If anyone in the World Surf League (WSL) men’s Championship Tour right now is closest to winning the 2017 world title, it would be John John Florence. Okay, I know there will be some haters who will whine about this and there will be fans who will support this statement but let’s bring things into perspective before we even start a massive online debate.
Last week, I talked about different scenarios in the world title race and who would win depending on the results they achieve in the last two events of the year. I talked about what it would take for John John Florence to win, what it would take for Jordy Smith to win, and even what miracles and awesome performances Gabriel Medina would have to pull off if he wanted to snatch the title.
Well in an unexpected turn of events, Jordy Smith was taken down early in the 2017 MEO Rip Curl pro after falling in Round 3 to Josh Kerr, who just won the heat by a 0.4 margin. This was a big blow to Jordy’s world title campaign. I expected Smith to go as far as the semifinals considering he finished 3rd in the same event last year. But perhaps Gabriel Medina made a deal with the powerful forces of nature to take down one of his formidable opponents?
Here’s a replay of Jordy Smith against Josh Kerr in Round 3 of MEO Rip Curl Pro:
But despite Smith being down, Medina still has to win both events and hope that Florence does not make it past the Quarterfinals in MEO Rip Curl Pro and the Semis in the Billabong PipeMasters. He must really pray harder to whomever he is praying to.
With Jordy Smith knocked out, Florence has the best chance of winning the World Title as of the time I’m writing this. Based on historical performance, Florence had great results at the MEO Rip Curl Pro in the past 3 years with a 3rd place finish in 2014 and 1st place last year. And if he wins again, he would be crowned back-to-back MEO Rip Curl Pro champion and back-to-back World Champion!
If this happens, Florence will have been able to win the world title twice in only 10 Championship Tour events out of 11. That would be an incredible record indeed.
But records can be broken, and world title dreams can be shattered. We are not fortunetellers to tell for sure who will win the world title, but based on the current situation and historical performances Florence has a strong chance of winning it again this year.
It’s funny how this year’s world title battle came down to the same three guys as last year’s Top 3 seeds. Could history be repeating itself? Perhaps it is but in a different manner. But I am not the type to write off Gabriel Medina this early, the guy has proven to be a lethal weapon and if he fires up, he could turn the tables around. And I have the feeling the Brazilian Storm might return in a very surprising way.
Here are the highlights of Day 2 of MEO Rip Curl Pro in case you missed the action:
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