Well it comes down to this – only two surfers, Kelly Slater and Joel Parkinson, remain in the World Title hunt to be decided today at Pipeline. Both Mick Fanning and John John Florence, the other title contenders, were eliminated yesterday in round three. Florence lost to Vans Triple Crown winner and Hawaii surfing season revelation Sebastian Zietz. This kid has been tearing it up in Hawaii, and will be on the world tour next year having qualified at the Reef Hawaiian Pro. Other blogs also like to point out that this guy has three thumbs – one up for each of his stellar performances in the last three events.
Fanning lost a close one to Shane Dorian, who happens to be one of Slater’s best friends. Dorian rarely competes, but has had an amazing year chasing big waves – notably paddling into some Jaws behemoths earlier this year.
So, now there are two – Slater and Parkinson. Slater, one of the best athletes in the world and already an 11 time champion, against Parko who has seen a title chance slip through his hands at Pipeline before. Hearts have to be going out for Parkinson, a three time tour runner up, to finally punch through. But greatness is greatness, and if anyone out there thinks Slater feels bad for Parko imagine Michael Jordan handing Charles Barkely a free championship. Not going to happen.
Of course, these two will only meet in the final. That is one of the caveats about surfing, first you have to break through the field. With Zietz still feeling the flow, and the always dangerous Dane Reynolds and Gabriel Medina in the mix, this race could be decided without the top two seeds even meeting in the final. Either way, it is going to be intense – and I suggest you sneak away from work today to watch a bit streaming live.
Here is the link:
My prediction is that Dane Reynolds somehow finds a way to knock out Joel, thus handing the trophy to Kelly Slater. Watching the SURFER Poll awards, I did not think it was a coincidence that Slater constantly pumped up the surfing savant and sometimes competitor Reynolds – saying something to the extent of, “he (Reynolds) did some of the best surfing that’s ever been done in the history of earth in that movie (Dear Suburbia)…big round of applause for Dane.”
Of course, I am not even sure if Parkinson and Reynolds can meet in the competition, but it should be fun!