|Medina’s World Title hopes were on the line this afternoon in Round 3 when the Brazilian faced lethal replacement surfer Seth Moniz (HAW) in pumping surf. The Hawaiian was first to put a serious number on his scorecard with a good barrel at Backdoor for a 6.33 that pressured Medina to answer. The current Jeep Frontrunner stuck to the lefts and rode a critical tube for a 7.70 to turn the situation but Moniz kept chasing waves and once again jumped in the lead with a 5.50 on his backhand. With six minutes on the clock, the 2014 World Champion dropped into a final Pipe bomb and made it out clean for a 6.60 and the win into Round 4.
“I was really excited to wake up and finally see the waves,” Medina said. “I thought it was going to be bigger but it’s still pretty good. It’s really fun when you find the good ones but it’s challenging out there, it’s not easy. I’m really focused on my next round. It’s going to be a good one and hopefully, I can find more barrels.”
With the dual-heat system in play, Julian Wilson (AUS) entered the water while Medina was still surfing and witnessed his advancing. After a couple of unsuccessful tries, the current No. 2 in the world rode a solid right and laid into a good carve for a 6.00 and the lead over Miguel Pupo (BRA). Pupo answered with a 5.83 for a good left-hand barrel but Wilson kept the lead. In the dying seconds of their matchup, both surfers started on the same wave, splitting the peak, Wilson going right and Pupo on the left. The wave shut down and the situation remained unchanged with Wilson advancing into Round 4 to keep his World Title hopes alive.
“I just took all the experience I have and I let Pipe and Backdoor decide my destiny there,” Wilson said. “I just put myself in position, gave myself chances and never gave up. I feel like my injury and my year is kind of all coming together at the right time and I’m excited to put on a good performance.”
The Men’s World Title Scenarios at the Billabong Pipe Masters:
– If Gabriel Medina finishes 1st or 2nd at the Billabong Pipe Masters, he wins the World Title;
– If Gabriel Medina finishes 3rd at the Billabong Pipe Masters, Julian Wilson will need to finish 1st;
– If Gabriel Medina finishes 5th-25th, Julian Wilson will need a 2nd or 1st at Pipe.