Julian Wilson wins Rip Curl Pro Portugal, title race moves to Santa Cruz

Julian Wilson took a tight final at Supertubos over Gabby Medina Friday to win the Rip Curl Pro Portugal. Since neither finalist is in the world title race, the most important moment of the day’s action was the first semifinal, where Medina ousted world No. 1 Joel Parkinson, handing him a third place finish. Now that there are just two events left–the O’Neill Coldwater Classic Santa Cruz in California and
Banzai Pipeline in Oahu–we can start to do a bit of math to calculate adjusted rankings, which surprisingly give Slater the edge.

Each surfer of the world’s top four surfers–Slater, Parkinson, Mick Fanning, and John John Florence–counts his best eight of 10 results in the season. Kelly has three bad results, but he also three wins, while Parko has been Mr. Consistent, dropping a 5th and a 9th, but he has no wins. Below are the top four contenders, with their two lowest results dropped, and you’ll notice that Kelly sits in first, with Joel and Mick tied close behind.

Slater: 44,950

Parko: 43,500

Mick: 43,500

John John: 38,600

What this means is that the title race will undoubtedly go down to the wire at Pipeline for the first time since 2006, and Kelly will have an easier time gaining ground than Joel, since he has lower scores to improve upon.

But the pressure going forward is on Kelly and Mick. Joel has a safety cushion in that he has yet to have a bad result, so early exits in the last two events might not prevent him from winning the title. Kelly and Mick, however, will need to use these last two events to manufacture “keeper” scores in order to snatch it from Joel.

The Coldwater Classic begins on Nov. 1.