Day 3 of the Pipe Masters dishes out a title, a master and a crowned king.
No matter who you chose to win the title, the event or the Triple Crown-- everyone walked away satisfied. And as far as a surfer’s imagination goes, you couldn’t have dreamt a better scenario:
An idyllic Hawaiian day in Paradise. 8-12 foot roaring, glassy Pipeline. The best surfers in the world battling for a world title and a Pipe Master win. Inconceivably, it was all there. The dream had actually come true.
There were three major tales of triumph. We recap, in short, these three (Day 3) tales.
Mick Fanning: World Champion
If any buzzer could be beaten any worse, Mick would be arrested for battery and assault charges. Yep, I’m talking about those Round 5 and quarterfinal finishes he pulled off.
In Round 5, Mick needed to get past an extremely keen CJ Hobgood, many who felt was the favored pick, CJ notoriously excelling at big Pipe. But up against the ropes and needing a 9.5 to clench it, a wave that couldn’t have been more majestic rolls in, Mick nabs it and rides the train to Zion. He advances to the quarters with Yadin, needing to beat the man to earn his world title.
And while most doubted Yadin’s gumption in a heat at big Pipe with Fanning, on the contrary, Yades took Mick to combo-town, nearly the whole heat. Of course (it being that type of day) with less than a minute left, Mick caught an almost identical left to his Round 5 buzzer beater to seal the win.
This was possibly the most dramatic and important heat of the last decade, mind you. Mick is carried up the beach, your official 2013 world champion and 3x world champ.
Kelly Slater: Pipe Master
As predicted by many a Slater-philic soul, Slater advanced with a true master’s skill and savvy to win the entire event. And for the seventh time. Not like he didn’t have his work cut out for him with a Parko semi and John John final, though. And when it came down to it, most had John John pegged a winner from the start.
It was vintage Slater-domination and he was driven and took (almost everything) he had come for. World No. 2 ranking aside, Kelly did beat the man (John John) who crushed the world champ (Fanning in semis). So there’s that.
John John: Triple Crown King Sure, he almost had Pipe taken from Slater, (many debating the controversial score of John’s last Backdoor wave) but the judges made the call and everyone’s gotta deal with it.
But an overall Triple Crown win (his second of many to come) is nothing to scoff at. The ‘Crown is in fact the truest test of mettle among pro surfers at three of the most difficult and challenging waves in the entire world.
Lo, John will have his Pipe Masters win, yet. Probably quite a few, as he’s already won a couple 5 stars there in his backyard peak. And perhaps he’ll have his re-rematch with Kelly to prove to himself that nonone’s better out there than he.
Even Slater will admit that John’s the best surfer at Pipe. (He just needs a little more time to show it than 35 minutes.)