Vans,a Division of VF Outdoor, Inc.

Opinion: The Pipe Pig

The Pipe Invitational has started and the surf is less than inspiring. The WSL must still be relieved; after four consecutive lay-days,they had milked the teat of world title scenarios dry.

In case you somehow missed it: If Medina makes the final, Filipe/Julian can suck eggs; if he places 3rd, they need to win, and; if Medina gets 5th or worse, the contenders would need to final.

Simple, clean, boring.

It’s made worse by the fact that - due the WSL seeding process - there is zero chance that Medina will meet either of the others before the final, and by then the title would have already been won.

If the WSL is trying to make their tour finale interesting,they’re doing it wrong; it’s not just the title that matters. There are untold qualification stories to be sifted through, there’s the whole Caio/Kelly/John wildcard conundrum they’re avoiding, there’s a meaningless rookie of the year title,and there’s the not-quite-a-world-title race for the Triple Crown.

Give me a few minutes, and I’ll put lipstick on this Pipe Masters pig. Maybe, just maybe, we can still redeem this flaccid Pipe beast.

The Title

Forget the numbers; how can we make it interesting? Here are two scenarios:

The closest we could come to a true finals showdown would before Medina to lose the first semi-final, while Filipe and Julian to battle it out in the next heat for a shot at a maiden title. Even then, the Filipe/Julian winner would have to best Medina’s victor in the final to claim the season. You’d get a rush of interest at Gabriel’s loss, immediately followed by a head-to-head between the two contenders, followed by a world title decided in the Pipe final.

Alternatively, you could have Medina fall early, and enjoy the round-by-round tension of watching Filipe and Julian attempt to reach the necessary final. Would they fold under the pressure? Would they grab the opportunity with both hands? This scenario also offers the possibility of seeing Filipe/Julian meet for a winner-takes-all, semi-final battle royal for a breakthrough world title. Sure, the final itself would be a hollow victory lap, but maybe it could be against a feel-good underdog. I hear Kelly Slater may be entering...

I know you can’t script this, but a little tension wouldn’t hurt.

Qualification

With the QS wrapped up for the year, Pipe provides us with the only remaining qualification variables. Before you can even say, “Who is Deivid Silva?”, Pipe will be breaking the hearts and careers of R2 surfers below the cut. For those who don’t play fantasy or gamble, schadenfreude is a game that is free, easy, and well-suited to Pipeline.

Right now, Kanoa doesn’t need his QS spot, as he’s guaranteed a place via the CT already. Griffin, Jesse and Zeke could all join him in rendering their QS results redundant with a decent Pipe showing. That leaves Jack Freestone and Ethan Ewing on the bubble, praying for results to go their way, and death-riding any spoilers with voodoo eyes from the sand.

If you check the table below, you can see that most tour surfers are actually still in the running (pink) for a 2019 tour spot. An unlikely Pipe win for Miguel Pupo could see him qualify with only 9 events to his name. Perpetual 2018 also-rans such as Michael February and Ian Gouveia could also make the cut with an appearance in the Pipe final. Use this as your Pipe bingo card, and ride the waves of salty tears as each surfer suffers the dawning reality of their inadequacy.

Surfer Points Ranking If 13th If 9th If 5th If 3rd If 2nd If 1st
Gabriel Medina 56190 1 56190 56190 57235 58575 60290 62490
Julian Wilson 51450 2 51450 53485 54530 55870 57585 59785
Filipe Toledo 51450 2 51450 53485 54530 55870 57585 59785
Italo Ferreira 43070 4 43070 45105 46150 47490 49205 51405
Owen Wright 35570 5 36815 38850 39895 41235 42950 45150
Jordy Smith 32020 6 32020 34055 35100 36440 38155 40355
Wade Carmichael 30670 7 31915 33950 34995 36335 38050 40250
Kanoa Igarashi 29275 8 30520 32555 33600 34940 36655 38855
Michel Bourez 29115 9 30360 32395 33440 34780 36495 38695
Conner Coffin 28390 10 29635 31670 32715 34055 35770 37970
Kolohe Andino 27600 11 27600 29635 30680 32020 33735 35935
Mikey Wright 27275 12 28940 30975 32020 33360 35075 37275
Willian Cardoso 27190 13 28435 30470 31515 32855 34570 36770
Michael Rodrigues 25215 14 25215 27250 28295 29635 31350 33550
Adrian Buchan 23945 15 25190 27225 28270 29610 31325 33525
Jeremy Flores 23275 16 24520 26555 27600 28940 30655 32855
Adriano de Souza 22925 17 24170 26205 27250 28590 30305 32505
Ezekiel Lau 22820 18 24065 26100 27145 28485 30200 32400
Sebastian Zietz 22525 19 23770 25805 26850 28190 29905 32105
Griffin Colapinto 22030 20 23275 25310 26355 27695 29410 31610
Frederico Morais 19645 21 20890 22925 23970 25310 27025 29225
Yago Dora 18400 22 19645 21680 22725 24065 25780 27980
Joan Duru 16930 23 18175 20210 21255 22595 24310 26510
Matt Wilkinson 15910 24 17155 19190 20235 21575 23290 25490
Tomas Hermes 15670 25 16915 18950 19995 21335 23050 25250
Connor O'Leary 15320 26 16565 18600 19645 20985 22700 24900
Patrick Gudauskas 15215 27 16460 18495 19540 20880 22595 24795
Joel Parkinson 14530 28 15775 17810 18855 20195 21910 24110
Jesse Mendes 12040 29 13285 15320 16365 17705 19420 21620
Ian Gouveia 12040 29 13285 15320 16365 17705 19420 21620
Michael February 11840 31 13085 15120 16165 17505 19220 21420
Mick Fanning 11500 32 13165 15200 16245 17585 19300 21500
John John Florence 10795 33 12040 14075 15120 16460 18175 20375
Ryan Callinan 9465 34 11130 13165 14210 15550 17265 19465
Kelly Slater 9445 35 10690 12725 13770 15110 16825 19025
Miguel Pupo 8930 36 10175 12210 13255 14595 16310 18510
Keanu Asing 7515 37 8760 10795 11840 13180 14895 17095
Wiggolly Dantas 6255 38 7500 9535 10580 11920 13635 15835
Caio Ibelli 3780 39 5025 7060 8105 9445 11160 13360

