Florence or Medina: Who will win the 2017 WSL title?

December 18, 2017 | Surfing
John John Florence: riding Backdoor with his eyes on the world title | Photo: Cestari/WSL

There are only two surfers in contention to win the 2017 World Surf League (WSL) title: John John Florence and Gabriel Medina.

The Banzai Pipeline delivered fair wave riding conditions, in a dramatic day of competition that lost two world title hunters. Jordy Smith was eliminated from the event, and Julian Wilson is mathematically out of the discussion.

Bede Durbidge and Josh Kerr also enjoyed their last two heats as professional surfers in the Championship Tour (CT). Connor O'Leary is the 2017 Rookie of the Year.

But the world title race is on, and there's a duo that plans to make waves until the last moment of the season.

Florence struggled to win his Round 3 clash against Ethan Ewing. With seconds on the clock, the Australian rookie found a beautiful Backdoor barrel but didn't get the score he needed to move on to Round 4.

"Definitely a crazy, close heat. Winning heats like that, it's such a weird one. It ends up being so close. I'm obviously super stoked to keep going in this event. But that was hard out there. It's tough to find the good ones," said John John.

Medina also went through a tight heat against Josh Kerr. The Brazilian managed to win his heat with a two-wave total of 10 points.

"It was hard to find the good ones. I'm stoked to get the win, that was a tough one. I still have a shot, feels great, I'm feeling good. I think God is on my side. Now it's just to trust, believe, and just go for it," added Medina.

Florence and Medina are now ready for new battles in Round 4. The world title scenario is as follows:

- If Florence gets 1st or 2nd at Pipe he will clinch the world title;
- If Florence gets a 3rd, Medina will need a 1st at Pipe to win the world title;
- If Florence gets a 5th, Medina will need a 1st at Pipe to secure the world title;
- If Florence gets a 9th, Medina will need a 2nd to win the world title;

2017 Billabong Pipe Masters | Round 4 Match-Ups

Julian Wilson (AUS), Conner Coffin (USA), Ian Gouveia (BRA)
Joel Parkinson (AUS), Caio Ibelli (BRA), John John Florence (HAW)
Jeremy Flores (FRA), Gabriel Medina (BRA), Italo Ferreira (BRA)
Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA), Kanoa Igarashi (USA), Kelly Slater (USA)

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