World Title Showdowns In Hawaii
Author: ASP World Tour
In what portends to be one of the best world title showdowns in professional surfing history, the 2003 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing will determine the men's and women's World Championship Tour (WCT) and coveted Vans Triple Crown champions, Nov. 12 to Dec. 20.
With less than 650 points separating six-time Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) world champion Kelly Slater (Florida
) and reigning champ Andy Irons
), all eyes are pointing to a possible showdown at the Xbox Gerry Lopez
Pipeline Masters (Dec. 8-20 at Banzai Pipeline). The Pipeline Masters is the world's longest running (33 years) and most prestigious pro surfing competition, and the finale of the $750,000 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing.
Although Australians Mick Fanning
and Taj Burrow
are still mathematically in the race, the men's battle essentially boils down to Irons and Slater, both previous Pipeline and Vans Triple Crown champions. With only two "Grand Prix" WCT's remaining, the $250,000 Rip Curl Cup (Nov. 24 - Dec. 7 at Sunset Beach
) and the $250,000 Pipeline Masters, Slater leads the race followed by Irons, Fanning and Burrow.
Among several possible scenarios, should Slater bow out early at Sunset and Irons finish well...then the Pipeline showdown becomes reality. If Slater were to win the Rip Curl Cup, Irons would have to finish second in the event to keep his chances alive at Pipeline. If Slater records a first at Sunset, he would only need a fifth at Pipeline to be crowned world champion. Even if Irons were to win both events, Slater could still wrap up an unprecedented seventh title by finishing second in each WCT. Fanning and Burrow are on the outside looking in, each needing to win both events and hope Slater finishes no better than seventh in either.
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