A handful of shocking upsets marked the day Sunday at the Cold Water Classic in Santa Cruz, California, clarifying the overall world title picture just a bit.
The big news is that this year’s title race will be decided in the final event of the season at Pipeline in Hawaii. By winning his round three heat over Dusty Payne, in which Payne very nearly stole the win with a lest second air-reverse, Kelly Slater assured that no matter how far Joel Parkinson goes in the contest, he will need to wait until Hawaii in December before hoisting any trophies.
But there was bad news for John John Florence, who is arguably the favorite at Pipeline, as he lost out today in round two to Matt Wilkinson, effectively ending the young Hawaiian’s title hopes.
Mick Fanning was the big round three casualty, losing a controversial heat to Brazilian Jadson Andre. Mick appeared to have the heat sewn up, having priority and the lead with two minutes left. Fanning gave Andre a small wave in the dying moments, needing a 7.47. To Mick’s horror, Jadson’s backside turns were enough for a 7.5 and the victory. Mick will now need a miracle at Pipeline in order to claim his third world title.
Strong swell is expected to continue Monday, so look for competition to resume as early as 7 a.m. local time.
Photo of Joel Parkinson courtesy of ASP