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The Men’s and Women’s World Titles Will Be Decided in Hawaii

The Quiksilver Pro and Roxy Pro France ended this week, and with them came some major developments for the world title race. First, on the ladies’ side, Steph Gilmore had a chance to make history. She has won six world titles already—just one shy of Layne Beachley’s record of seven—and is widely considered to be the greatest female competitive surfer in history. The opportunity was there for her to clinch her seventh title in France—all she had to do was finish one round ahead of Lakey Peterson, who trails Steph but is still mathematically in contention for the title. But Steph ended up coming up just short in her round three heat, missing out on progressing by a mere 0.06 points! Lakey then had a chance to make up some ground on Steph, but ended up losing in the very next heat, so both women left France with equal 9th place finishes—hardly a keeper result on a tour with only 17 women. Courtney Conlogue ended up winning the event, demonstrating a return to form after an injury-plagued season. The ladies now enter their last event of the season—Honolua Bay on Maui—with Steph Gilmore sitting pretty approximately 7000 points ahead of Peterson. The only way Lakey can stop Steph from making history is by winning the event, and Steph not making it past the quarter finals—and even then, they will be tied and will end up having a surf off. In other words, it is very likely that Steph will enter her rightful place in history as the winningest women’s world champion next month, right here in Hawaii! Everyone always loves to see world titles decide in the Aloha State, at the last event of the season, with all of the drama unfolding on the beaches of Hawaii. Fortunately, it looks like the men’s world title will be won here as well, as all indicators point to a showdown for the title at Pipeline in December. Felipe Toledo looked to be running away with it this year, but fellow Brazilian Gabriel Medina put together back-to-back wins at Teahupoo and the Surf Ranch, and with his third place finish in France has now overtaken Felipe for the yellow leader’s jersey. Felipe is only a few hundred points behind, however, and Julian Wilson has also put himself back into the mix with a huge comeback win this week over wildcard Ryan Callinan, after dispatching Medina in the semifinals with a perfect 10. Wilson now finds himself around 4000 points off the pace of the two Brazilian leaders, which is only about two heats behind, especially after you factor in the athletes’ throwaway scores. In other words, it’s anyone’s game coming into the last two events of the year in Portugal and here in Hawaii. Both Medina and Wilson have won at Pipe and Supertubos, but you’d have to think Medina has the advantage with his experience and lead over Wilson, plus the fact that he is defending champion in Portugal. No matter what happens, it’s going to be an exciting finish to the year here in Hawaii—and with the great run of waves we have had over the past couple of weeks, plus the swells stacked up on our forecast, it looks like winter could start with a bang. We’ll see you out there!