ASP World Tour Year End Review // Part 2
World Title Race Intensifies From Trestles to Pipe
By mid-way through the year, the World Title race was officially on. As each contest passed, mathematical scenarios were calculated to see who was still in the hunt. But it was obvious to most that it was between Fanning, Parko, Slater, and Florence. Here’s how things unfolded:
Hurley Pro – In September, the tour made it’s way to California for the Hurley Pro at Trestles. Only meager south swells made there way to Cali during the waiting period. Fortunately, Lower Trestles has a knack for bringing out the best of a south swell and offered up clean walls on the rights, and small ramps on the left. Full-on performance surfing was on display with aerials and railwork being the ingredients for heat wins. Parko and Slater made it to the finals for the third time out of 6 events. Although they both ripped, Slater edged out Parko for his 50th career ASP victory! After Slater’s win, the battle was on for the World Title. After half way through the season, Slater, Parko, Fanning, and John John all found themselves in the hunt for the chance to be 2012 World Champion.
Hurley Pro Final Day Highlights
Quiksilver Pro France – The European leg of the tour is where things usually heat up in the title race as the season begins to draw to a close. When the Quiksilver Pro France kicked off in Hossegor, each Round had a heat with title race implications. And who better to spoil title hopes than wildcard Dane Reynolds. After dropping off the tour to pursue more creative outlets for his surfing, Dane appeared in his sponsor’s contest and smoked everyone. Stylish tube rides and huge power carves carried Dane into the final against a focused Slater. In clean overhead barrels, Slater easily eclipsed Dane to take his third win of the year.
Quiksilver Pro France Final Day Highlights
Rip Curl Pro Portugal – The tour then made it’s way over to Supertubos, in Peniche, for the Rip Curl Pro Portugal. Decent swell showed up, but it was nothing like the A+ swell and conditions from the previous year. Deep tubes followed by airs in the closeouts were the call. After some incredible airs and convincing barrels, Gabriel Medina made it to the final versus a smooth and confident Julian Wilson. As the final got under way, Julian and Medina traded waves. Julian got a good tube with a messy exit. Gabriel got two good lefts. One with a mental 360 air and three different turns, and another left with a tube that was much longer than Julian’s. Medina was in the lead with Julian needing a 7.55 with 35 seconds left. A head high right approached the lineup. Julian swung around and dropped into a short tube with a messy exit, and followed it up with three turns that were almost check-turns with absolutely no commitment. To the world’s surprise, the judges gave Julian an 8.43! When viewed in hindsight, Julian’s waves were clearly overscored. What ensued afterwords was some regrettable behavior by 18 year old Medina and his family. Tears on the podium, step-dad rearranging the furniture in the competitor’s area, Medina walking off the stage during the awards ceremony, and an internet firestorm of controversy.
Rip Curl Pro Portugal Final Day Highlights
O’Neill Coldwater Classic – By the time the tour reached the O’Neill Coldwater Classic in Santa Cruz, the dust had settled form the Portugal fiasco and the Top 34 got down to business. There was a title race after all, and for Slater, Parko, Fanning, and Florence it was do or die. Florence lost first, taking himself out of the world title equation. Then Fanning also dropped out in the first round, but was still mathematically in the hunt. Slater made it to Round 5 for an equal 9th finish, and Mr. Consistency Parko made it to the quarters. Squeaking by all of them were Taj Burrow and Matt Wilkinson who battled it out in the final. Although Wilko ripped the entire event, he was out done by Taj’s lightning fast snaps and gouges in the final.
O’Neill Coldwater Classic Final Day Highlights
Billabong Pipeline Masters – By the time the Pipe Masters began, the media was buzzing about a Slater and Parko showdown at Pipe for the title. The first two days of competiton were held in epic 6-8ft Pipeline with Day 2 offering up some Backdoor waves. Dane Reynolds, again an event sponsor wildcard, continued to impress with deep backdoor barrels and the events first perfect 10. Young Kauaian pro Sebastien Zietz made it to the quarters and took down the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing title with a 1st, 3rd, and 5th in the three event series while simultaneously qualifying for the 2013 tour. Slater and Parko kept winning heats by posting the highest heat scores of the contest, and found themselves in the semis. Parko got past a tough Damien Hobgood in their semi-final duel. It was now in Slater’s hands. Josh Kerr, who had previously been sent to the hospital after a Round 4 wipeout earlier in the day, faced Slater in the semis. Josh snagged a good Backdoor wave earning a 9.20, while Slater seemed to struggle with the crossed up conditions. With time winding down, and Slater only carrying a 3.00 and a 1.90, he needed a hefty 8.14 to advance. As the clock counted down to zero, cheers and screams erupted at the Billabong house where Parko was staying. After over a decade on tour Parko had won his first World Title! He would go on to win the final versus Kerr to silence the critics that weren’t keen on having a World Champion that didn’t win an event all year. It was clear that all the pieces fell in the right place for Parko, and as you can imagine, a huge weight has been lifted off his shoulders.
Final Day Highlights
Parko’s Road to the Title
What a year! 2013 is shaping up to be a cracker of a season as well with new blood on the tour, Kelly Slater’s questionable retirement, and a possible new contest venue yet to be announced! Check out our 2103 ASP World Tour Preview coming next week!
Check out the ASP World Tour Year End Review // Part 1 here.