The world’s best surfers have arrived on the famous North Shore for the final stop of the world championship tour, the Billabong Pipe Masters.
The event, which starts December 8 (local time), will serve as the ultimate proving ground for the world elite as they battle to become the next Pipe Master.
The Billabong Pipe Masters is also the third and final stage of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing WSL Specialty Series.
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Newly crowned WSL Champion John John Florence comes into this event with significant momentum after clinching the World Title in Portugal and his recent victory at the Hawaiian Pro, the first stop of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. Growing up with Pipeline in his backyard, local hero Florence hopes to take the last win of the CT season, despite having yet to earn a victory at this event.
Defending Vans Triple Crown of Surfing winner and current World No. 2, Gabriel Medina, will be one to watch at Pipeline. The Brazilian powerhouse will look to claim his second CT win of the year and secure a strong position for the 2017 season.
Jordy Smith, current World No. 3, has proven to be a fierce opponent on the North Shore with his recent victory at the Vans World Cup of Surfing QS10,000. Smith will be up against Keanu Asing and Bede Durbidge in Round 1.
Durbidge, who injured his pelvis last year, has made a tremendous comeback so far during the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing and will continue to charge at the Pipe Masters.
Pipe will also see Asing battle to reclaim his position on the 2017 CT as this event will be his last opportunity to requalify.
Billabong Pipe Masters Round 1 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Julian Wilson (AUS), Wiggolly Dantas (BRA), Jeremy Flores (FRA)
Heat 2: Kolohe Andino (USA), Miguel Pupo (BRA), Alex Ribeiro (BRA)
Heat 3: Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Nat Young (USA), Ryan Callinan (AUS)
Heat 4: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Keanu Asing (HAW), Bede Durbidge (AUS)
Heat 5: Gabriel Medina (BRA), Kanoa Igarashi (USA), TBD
Heat 6: John John Florence (HAW), Jadson Andre (BRA), TBD
Heat 7: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Conner Coffin (USA), Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 8: Joel Parkinson (AUS), Stuart Kennedy (AUS), Kai Otton (AUS)
Heat 9: Filipe Toledo (BRA), Josh Kerr (AUS), Alejo Muniz (BRA)
Heat 10: Kelly Slater (USA), Caio Ibelli (BRA), Jack Freestone (AUS)
Heat 11: Sebastian Zietz (HAW), Italo Ferreira (BRA), Davey Cathels (AUS)
Heat 12: Adrian Buchan (AUS), Michel Bourez (PYF), Matt Banting (AUS)