“It takes a tour to make a title!” That’s what the World Surf League (WSL) has shown in their teaser video for this year. True enough, this year it took a complete men’s championship tour to decide who is worthy of being crowned world champion. After ten tour stops, there has been no clear winner yet for the year. Although last year’s champion John John Florence is leading the rankings, his margin from the rest of the title contenders this year is not as wide as he had last year when he only took ten tour stops to win.
It’s become a tougher year with very slim margins separating the top four surfers. With 10,000 points to earn at the Billabong Pipemasters in Hawaii, any of these guys can grab the title assuming the others don’t perform that well. And all these guys are facing their own personal challenges.
John John has to go beyond the semifinals at the Pipemasters to ensure victory. Gabriel Medina has to win again at the Pipemasters and hope that John John does not make it past the semis. Jordy Smith has to win the Pipemasters and hope that John John falls in round five and Medina does not make it to the finals. Julian Wilson has to win the Pipemasters event and hope that all the top three guys get knocked off in the first three rounds.
So it will all boil down to a combination of grit and luck. All top four guys have to give all they got and run a stellar performance in Hawaii, and they also need some luck to win.
So who is it going to be? Who could win the title this year? The answer will unfold in the upcoming Billabong Pipemasters. To the fans, let us all just hope that the surfer you’re betting on remains healthy and on top of his game and that no similar Owen-Wright-like injury will happen to any of them. We can all recall how close Owen was to the World Title in 2015 when he got injured during warm-up sessions before the 2015 Billabong Pipemasters even started.
May the best surfer win it this year!
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