Brazilian pro surfer Gabriel Medina beat Hawaiian Dusty Payne in the third round of the Billabong Pipe Masters on Friday, mathematically eliminating the chances of Kelly Slater capturing his 12th world title.
Slater, who is both the oldest- and youngest-ever Association of Surfing Professionals World Championship Tour champion, was ranked as high as second in the world title race this year. But even with world number one Medina’s uncharacteristically low results at the Hurley Pro at Trestles, Quiksilver Pro France, and Rip Curl Pro Portugal, Slater was never able to capitalize. After Slater’s early elimination at Portugal (he placed 13th), he dropped to third in the world title rankings. Going into Pipe, Medina would merely have to advance past the third round to knock Slater out of the title race.
Though he’s out of world title contention, Slater could still take first place at Pipe. A seven-time winner of the event, he faces Brazilian Alejo Muniz in round three of heat 12.
World number two and 2013 World Championship Tour champ Mick Fanning represents the final hurdle in Medina’s bid for the title. According to the ASP, for Fanning to win, Medina has to lose before the finals and Fanning must place no lower than runner-up. On Friday, Fanning advanced to round four, past Jeremy Flores of France.
According to event organizers, the competition is set to complete today, which would conclude the 2014 season and decide the title race. No Brazilian has ever won the world title.