PIPELINE, Oahu/Hawaii (Monday, December 9, 2013) - Opening day of the Billabong Pipe Masters kicked off in fantastic form, with the world's best surfers going blow-for-blow in firing six-to-eight foot (2 metre) barrels at Pipeline and Backdoor. With the first two rounds of competition under wraps, there has already been a shift in 2014 ASP Qualification scenarios and multiple possibilities exist entering Round 3 of competition.
The 2014 elite ASP Top 34 will be comprised of the Top 22 finishers on this year's ASP WCT rankings, the Top 10 finishers on this year's ASP Qualification rankings and two ASP wildcards (often, but not always, allocated to injured surfers). As ASP Top 34 surfers are permitted to count two ASP WCT results of 9th or higher to their respective Qualification rankings, the final event of the year at Pipeline is proving to play a crucial role in the shuffle of those joining the big leagues in 2014. ASP Tour Managers Al Hunt and Renato Hickel combined forces this morning to give the latest update on the bubble.
Following Round 2 of the Billabong Pipe Masters, the following situations exist entering Round 3.
Simpson is now holding the final spot on the ASP World Ranking, bumping Mitch Coleborn (AUS), 26, from qualification.
Dusty Payne (HAW), 24, and Patrick Gudauskas (USA), 28, both advanced to Round 3 competition and are one heat away from temporarily advancing in to a secure berth via a Top 10 spot on the ASP World Ranking. If either Payne or Gudauskas advance to Round 4, Simpson is out. If both advance, Simpson and Dion Atkinson (AUS), 27, are out.
Adam Melling (AUS), 28, is currently requalified via a top 10 spot on the World Ranking. If Melling is to advance to Round 4, he would then overtake Miguel Pupo for the No. 22 position on the WCT, thus no longer relying on his World Ranking. This situation would push Atkinson or Simpson back in depending on the scenario above.
Note that Pupo is still competing at the Billabong Pipe Masters. If Pupo advances to Round 4, Matt Wilkinson (AUS), 25, will be bumped out of qualification.
Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow morning at 6:30am local time for a possible 8am start to Round 3 of the Billabong Pipe Masters.
The Billabong Pipe Masters holds a waiting period from December 8-20 and is webcast LIVE via vanstriplecrownofsurfing.com
UPCOMING BILLABONG PIPE MASTERS ROUND 3 MATCH UPS:
Heat 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Yadin Nicol (AUS)
Heat 2: C.J. Hobgood (USA) vs. Fredrick Patacchia (HAW)
Heat 3: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Patrick Gudauskas (USA)
Heat 4: Nat Young (USA) vs. Bede Durbidge (AUS)
Heat 5: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Gabriel Medina (BRA)
Heat 6: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Kaimana Jaquias (HAW)
Heat 7: Josh Kerr (AUS) vs. Miguel Pupo (BRA)
Heat 8: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Sebastian Zietz (HAW)
Heat 9: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Mitch Crews (AUS)
Heat 10: Kai Otton (AUS) vs. Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 11: Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Jeremy Flores (FRA)
Heat 12: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Dusty Payne (HAW)