Portugal was the perfect time for Conner Coffin to peak. The rookie was in a dire ratings situation heading into the MEO Rip Curl Pro, needing a huge result simply to keep his CT hopes alive in 2017. He entered ranked No. 24, two spots removed from the CT cut, and no Qualifying Series insurance plan to speak of.
Fortunately, he blew up in Peniche, bagging his first Final ever as a CT competitor. For his year-end ranking, Coffin will drop a 25th-place finish (worth 500 points), so that, of the 8,000 points he earned in Portugal he netted 7,500 to his CT ratings total. That's enough not only to lift him to No. 19 on the Jeep Leaderboard, but also put him right back in the Rookie of the Year race as the season comes to a head in Hawaii. With the World Title race over, this is another battle we'll be watching in the final event of the season. Below is the situation as it stands after the MEO Rip Curl Pro.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR RACE
CT Rank: No. 15 Points: 26,950
Needs: 9th or better at Pipe to improve his situation.
After dominating the Qualifying Series in 2015, Caio has proven he belongs on the Championship Tour this season. He's already secured a spot for next year, and as of today, is the frontrunner for this year's Rookie of the Year race. He'll need at least a 9th at Pipeline to bolster his case, with Stu Kennedy hot on his heels. Caio is a respected surfer in the hollow stuff, so this will be an interesting finish.
CT Rank: No. 18 Points: 24,700
Needs: 13th or better at Pipe to improve his situation.
Kennedy gained considerable ground on Caio Ibelli in Portugal, netting a huge 3500 points with his strong 9th place finish in the MEO Rip Curl Pro. Now a 13th or better at Pipe is all he needs to bolster his final tally, giving him an advantage over Ibelli, who needs a 9th to gain any ground.
CT Rank: No. 19 Points: 23,950
Needs 13th or better at Pipeline to better his situation.
Conner's first Final appearance in Portugal was a tremendous boost to his cause, and couldn't have come at a better time. He netted 7,500 points, and jumped well into the requalification picture heading into Pipe. Looking ahead to the Billabong Pipe Masters in Hawaii, even a Round Three appearance there will help his cause. Coffin is a bonafide charger, so he'll be in his comfort zone at Pipeline no matter the conditions.
Watch the Billabong Pipe Masters live daily from December 8 - 20.