Injuries

Speaking of tears, there is a Shakespearian tragedy about to befall a legitimate* tour surfer in 2019. John John, Caio and Kelly have all suffered genuine* injuries this season, with each of them presenting the WSL with a reasonable* case for earning one of the two commissioner’s permanent wildcard places on tour next year.

Parko, after surfing through the past 2 seasons on cruise control, is pulling his competitive finger out and giving a fuck one last time.If he does well enough at Pipe, Parko will not only equal Andy’s record of 4 Triple Crowns, but he’ll also shore up an unwanted place on tour for 2019. Joel can go out a winner, while all three cripples get their free ride next year. Genius.

If Joel falls short, they could still offer the ‘sponsor’s wildcard’ place to Kelly at each 2019 event without an actual sponsor, which seems to be most events in 2019. Or Kelly could just win Pipe. To hell with wildcard charity.

* these are fluid terms

Rookie of the Year

Sorry, I can’t really dress this up. It’s meaningless.Besides, Wade basically has it wrapped up; if he makes R4, he’s unbeatable.Besides, what is the ROTY anyway? Can you name any previous ROTY winners? Did it help Connor O this year? Or Dion Atkinson a few years back? Is there a massive cash bonus? Is Kekoa Bacalso still living off the spoils of his ROTY title?

Triple Crown

At 31st place, Michel Bourez can still mathematically take out the Triple Crown with a Pipe win. In fact, there are 15 surfers in the Pipe event who have a shot. The WSL have again shit the bed with their coverage of the Triple Crown series, despite all 3 events being their own.

See the breakdown below:

  Hawaiian Pro Vans World Cup Points after a Pipe win
Pos. Name Country Total Points Prize Money Position Points Position Points
1 Mendes,Jesse BRA 13300 $21,500 5 5300 2 8000 23300
2 Parkinson,Joel AUS 12300 $32,650 1 10000 17 2300 22300
3 Lau,Ezekiel HAW 12100 $32,150 25 2100 1 10000 22100
5 Smith,Jordy ZAF 8900 $10,500 13 3600 5 5300 18900
9 Duru,Joan FRA 7800 $11,600 33 1100 3 6700 17800
10 Colapinto,Griffin USA 7400 $9,600 33 1100 4 6300 17400
12 Gudauskas,Patrick USA 6200 $7,100 7 5100 33 1100 16200
14 Ferreira,Italo BRA 6100 $7,150 17 2300 9 3800 16100
15 Pupo,Miguel BRA 6100 $7,150 9 3800 17 2300 16100
16 Moniz,Seth HAW 6100 $6,750 7 5100 49 1000 16100
18 Toledo,Filipe BRA 5900 $6,650 9 3800 25 2100 15900
21 Igarashi,Kanoa JPN 4700 $5,600 13 3600 33 1100 14700
24 Callinan,Ryan AUS 4400 $4,800 25 2100 17 2300 14400
25 O'Leary,Connor AUS 4400 $4,800 25 2100 17 2300 14400
31 Bourez,Michel PYF 4200 $4,300 25 2100 25 2100 14200

So, that’s the situation. Other than the forecast improving, or surfers pulling out individual brilliance, these are the stories the WSL should be telling. How’s the Pipe pig looking now?

Share
Balyn McDonald
Editor-in-Chief
Balyn grew up on the east coast of Australia, nourishing his passion for surfing through a diet of empty beach breaks, Taylor Steele VHS cassettes and poor amateur competition results. As one of the head writers/analysts for Surf-Stats, he is as comfortable tearing through spreadsheets as he is 6' left-handers.
s2Member®