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Wavescape - Surfing in South Africa
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Mon, 11 December 2017

It's crunch time! The Billabong Pipe Masters in Memory of Andy Irons is about to start with pumping 8-12 foot surf bombing through at the world-famous Banzai Pipeline.


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CROWSOURCED: There is nothing like the Pipe to pull a large crowd. Photo WSL


The Billabong Pipe Masters, the final stop on the 2017 World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT) and the third gem of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing (VTCS), will kick off at 8am HST (which is 8pm ZA time).

"Right now we have really clean conditions,” said Kieren Perrow, WSL Commissioner. “It is much better than we expected and also much more peaky than we expected with both Pipe and Backdoor available, which is also a surprise. We thought it was going to be mainly Backdoor today. Fingers crossed the wind will hold. 8-to-10 foot out there and we already saw some incredible rides today, so the event is on. We will start at 8:00 a.m. local time with Round 1 and we are going to put the first 4 heats of Round 2 on standby on overlapping if we get to that."

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FANNING BACKHAND: Mick Fanning leans into a meaty bottom turn a while back. Photo WSL


Round 1 will see exciting match-ups as the world’s best surfers compete to become the next Pipe Master and for the coveted World Title. Going into the Billabong Pipe Masters, four surfers remain in contention to clinch the title: reigning WSL Champion John John Florence (HAW) who leads the rankings, Gabriel Medina (BRA), Jordy Smith (ZAF) and Julian Wilson (AUS). Florence will win his second WSL Title if he makes the final at Pipeline.

World Title Scenarios going into the Billabong Pipe Masters:
- If Florence gets 1st or 2nd at Pipe he will clinch the World Title;
- If Florence gets a 3rd, Medina will need a 1st at Pipe to win the World Title;
- If Florence gets a 5th, Medina will need a 1st at Pipe to win the World Title;
- If Florence gets a 9th, Medina will need a 2nd, Smith a 1st;
- If Florence, gets a 13th or 25th, Medina will need a 5th, Smith a 2nd and Wilson 1st

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HOOTWORTHY: Some similar gaping tubes are thundering along the reef today. Photo WSL


Reigning WSL Champion John John Florence (HAW) will battle Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) and Dusty Payne (HAW), the winner of yesterday’s Pipe Invitational, in Round 1 Heat 6. 2014 WSL Champion Gabriel Medina (BRA) will be up against Miguel Pupo (BRA) and Pipe Invitational runner-up Benji Brand (HAW) in Heat 5.

Jordy Smith (ZAF) will face veteran Bede Durbidge (AUS) and 2017 CT Rookie Ethan Ewing (AUS) in Round 1 Heat 4, and Julian Wilson (AUS) will see Vans World Cup of Surfing winner Conner Coffin (USA) and compatriot Stuart Kennedy (AUS) in Round 1 Heat 3 when the Billabong Pipe Masters gets back underway.

For more information, check outWorldSurfLeague.com.

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LET THE SHOW BEGIN: The live feed comes from water-based cams as well. Photo WSL


Billabong Pipe Masters Round 1 Match-Ups
Heat 1: Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Jeremy Flores (FRA), Jadson Andre (BRA)
Heat 2: Owen Wright (AUS), Kanoa Igarashi (USA), Josh Kerr (AUS)
Heat 3: Julian Wilson (AUS), Conner Coffin (USA), Stuart Kennedy (AUS)
Heat 4: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Bede Durbidge (AUS), Ethan Ewing (AUS)
Heat 5: Gabriel Medina (BRA), Miguel Pupo (BRA), Benji Brand (HAW)
Heat 6: John John Florence (HAW), Wiggolly Dantas (BRA), Dusty Payne (HAW)
Heat 7: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Caio Ibelli (BRA), Jack Freestone (AUS)
Heat 8: Kolohe Andino (USA), Joan Duru (FRA), Kelly Slater (USA)
Heat 9: Filipe Toledo (BRA), Michel Bourez (PYF), Ezekiel Lau (HAW)
Heat 10: Sebastian Zietz (HAW), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Ian Gouveia (BRA)
Heat 11: Joel Parkinson (AUS), Connor O’Leary (AUS), Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA)
Heat 12: Mick Fanning (AUS), Frederico Morais (PRT), Italo Ferreira (BRA)

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