And, don't forget Jordan Smith. Ripped off at Keramas, torched at Surf Ranch last year, surely a Backdoor nugget might get high-balled this time around…
I know it’s weird to have BG pouring hot oil on the WSL and still be covering the Tour, as one commentator astutely noted but I think we can walk and chew gum at the same time here.
We can still savage the inanity of the wall of positive noise and offer safe harbour to smart money.
You’ve probably seen the numbers breakdown now, with Italo in the yellow and we’ll get to that in a second.
First, Gabe’s fuck-up, as monumental as it was, shook down with the minimum collateral damage for him on Finals Day in Peniche.
Filipe fell at the next hurdle.
The real dark horse at Pipe, Kanoa Igarashi, is out of contention. Jordy did not win and still sits behind Medina and the pressure of the leader now sits with Italo.
*If Italo wins Pipe he takes the World Title
*If Medina beats Italo by at least one spot (while not losing to the other three surfers), he will win the Title
*If Filipe wins the Pipe Masters, he will win the Title
*If Jordy wins the Pipe Masters and Italo loses before the final, he will win the Title
*If Italo places ninth, Medina needs a fifth, Filipe third, Jordy second, and Kolohe enters the equation needing to win Pipe.
*If Italo places 17th or 33rd, Gabs and Filipe will need a ninth, Smith a fifth, and Kolohe a second to win the Title.
Clear as mud, right.
Where we’ll deviate from current coverage is looking into the past five years of Pipeline form. The recent past being the best predictor of the near future, Thanksgiving turkey’s excepted.
Lets start 2015, Italo’s rookie year.
Italo, lost to CJ Hopgood RD3. Heat total 4.57.
Toledo, lost to wildcard Mason Ho Rd 3. Heat total 6.67.
Andino, lost to Keanu Asing Rd2. Heat total 4.90.
Jordy, lost to Gabe Medina Rd3. Heat total 4.5.
Medina. Lost Final to Adriano De Souza.
Italo, Lost to Michel Bourez Rd3. Heat total 10.34.
Medina, lost to Ryan Callinan Rd3. Heat total 11.34.
Toledo, lost to Michel Bourez Rd5. Heat total 15.5
Jordy Smith, lost to Kanoa Igarashi Quarter Final. Heat total 15.74.
Kolohe Andino, lost to Michel Bourez Semi-final. Heat total 13.53.
Italo, lost to Kanoa Igarashi Quarter-Final. Heat total 8.67.
Toledo, lost to Ian Gouevia Rd2. Heat total 11.30.
Andino, lost to Italo Ferreira Rd3. Heat total 4.17.
Jordy Smith, lost to Kelly Slater Rd3. Heat total 7.87.
Medina, lost to Jeremy Flores Quarter-Final. Heat total 6.04.
Italo, lost to Ryan Callinan Rd3. Heat total 2.43.
Toledo, lost to Kelly Slater Rd3. Heat total 6.77.
Andino, lost to Miggy Pupo Rd2. Heat total 5.00.
Jordy Smith, lost to Gabe Medina, Semi-final. Heat total 15.83.
How do you like our man Italo now? Crunching the nut of the maths means Italo has to finish in front of Medina at Pipe. He has never finished in front of Medina at Pipe.
Add 2014 into the mix (before Italo) and Medina has finalled three times in the last five years. His worst result, 2016, seems an aberration. Small backdoor, title already decided and a super-close loss to Ryan Callinan.
Kolohe’s all over the place, good at small Backdoor, lost at sea in proper Pipe.
Filipe Toledo at Pipe. It may happen one day, the Lord works in mysterious ways etc etc. But if you had to bet your kids life on someone making a heat at proper Pipe, would you place your bet on Pip? No, me neither.
Jordan Smith, despite a Pipe story lacking dramatic emphasis, ie wins, seems to have momentum onside. You’d have to think, at some point, judging might eventually swing his way during marginal calls. Ripped off at Keramas, torched at Surf Ranch last year, surely a Backdoor nugget might get high-balled this time around.
Will any of this matter, come December 10. Possibly, probably not.
Forecast, heat draw and the presence or absence of John John Florence with his new bionic knee are all vastly more important unknown unknowns.
I think though, a sly bet on Medina is not unwise.
What say you, gamblers?