World Titles are no small feat but from a fan’s perspective, they can come in somewhat anticlimactic form from time to time. Think of all the scenarios on both the men’s and women’s tours that a champ has been crowned with one or more events left. It feels like calling the Stanley Cup Playoffs an exhibition after handing over the President’s Trophy. Competition breeds drama, and without competition or high stakes, there is a supreme shortage it.
Steph Gilmore was very close to wrapping up her seventh World Title in France this week, which would have made late November’s Beachwaver Maui Pro nothing more than a victory lap. But thanks to a Round 3 upset loss to Courtney Conlogue, the 2018 women’s World Title will be decided on the Tour’s final stop.
Lakey Peterson, who’s been sitting at second place on the Jeep Leaderboard, had a window to close some ground in the tour points total but lost in Round 3 as well.
“That was definitely a chance for me to get into a really good position heading into Hawaii and I kind of felt like the chips would fall into place right now,” Peterson said. “Honestly I’m just disappointed in my surfing. I haven’t been able to surf a lot these last few days. I’ve been a little bit sick and I think I let a couple things get in my head. It’s cool that I’m still in the race and that it’s going to Hawaii. I’m going to go home and rest up. It’s been a little hectic recently and I need a little breather.”
Ultimately, the upsets in France just set up a suddenly very-watchable final event between Gilmore and Peterson as they take the title chase down to the wire:
– Gilmore will win the World Title with a third or better at the Beachwaver Maui Pro.
– If Gilmore finishes fifth or worse, Peterson must win the event to force a surf-off* for the World Title.