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The 2017 World Title Showdown Is Tighter Than You Think

With Gabriel Medina's incredible sweep of the European leg, the 2017 World Title race is now going down to the wire. The Billabong Pipe Masters will be a showdown between four very viable World Title contenders, with Jeep Leader John John Florence having a slight edge over the rest of the field heading into the event. Below is a breakdown of what happens based on Florence's performance this year at Pipe.

John John Florence right at home and into Round 3. John John Florence will be trying to clinch his second World Title in his own backyard. Florence is always considered a favorite when competing at the break where he grew up, yet he has yet to win. WSL / KC

Who Needs What to Win

  1. If John John makes the Final of the Billabong Pipe Masters he wins the 2017 World Title.
  2. If John John gets 3rd or 5th place, Gabriel Medina can win the World Title with a win at the event.
  3. If John John gets 9th, Medina needs at least a Finals appearance. Jordy Smith would have to win the event to clinch.
  4. If John John gets 13th or 25th, Medina will need at least a 5th to clinch, Smith at least 2nd and Julian a win.

Of course, when digesting the scenarios required it helps to understand how the current crop of World Title contenders have performed at Pipe. This is where the story gets even more interesting. Behold, the breakdown.

Gabriel Medina (BRA) is the 2014 ASP World Champion. Gabriel Medina celebrated his 2014 World Title with a Finals appearance at Pipeline. He finished runner-up there again in 2015. WSL / Kelly Cestari

Contenders History of Billabong Pipe Masters Results 2011 - 2016
John John Florence: 5th, 13th, 2nd, 5th, 9th, 5th
Gabriel Medina: 5th, 9th, 13th, 2nd, 2nd, 13th
Jordy Smith: 13th, 13th, INJ, 25th, 13th, 5th
Julian Wilson: 13th, 13th, 5th, 1st, 13th, 13th

Julian Wilson (AUS) is the winner of the 2014 Billabong Pipe Masters in Memory of Andy Irons WINNER. Best not to forget that Julian Wilson defeated Medina in the Finals of the 2014 Billabong Pipe Masters. WSL / Kelly Cestari

Victories 2011 - 2016
Julian Wilson: 1
Florence: 0
Medina: 0
Smith: 0

Final Appearances 2011 - 2016
Medina: 2
John John Florence: 1
Julian Wilson: 1
Smith: 0

Semifinal Appearances 2011 - 2016
Medina: 2
Florence: 1
Wilson: 1
Smith: 0

Quarterfinal Appearances 2011 - 2016
Florence: 4
Medina: 3
Wilson: 2
Smith: 1

Jordy Smith winning Heat 4 of Round Five of the Billabong Pipe Masters at Pipeine, Oahu, Hawaii. Jordy Smith's Quarterfinal finish last year propelled him to No. 2 on the Jeep Leaderboard to finish the year, but Smith's Pipeline track record suggests that he's the underdog in this fight. WSL / Damien Poullenot

As you can see, while Medina's never won the Pipeline Masters, he's no stranger to solid results in Hawaii. Surprisingly, Florence has yet to win the big one at Pipe, too. Expectations remain high for Florence, being that this is literally his backyard. Wilson, while a long shot, is the only contender who's won the event, but he'll need to do it again to have a chance at the Title. Meanwhile, Smith will clearly have to raise his game at Pipe to have a shot.

The Billabong Pipe Masters waiting period opens Dec. 8 and closes Dec. 20.

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