A bet on Mick would double your money, a bet on Filipe would quadruple it
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 27 November, 2015 - Next month sees the world’s surfing community reach its final major event of the year: The Billabong Pipeline Masters. This signature event will cap off an incredible first season under the newly named World Surf League (WSL). This year has seen the closest end to a season in recent memory, with six riders capable of being crowned World Champion at Pipeline.
Here I take a look at the six riders who can potentially win the World Title and their chances, according to the bookmakers, of becoming World Champion. (You can also check the Women's World Title odds here.) Surfing has never been consistently aligned with elite sport, but with the competitive nature of this year's title you can now find the events and odds on Sports Betting sites, alongside Football and Rugby. In this article I will be referring to the American style of odds, which shows a decimal number. It is a simple system where the number represents the return from $1, so the higher the number, the higher the return!
History of the Event
Originally held on the North Shore of Oahu in 1971: Fred Hemmings managed to almost attract 50 people – today, it is a worldwide event, and is the jewel in the Triple Crown series. The winner will typically be the contestant who rides the deepest and longest tubes over the course of their heats. The reef break can produce waves up to 50 feet high and breaks only 75 yards offshore, which makes it a perfect event for spectators.
The competition has been the scene of turning points in surfing history. The first use of the tri-fin board on a large wave in competition was recorded at the Masters and Michael Ho won with a broken arm in a cast! The event was dominated by Kelly Slater and Andy Irons during the 90’s and 00’s with Slater garnering 6 titles to Irons’ 4.
Mick Fanning - 2.05
The Aussie from the Gold Coast is chasing his fourth title and it is his to lose. One of the most decorated men on tour, he sits atop the JEEP Leaderboard – an even more impressive feat this year considering 6 riders have accumulated 41,000 points or more.
“White Lightning’s” knowledge of waves and competition experience is second to none. He is expected to at least reach the quarter-finals – provided he can avoid the sharks!
Filipe Toledo - 4.00
There are a hat-trick of Brazilians in contention this year, with Felipe Toledo of São Paulo being one of the favourites; the South American nation has just as many riders now as both the USA and Australia.
The boy from Brazil finally emerged onto the scene after three years on tour in Peniche, Portugal, managing to secure a perfect 10 on one wave. If he falls at the last hurdle he certainly shouldn’t view 2015 as a missed opportunity, but a great stepping stone to future success.
His biggest successes have been on performance waves and with a big Pipeline expected he has yet to show that he is truly world-class at barrelling.
Julian Wilson - 67.00
The second Australian on the list has been consistently in the top 10 of the Tour Leader board. Incredible heats and exceptional bravery during the close shark encounter at J-Bay in South Africa have put him firmly in the eyes of judges and spectators alike.
Wilson goes into the competition as defending Champion and will be looking to repeat last year’s Triple Crown Triumph. However, unless Fanning is eliminated early on, he will struggle to beat him this year.
Adriano de Souza - 4.25
The veteran of the Brazilian trio, De Souza, paved the way for the Big Air youngsters to come through, but this does not mean he will let them pass him without a fight. He has experience and consistency on his side and is also coming fresh from an impressive performance against John-John Florence in Margaret River, where he was far superior on the rails.
He may simply need to finish above Fanning in any round to win the WSL – however, the event is not his best, and does not play in to his skills on the face. You need a strong relationship with the wave at Pipe – something De Souza has never truly had.
Owen Wright - 34.00
Owen Wright was an exciting prospect when he burst on the scene and fought with Kelly Slater for three successive events, winning one in New York 2012. He has shown he is a great all-rounder and able to perform under any conditions, but injuries and bad luck meant that he had dropped down to 37th in Leader board at one point in the past.
His confidence waned after this, but could his win in Fiji this year be the start of a triumphant return? The task is huge with a win at Pipe and a failing Fanning will be the only way he can manage it.
Gabriel Medina – 8.00
The big star of surfing at the moment, and seemingly plastered into every magazine, Medina makes the tour look easy. He is the most in-form rider going into Oahu following an early season hiccup.
Since J-Bay he has not finished outside of a quarter-final and won the only European date on tour: the Quick Pro France. The prodigy from Brazil just has to hope that Fanning does not make it to the semis.
Medina is the third favourite – let’s see if he can make it two World Titles in a row!