waves seemed to stop coming to him and only scored a combined 5 points to John John Florence's combined 18.30 points.
The final was now set. Florence vs. Slater, young vs. old, it would be the perfect passing of the torch if Slater wanted to retire after this year. But never count out Kelly Slater when he's focused and needs to win. From the beginning of the contest, the only way Kelly Slater could have won the 2013 title was to win at Pipeline, and even though he was now mathematically eliminated, he still accomplished his goal to win. Waves in the first half of the final heat were messy, with both riders being forced into close out barrels. Then the bigger sets came and the two competitors traded 7, 8, and 9 point waves. Each ride was better than the previous one. Until Slater shut the door on John John with a barrel which scored a 9.87 to win the event.
Slater surfed flawlessly, Fanning surfed like a fierce competitor winning when he needed it most, and John John Florence proved he will be a champion in the near future. It was like seeing 3 champions being crowned.
Will Slater compete in 2014? Most likely. When asked about winning Pipeline but losing to Mick due to forces beyond his control, Slater replied, "I think that has pissed me off just enough to come back."
Day 2 of the Billabong Pipeline Masters finished today, and the ASP World Title is still up for grabs. Wave conditions were about 6-7 feet, with a few barrels coming in on some of the bigger sets. Kelly Slater, John John Florence, Joel Parkinson, and Yadin Nicol all advanced to the quarterfinals. However, Mick Fanning made a very uncharacteristic error in the final wave of his 4th round 3 man heat, when he dropped in on John John Florence and got an interference call. Fanning was penalized and dropped from 1st to 2nd in his heat, handing John John Florence the top spot and a pass to the quarterfinals. So Fanning will have to compete in round 5, keeping his world title chances alive.
Other highlights include; Yadin Nicol scored the only perfect 10 of the day with an amazing barrel. Joel Parkinson eliminated Dusty Payne in round 3 despite Dusty's amazing performance, he couldn't get a 2nd high scoring wave. And Miguel Pupo had an amazing barrel scoring 9 points when he eliminated Josh Kerr in round 3.
Best barrel of 2013: Didier Tinhin.
Worst Wipeout: Peter Craig at Mullaghmore
Womens Surfer Poll Results
5th: Stephanie Gilmore
4th: Coco Ho
3rd Carissa Moore
2nd: Sally Fitzgibbons
1st: Alana Blanchard
Mens Surfer Poll Results
10th: Andy Irons
9th: Gabriel Medina
8th: Taj Burrow
7th: Joel Parkinson
6th: Jordy Smith
5th: Dane Reynolds. Also had quote of the night in his thank you speech "thank you Quiksilver for sparing me from the massacre this year."
4th: Julian Wilson
3rd: Mick Fanning
2nd: John John Florence
1st: Kelly Slater
In 5-6 foot conditions Ezekiel Lau won the Vans World Cup of Surfing at Sunset beach. While the waves weren't perfect, they were good enough for a few barrels that allowed Ezekiel to defeat Damien Hobgood, Raoni Monteiro, and Frederico Morais. See all the highlights in the above video. Click here for the full webpage and vid.
The Vans Triple Crown will end with the Billabong Pipe Masters which starts on December 8th. This will be the battle between Kelly Slater and Mick Fanning for the ASP world title. Mick Fanning is looking like the favorite to win with a 7,200 point lead over Slater. But do not count out Slater. If Fanning fails to make the quarter finals and Slater wins the even, Slater will become the champ for the 12th time.