Gabriel Medina can win the world title in Portugal
It's the time of year when the mathematics wizard becomes the oracle of pro surfing. Never mind heat strategy or judging criteria, he who can add up the numbers shall be listened to.
It all gets a bit confusing when, instead of a straight run to the finish line, each surfer drops their two worst results.
Confusing to predict, that is. It's dead simple come the end of the season.
At present only 320 points separates Gabriel Medina in first and Felipe Toledo in second, while Julian Wilson is 4,325 points back in third. It's one of the closest title races in years, however Gabs' consistency - his worst place is a 13th - means he has a mathematical chance of winning the title at Portugal.
The breakdown is as follows:
- Gabriel Medina, Filipe Toledo, and Julian Wilson are the three World Title contenders
- Going into Portugal only Gabriel Medina can clinch the title; Toledo and Wilson can only win it in Hawaii
- If Medina finishes first in Portugal, Toledo will need a ninth or better and Wilson a third or better to take the World Title to Hawaii
- If Gabriel Medina finishes second or worse in Portugal, the World Title race will go to Hawaii
Amongst the trio, it's hard to find a favourite at Portugal as each of them has won the contest: Jules in 2012 (beating Gabs in the final); Toledo in 2015; and Gab is the defending champion (he beat Jules in the final). Nor does the forecast clearly favour any surfer with mid-range swell easing over the first dew days generally accompanied by northerly winds, which blow cross/sideshore - think lots of ramps and an air wind.
Also in the main event draw are the two wildcards, Samuel Pupo and Miguel Blanco, plus Miguel Pupo, Wiggolly Dantas, Ryan Callinan, and Vasco Ribeiro, who are replacing the injured quartet of Slater, John John, Caio Ibelli, and Parko.