Gabriel Medina won the competition, but surfing legend Kelly Slater gained enough points to secure his 11th world title. Slater took the crown after a scoring error led to the premature announcement of his achievement six days before he actually won.
On Friday, I asked Mark Lukach, associate editor at our news associate The Ocean Beach Bulletin, what the significance of Slater winning the title would be.
"Kelly Slater is already a 10-time world champion," Lukach said. "The closest surfer behind him has won four world championships and a couple of guys have won three. It further cements how incredibly dominant he is. Not to mention the fact that he's 39 years old. For the same guy to keep doing it over and over again over a 20-year span is really exceptional."
Read Lukach's post about the final day at Rip Curl, including some notes on the "Local Expression Session."
A noteworthy local highlight of the event was the Local Expression Session contest that preceded the final surf heat between Medina and Parkinson. For 20 minutes, 16 Ocean Beach surfers hunted down waves to impress the judges, with the winner primed to take home a $1,000 check from camera manufacturer GoPro.
The local surfers put on an impressive show, clad in the same brightly-colored jerseys that the world’s best had been wearing throughout the week. In the final moments of the 20-minute heat, Nathan McCarthy found himself on a left that rocketed him into first place and victory in the Local Expression Session.