The biggest one. The last one. The hardest one. Welcome to the 2018 Billabong Pipe Masters. A dig through the numbers shows very few trends and one truth: Pipe's all over the place, 'cause anything can happen. Get ready for an epic conclusion to the year.
The Safe Bet: Kelly Slater
He's Kelly. At Pipe. Lurking around Tier C, Kelly's a safe bet for the impressive numbers he's put up over the years. He's surfed 25 times. He's made the Quarterfinals or better 19 times. He's won seven times. Old? Yes. Injured? Maybe. That's as solid a track record as anyone has, anywhere, and it dares you NOT to start him.
The Underdog: Joel Parkinson
Parko is the other Pipe Master in Tier C. He won it all in 2012, the same year he took home his World Title. He's made more Finals at Pipe (3) than anyone on Tour but Kelly (8). Now he's retiring, and this is the sacred sand he wanted to do it on. Will all the energy and emotion of a 17th and final Pipe appearance propel Parko to the podium? Will he win the Triple Crown as his way of saying bye? We're thinkin' yeah...maybe.
Joan Duru, Wilko, Tomás Hermés, Connor O'Leary and Pat Gud will have a little extra incentive: Keeping their job. None of them have made it past Round Three. Ever. (Tomás has never competed a Pipe before). But Wilko is most experienced out there (8 years!), and the guy loves a left. A world without Wilko? Nah. We bet he pulls out a big one and re-joins the Tour in 2019.
- Former Pipe Masters in the Event: Kelly Slater (x7), Jeremy Flores (x2), Joel Parkinson, Julian Wilson, Adriano de Souza, Michel Bourez
- Surfers with 10's at Pipe: Kelly Slater (4), JJF (3), Sebastain Zeitz (2), Joel Parkinson (2) Gabriel Medina (1) Filipe Toledo (1)
- Highest average Pipe Finish: Kanoa Igarashi (2.5)!!! , Ian Gouveia (3), Kelly Slater (4.4), Gabriel Medina (7), Jeremy Flores (8.6), Julian Wilson (9)