- 11 December 2013 | Surfing
The 2013 ASP World Tour title race is on fire, as Mick Fanning is forced to surf Round 5 of the Billabong Pipe Masters, in Pipeline, Hawaii.
Six foot (2 metre) barrels greeted the Round 3 surfers. The pressure is on but the world title contenders proved they're ready for the last-minute decisions, at the Billabong Pipe Masters 2013.
Fanning dominated his Round 3 clash with wildcard Kaimana Jaquias, but unexpectedly erred in his three-man Round 4 heat against John John Florence and Nat Young.
Clearly disappointed with his misstep, Fanning couldn't leave the beach fast enough. He wasn't prepared to talk about how this affects his approach to the final day of competition, which looks like taking place on either Friday or Saturday in the largest swell of the period.
Kelly Slater was electric in his bid for an historic 12th ASP World Title, earning the highest heat-totals of both Round 3 and 4. Slater tore past Mitch Crews, with a 17.66 out of 20 heat total for incredible Pipeline and Backdoor barrels and backed up the performance with a 17.50 out of 20 in Round 4.
"I knew I had to make that heat, you can't let those things escape your mind, that was the reality of the situation, but it's not going to change how you go out there and perform. I had to go out there focused", says Slater.
Yadin Nicol claimed two heat victories today, topping fellow Western Australian Taj Burrow, in a close heat in Round 3 and would earn the second perfect 10 of Billabong Pipe Masters in Round 4.
Nicol took off deep on a Pipe set wave and survived a critical drop followed by a perfect tube-ride to earn the flawless score and move on to the Quarterfinals.
"I took off on that one and got a little excited and put my hands up when I came out. I was just excited to get through that heat and that was a great wave", adds Nicol.
Mick Fanning must reach the Semifinals to be crowned 2013 ASP World Tour champion. He will surf against the Floridian CJ Hobgood, in Round 5.
Miguel Pupo and Dion Atkinson have confirmed they will be part of the 2014 ASP World Championship Tour.
Billabong Pipe Masters 2013 | Round 5 Matchups:
C.J. Hobgood (USA) vs. Mick Fanning (AUS)
Nat Young (USA) vs. Julian Wilson (AUS)
Sebastian Zietz (HAW) vs. Kai Otton (AUS)
Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs. Miguel Pupo (BRA)