In the men’s Final for the Billabong Pipe Masters, two-time WSL Champion John Florence went head-to-head with fellow two-time WSL Champion Gabriel Medina (BRA), beating him out by 0.67 points with a combined score of 11.77 (out of a possible 20).
“I feel really good, especially just after the last couple of years and everything I’ve gone through with injuries and everything,” said Florence. “To be here at the first event of the year, winning in my home break, I can’t picture it going any better. It’s an amazing way to end 2020 and start the new year as well.”
Florence’s victory marks his first win at the Billabong Pipe Masters presented by Hydro Flask. He was the runner-up in 2017 and 2013, and did not compete in 2018 due to an injury that kept him out for much of the CT.
“The Pipe Masters for me is the biggest event on the Tour,” said Florence. “I’ve grown up watching my heroes surf this event and win the world titles out there. Everyone who surfs pipe has their own little relationship with that wave, and so to be able to win a competition out there is a big feat. For me, it’s one of my biggest goals.”
Billabong Pipe Masters and Maui Pro Competition Recap
The day began with Heat 4 in the Round of 16 for the Billabong Pipe Masters presented by Hydro Flask, 11-time WSL Champion Kelly Slater (USA) earned a combined 13.67, the high score in the Round of 16 against Jack Robinson(AUS), advancing to the Quarterfinals despite suffering an injury.“I hurt myself mountain biking last week, then I did something to my heel three nights ago at Pipeline,” said Slater, after Heat 4 in the Round of 16, “I’m having a little trouble walking, but I can surf okay, I didn’t notice it too much when I surfed.”
Defending WSL Champion Italo Ferreira (BRA), two-time WSL Champion Gabriel Medina (BRA), Kanoa Igarashi (JPN), and Jeremy Flores (FRA) also advanced to the Quarterfinals after winning their heats in the Round of 16.
In Quarterfinal 1, Florence scored a combined 17.67 (out of a possible 20), the highest score of the Quarterfinal, after earning a 9.07 and 8.60 on two rides against Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA), winner of the Injury Wildcard surf-off. Defending champion Italo Ferreira won Quarterfinal 3 against Jeremy Flores (FRA) despite suffering an injury after hitting the reef on one of his rides. Slater and Medina also won their heats to advance to the Semifinals, with match-ups between the top two surfers in the United States and Brazil.
“It feels good to make it through, I look forward to surfing against Italo in the semifinals, which is going to be a good heat,” said Medina, after winning Heat 4 in the Quarterfinals, “it’s heat-by-heat, can’t wait for the next one.”
After the men’s Quarterfinal, it was time for the women’s competition, the first to ever take place at Banzai Pipeline during the Women’s CT. Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) won Heat 4 of the Quarterfinal against Sage Erickson(USA) with a combined score of 8.60 and advanced to the Semifinal to Moore.
“I’m so stoked to have this opportunity and I just want to represent women’s surfing the best I can,” said Weston-Webb, after winning Heat 4 in the Quarterfinal. “I’m really excited to get more time out there and get some amazing waves.”
In Semifinal 1, Wright won with a combined score of 10.50 against fellow Australian SallyFitzgibbons. During Semifinal 2, Moore earned a combined score 16.60, including a 9.60 (out of a possible 10) on one of her rides against Weston-Webb.
“I’m just really proud to be competing in my hometown,” said Moore, after Semifinal 2. “I just feel all the support here, especially from my family watching at home on the other side of the island.”
In the men’s competition, Florence scored a combined 18.16, with a 9.23 on his first wave and 8.93 on his second in Semifinal 1 against Slater. Medina defeated Ferreira in Semifinal 2.
The Road to The WSL Finals
The Road to The WSL Finals has officially started in Hawaii. For the first time, the men’s and women’s World Titles will be decided in a single-day event, ‘The WSL Finals’. The top five women and top five men following the CT season will battle for their respective titles in a new surf-off format at one of the world’s best waves. The WSL Finals will take place at Lower Trestles, California from September 8 – 17, 2021.
The opening leg of the Championship Tour will resume in January at the Sunset Open from January 19 – 28, 2021.
Maui Pro presented by ROXY Final Results:
1 – Tyler Wright (AUS) 8.34 2 – Carissa Moore (HAW) 7.23
Maui Pro presented by ROXY Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Tyler Wright (AUS) 10.50 DEF. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 2.87 SF 2: Carissa Moore (HAW) 16.60 DEF. Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 2.47
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