Kelly Slater avoids wipeout at Pipeline Masters, Gabriel Medina claims world title ahead of Julian Wilson
Kelly Slater produced a miraculous mid-barrel recovery to avoid a wipeout in Hawaii.
The 11-time world champion surfer fell inside a barrel while competing at the season-ending Pipeline Masters event in Oahu.
But Slater somehow managed to roll back on to his board and popped up into a standing position before squirting out of the barrel — much to the surprise of the American and those watching from the North Shore.
The American raised his arms in disbelief and shook his head at the time, and appeared even more shocked after watching the highlights.
“Well, that was interesting,” Slater wrote on Instagram.
“I thought I just fell straight onto my belly and bodyboarded out.
“Didn’t realise I had to grab for it!”
The 11-time world champion made it through to the semi finals of the Pipeline Masters, losing to Australian Julian Wilson. (Supplied: Tony Heff/ World Surf League)
Medina edges Wilson for world title
Sunshine Coast surfer Julian Wilson was pipped to his first world crown by Brazil’s Gabriel Medina.
Medina needed only to finish first or second to claim his second championship, and dispatched South African Jordy Smith in the semi final.
The Brazilian, who was also world champion in 2014, ensured he would end the two-year reign of Hawaiian John John Florence.
Medina, who had scored a rare 10 in his quarter-final, made the most of perfect conditions at Pipeline to secure 9.10 on his best ride to give him a two-wave total of 16.27.
Needing a 7.78 to get in front of the Brazilian, South African Jordy Smith waited anxiously for one more wave to arrive but never got his chance as time ran out leaving him on 15.83.
“This means a lot to me,” Medina said in a beachside interview after being mobbed by fans as he emerged from the surf.
“I put in a lot of work this year. It was an intense year, everything paid off. I can’t find words at the moment.
“I’m so happy to win it again, go Brazil!”
Australian surfer Julian Wilson missed out on claiming his maiden world title. (Supplied: World Surf League/ Ed Sloane)
Wilson is still a chance of repeating his 2014 efforts in winning the event, having knocked Slater out in the semi finals and progressing into the decider against Medina.
The season-ending event also proved the end of the career of Australian surfer Joel Parkinson.
The 2012 world champion announced his retirement from competitive surfing in July, saying he had ‘no more fire or desire to win’, and was eliminated in the fourth round by Wilson and Brazil’s Yago Dora.
Joel Parkinson retired from competitive surfing after being knocked out in the fourth round in Hawaii. (Supplied: Tony Heff/ World Surf League)