If you've been awaiting the Billabong Pipeline Masters for some explosive dramatics to end the season, there's some good news and some bad news. For some reason people like bad news first, so here it is: Pipe prodigy and almost-certain future world champ, 20-year-old John John Florence is out of the event.
Florence, who lives in closer proximity to Pipe than any other surfer to any venue on tour, went down to Sebastian "Seabass" Zietz in six to eight-foot pumping barrels. But that, by default, was good news to anyone from the island of Kauai as Zietz also sewed up the Vans Triple Crown on Sunday. Really is there any better way to claim such a title than by beating the guy who previously held it?
The pair met in round three and Florence didn't seem to have the magic that has bought him so much success at Pipe in the past two years, missing key waves and failing to finish a wave, allowing Zietz to swoop in and take a 15-7.83 heat win.
Now for the good news. Since the world title was not decided on Sunday, there is still a chance that the two remaining hopefuls, 11-time champ Kelly Slater, and 0-time champ because he competed in the age of Kelly Slater, Joel Parkinson, could meet for a brutal slugfest in the Pipe Masters final to declare this season's winner.
This is not great news if you are a Mick Fanning fan. "Micktory" will not be his this year, as Fanning, who still had a snowball's chance in Hawaii at the world title, went down to the red-hot Billabong wildcard, Shane Dorian by a half a point. The lip that kept Fanning from coming out of his last tunnel would have made the difference.
"Shane Dorian has been a hero of mine since I learned how to surf and I wanted to be in the water with him," Fanning said in a press release, "We said we'd make it a fun one out there. We were going tit-for-tat and I was close on the last one but it got me at the end. I was relaxed going in to this event because it (the ASP World Title) was a long shot. There was no pressure on me and I wanted to give it my all and finish well. I had a good heat and threw everything I had at it."
Parkinson beat Kalani Chapman, one of the Pipe specialists that came out so strong in rounds one and two by willing himself through a mutating Backdoor tube for a 9-point wave. He then brushed off CJ Hobgood and returning Pipe champ, Kieren Perrow in round four to go directly to the quarterfinals.
Slater topped Billy Kemper, the other Pipe specialist that came out so strong in rounds one and two. His round four heat will run when the event continues.
Dane Reynolds put up a perfect 10 for a hellacious run through a Backdoor bomb, proving that one can be great without owning an exercise ball. He lost in round four (the "Dane round" as it has been called) but is still in it. Gabriel Medina had a fine day as well, amassing an 18.50 total against Kolohe Andino.
So, we have our Vans Triple Crown winner. Now we're down to a Pipe Master and a little thing called the world title when this event resumes.
BILLABONG PIPE MASTERS REMAINING ROUND 2 RESULTS:
Heat 4: Shane Dorian (HAW) 13.77 def. Alejo Muniz (BRA) 11.10
Heat 5: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 14.60 def. Ricardo dos Santos (BRA) 12.76
Heat 6: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 12.73 def. Travis Logie (ZAF) 12.17
Heat 7: Dane Reynolds (USA) 17.00 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 13.26
Heat 8: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 15.66 def. Adam Melling (AUS) 9.90
Heat 10: Yadin Nicol (AUS) 14.17 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 12.17
Heat 11: Kolohe Andino (USA) 9.47 def. Brett Simpson (USA) 3.83
Heat 12: Kieren Perrow (AUS) 16.33 def. Heitor Alves (BRA) 7.12
BILLABONG PIPE MASTERS ROUND 3 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 15.00 def. John John Florence (HAW) 7.83
Heat 2: Damien Hobgood (USA) 16.10 def. Owen Wright (AUS) 10.83
Heat 3: Dane Reynolds (USA) 17.83 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 8.50
Heat 4: Kieren Perrow (AUS) 14.16 def. Julian Wilson (AUS) 13.17
Heat 5: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 11.60 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 8.87
Heat 6: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 16.17 def. Kalani Chapman (HAW) 13.50
Heat 7: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 18.50 def. Kolohe Andino (USA) 14.06
Heat 8: Josh Kerr (AUS) 18.13 def. Bede Durbidge (AUS) 17.13
Heat 9: Kelly Slater (USA) 18.63 def. Billy Kemper (HAW) 15.50
Heat 10: Yadin Nicol (AUS) 12.83 def. Taj Burrow (AUS) 11.66
Heat 11: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 11.83 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 10.10
Heat 12: Shane Dorian (HAW) 15.67 def. Mick Fanning (AUS) 15.07
BILLABONG PIPE MASTERS ROUND 4 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 16.40, Damien Hobgood (USA) 14.17, Dane Reynolds (USA) 9.96
Heat 2: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 18.10, C.J. Hobgood (USA) 6.20, Kieren Perrow (AUS) 5.83
REMAINING BILLABONG PIPE MASTERS ROUND 4 MATCH UPS:
Heat 3: Gabriel Medina (BRA), Josh Kerr (AUS), Kelly Slater (USA)
Heat 4: Yadin Nicol (AUS), Miguel Pupo (BRA), Shane Dorian (HAW)