The final stop on the Men’s WSL Championship Tour is the Pipe Masters in Hawaii.
The Pipe Masters is steeped in tradition and is considered the single most important event on the WSL calendar. With no less than five contenders for the world title, the 2019 Pipe Masters is shaping up to be one of the most memorable contests in recent sporting history. The contenders for the world title are:
- Italo Ferreira
- Gabriel Medina
- Jordy Smith
- Filipe Toledo; and
- Kolohe Andino.
So what will this year have in store and who will win?
We’ve broken down who we think will come 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.
Current Ranking: #1
Result at Pipe in 2018: 13th
You can longer ignore Italo Ferreira. He is ranked number 1 and has been one of the form surfers in 2019 with two wins already under his belt at the Gold Coast in Australia and Portugal. Italo appears to be fearless when it comes to surfing heavy waves. At “The Box” in Western Australia he took on one of the heaviest waves of the competition and it was the first time he’d ever surfed that particular break. Watch that wave here (skip to 0:39).
- Italo has already registered two wins in 2019 at the Gold Coast and Portugal;
- Being a goofy he will be on his forehand on the left hand waves at “First Reef”; and
- His aggressive style means he stays busy all heat and catches plenty of waves.
- Italo is generally quite reliant on airs to achieve big scores from the judges. The conditions at Pipe all but rule out airs.
Current Ranking: #5
Result at Pipe in 2018: 25th
Kolohe is very much the quiet achiever of the men’s tour. He has been going about his business with style and professionalism and is now sitting at 5th on the leader board with little fuss. Kolohe is one of the most technically proficient surfers on tour and will be right at home under the big barrels of Pipeline.
- Kolohe’s father, Dino Andino, was a prolific professional surfer in the 90’s and so Kolohe spent his childhood surrounded by the world’s best surfers.
- His technique is textbook perfect and so he can always fall back on clean snaps and cutbacks if the waves get tricky.
- Has already claimed four podium finishes in 2019.
- Has never won a WSL event so may be lacking a little confidence.
Current Ranking: #2
Result at Pipe in 2018: 1st
The 25-year-old suffered a shock exit from the Rip Curl Pro in Portugal after being penalised for an interference blunder in his round of 16 heat against compatriot Caio Ibelli. However, despite all this, watch your back because is Gabriel Medina is in red hot form and on a collision course for the world title. Medina’s performance in the final at J-Bay on his backhand was some of the best surfing we’ve ever seen. Having won at Pipe last year it’s hard to rule out Medina for a 1st place finish in 2019.
- He is the most physically balanced yet explosive surfer on tour.
- Medina has been in red hot form ever since his 1st place finish in Jeffrey’s Bay.
- Being the defending world champion means he knows exactly what mentality it takes to close out events.
- Given the heavy nature of the wave at Pipe, Gabriel will be restricted to tube-riding and won’t be able to showcase his aerial manouvres.