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.
- Mick Fanning is the 2013 ASP Champion.
- Kelly Slater wins the 2013 Pipeline Masters.
- John John Florence wins the 2013 Vans Triple Crown (best combined performance at Haleiwa, Sunset, and Pipeline).
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."