The final stop of the 2014 Samsung Galaxy ASP World Championship Tour, the Billabong Pipe Masters in Memory of Andy Irons, will determine this year’s world surfing champion as well as those who qualify for the elite tour in 2015.
As the third and final stop on the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing Series (an ASP Specialty Series in Hawaii), the Billabong Pipe Masters will also determine the winner of the revered three-event leg.
This will all go down at the world-famous Banzai Pipeline on Oahu’s North Shore and, with ample swell energy bearing down on the Hawaiian islands over the coming weeks, the 2014 Billabong Pipe Masters is sure to be the must-see surf event of the year.
Brazilian phenom Gabriel Medina (BRA), reigning three-time ASP World Champion Mick Fanning (AUS), and 11-time ASP World Champion and sporting icon Kelly Slater (USA) are the three remaining contenders in the hunt for this year’s world surfing crown.
The 2014 Title race scenarios are now as follows:
- If Medina finishes 2nd or better at the Billabong Pipe Masters, he will clinch the 2014 ASP World Title.
- If Medina finishes 3rd at the Billabong Pipe Masters, Fanning will need to win the event and Slater will be out of contention.
- If Medina finishes 5th at the Billabong Pipe Masters, Fanning will need to win the event and Slater will be out of contention.
- If Medina finishes 9th at the Billabong Pipe Masters, Fanning will need to finish 2nd or better and Slater will be out of contention.
- If Medina finishes 13th or 25th at the Billabong Pipe Masters, Fanning will need to finish 3rd to win or 5th to send the title race into a one-heat “surf-off” between himself and Medina.
- If Medina finishes 13th or 25th at the Billabong Pipe Masters, Slater will need to win the event.
Each ASP Top 34 surfer’s ranking is based on his best nine results out of 11 events. This formula is used to not only determined the ASP World Champion, but also which surfers will qualify for the 2015 tour.
The 2015 Top 34 will be comprised of the top 22 finishers on this year’s ASP World Championship Tour (WCT), the top 10 finishers on this year’s ASP Qualifying Series (QS) and two ASP Wildcards.
The 2014 QS season wrapped last week with the Vans World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach, won by Tahitian powerhouse Michel Bourez (PYF), and the 2015 season is guaranteed to see rookies in Matt Banting (AUS), Wiggolly Dantas (BRA), Italo Ferreira (BRA) and Keanu Asing (HAW). Depending on the results of the Billabong Pipe Masters and the potential for WCT surfers to qualify on both the elite tour as well as the QS, Ricardo Christie (NZL), Tomas Hermes (BRA), Garrett Parkes (AUS) and Jack Freestone (AUS) all have the potential to join the 2015 rookie class and will be monitoring the final WCT event of the season closely.
After the opening two stops on this season’s Vans Triple Crown of Surfing at Haleiwa and Sunset Beach, Maui’s Dusty Payne (HAW) is the current frontrunner in the hunt for the specialty series’ crown. Payne, a former WCT competitor, was barely ranked inside the QS Top 100 heading into Hawaii, but a dynamic victory at Haleiwa and blistering runner-up finish at Sunset Beach have not only put him in the frontrunner position for the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, they have qualified him for the elite Championship Tour in 2015.
For the first time ever, the opening day of competition at this year’s event will include the Men’s Pipe Masters Invitational – a 32-man event comprised of local specialists competing for a US$100,000 prize purse as well as two positions in the Billabong Pipe Masters. The Men’s Pipe Masters Invitational could commence as early as tomorrow.
The ASP Heritage Series, which celebrates the rich culture and history of professional surfing, is poised to have its third and final competitive event of the season with a four-man heat between Gary Elkerton (AUS), Tom Carroll (AUS), Derek Ho (HAW) and Sunny Garcia (HAW).
The world’s best female surfers, despite having finished their Championship Tour season, will compete at Pipeline this year in the Women’s Pipe Masters Invitational with reigning six-time ASP Women’s World Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), two-time ASP Women’s World Champion Carissa Moore (HAW), Australian powerhouse Tyler Wright (AUS) and international icon Bethany Hamilton (HAW) battling it out at the world-famous Pipeline.
Surfline, official forecaster for the Billabong Pipe Masters, are calling for:
A strong series of NW swells will impact Pipe for the first several days of the waiting period, with surf ranging from solid and firing Pipe to possibly maxed/washed out for the middle part of the upcoming week. The second week of the waiting period also looks promising with a couple more solid swells on the radar.
Taj Burrow (AUS), Adriano de Souza (BRA) and C.J. Hobgood (USA) have all withdrawn from the Billabong Pipe Masters due to injury and have been replaced by Glenn Hall (IRL), Mitch Coleborn (AUS) and Dusty Payne (HAW) respectively.
The Billabong Pipe Masters in Memory of Andy Irons will be webcast LIVE at ASPWorldTour.com.
Men’s Pipe Masters Invitation Round 1 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Keanu Asing (HAW), Kalani David (HAW), Danny Fuller (HAW), Shane Dorian (HAW)
Heat 2: Ezekiel Lau (HAW), Alex Smith (HAW), Jamie O’Brien (HAW), Olamana Eleogram (HAW)
Heat 3: Ian Walsh (HAW), Kai Barger (HAW), Sunny Garcia (HAW), Reef McIntosh (HAW)
Heat 4: Granger Larsen (HAW), Kaimana Jaquias (HAW), Seth Moniz (HAW), Ricardo dos Santos (HAW)
Heat 5: Torrey Meister (HAW), Joshua Moniz (HAW), Billy Kemper (HAW), Kalani Chapman (HAW)
Heat 6: Joel Centeio (HAW), Kiron Jabour (HAW), Kaito Kino (HAW), Makai McNamara (HAW)
Heat 7: Tanner Hendrickson (HAW), Gavin Gillette (HAW), Hank Gaskell (HAW), Nathan Florence (HAW)
Heat 8: Mason Ho (HAW), Pancho Sullivan (HAW), Dylan Goodale (HAW), Jack Robinson (AUS)
Billabong Pipe Masters Round 1 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Joel Parkinson (AUS), Julian Wilson (AUS), Glenn Hall (IRL)
Heat 2: Michel Bourez (PYF), Sebastian Zietz (HAW), Raoni Monteiro (BRA)
Heat 3: John John Florence (HAW), Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Mitch Coleborn (AUS)
Heat 4: Kelly Slater (USA), Adam Melling (AUS), Dusty Payne (HAW)
Heat 5: Mick Fanning (AUS), Aritz Aranburu (ESP), TBD
Heat 6: Gabriel Medina (BRA), Dion Atkinson (AUS), TBD
Heat 7: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Jadson Andre (BRA), Jeremy Flores (FRA)
Heat 8: Kolohe Andino (USA), Fredrick Patacchia (HAW), Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 9: Josh Kerr (AUS), Kai Otton (AUS), Brett Simpson (USA)
Heat 10: Owen Wright (AUS), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Mitch Crews (AUS)
Heat 11: Nat Young (USA), Filipe Toledo (BRA), Alejo Muniz (BRA)
Heat 12: Bede Durbidge (AUS), Miguel Pupo (BRA), Tiago Pires (PRT)
Women’s Pipe Masters Invitational Heat: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Tyler Wright (AUS), Carissa Moore (HAW), Bethany Hamilton (HAW)
ASP Heritage Series Heat: Gary Elkerton (AUS), Tom Carroll (AUS), Derek Ho (HAW) and Sunny Garcia (HAW)