|Jeep Frontrunner Ferreira fell short of World Title contention at Pipe last year, but his success again this year has opened the door for his maiden World Title. The Brasilian has never surpassed a fifth-place result at the Billabong Pipe Masters but has put in the time and the training to improve his performance at one of the most challenging waves in the world.
“Winning the World Title is going to be a challenge for me and that’s why I’m here and that’s why I came here early to surf, get my confidence, and test my boards,” said Ferreira. “Pipeline is hard because sometimes it’s so shallow but when you get a big barrel, it’s one of the best waves for sure. It’s hard because you need to share the lineup with all the local guys, sometimes it’s hard to get the bigger ones. But you’re there and you need to wait for the best of your life, it’s a special place.”
Current World No. 2 Medina is no stranger to the pressures of the World Title race and is excited to get the competition underway. The 25-year-old feels ready to defend both his World Title and the Billabong Pipe Masters title. He will come up against compatriot Willian Cardoso (BRA) and one of the event wildcards, which will be determined following the Pipe Invitational.
“I am stoked to be here in this position again fighting for the World Title, so it should be a fun week,” said Medina. “I have been in this position before, this is maybe my fifth year fighting for the Title and it is a situation I am used to. I am feeling good and relaxed. All of my family and friends are here and this is a wave I love to surf. I am grateful for another opportunity to clinch a Title and hopefully, the waves are really good for the contest. Let’s do this.”
Smith sits in third place on the Jeep Leaderboard, well within striking distance of the World Title, but recently suffered an injury to his ribs while surfing. Despite the injury, Smith knows what he needs to win and will not let the pain get in the way once the competition gets underway.
“It was a bummer at the time [of the injury], but you just have to make the most of the situation you’re in,” said Smith. “It’s all positive, it’s been an incredible year and I just need to get the win here. I’ve had two surfs now since I’ve been back, there’s a little discomfort but nothing that’s going to stop me from going on any wave that comes through.”