Best Heats of 2012

The top World Tour heats of the year

| posted on December 30, 2012

Despite a second place finish, Tahiti was anything but easy for 2012 World Champion Joel Parkinson. Photo: Joli

We’ll remember 2012 as the year Joel Parkinson overcame Mick Fanning and Kelly Slater to win his maiden World Title. Over the course of ten months, surf fans witnessed a new generation of World Title candidates emerge, while the veterans reigned supreme, again. It was a year when J-Bay was missed, while Fiji was welcomed back. Here are the 10 best World Tour heats of 2012:

1. Mick Fanning vs. Joel Parkinson, Final, Billabong Pro Tahiti.
Sitting on a total heat score of 18.37 with just over 12 minutes remaining, Joel Parkinson looked like he was well on his way to his first win of the year. However, in the span of eight minutes Mick Fanning earned a 9.50 and a 9.37 to defeat Parko and secure the No. 1 ranking at the time.

Click on image to watch video.

2. Kelly Slater vs. CJ Hobgood, Semifinals, Volcom Pro Fiji.
Needing a good score to overtake CJ Hobgood, Kelly Slater earned a perfect 10 on what was one of the best waves ever ridden at Cloudbreak. Minutes later, Slater backed up his 10 with a 9.5, putting CJ in a combo-situation he would never surmount.

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3. Kelly Slater vs. Shane Dorian, Quarterfinals, Billabong Pipe Masters.
After Joel Parkinson defeated CJ Hobgood two heats prior, Kelly Slater needed to overcome wildcard and close friend Shane Dorian to stay in World Title contention. However, Shane couldn’t end Slater’s World Title hopes.

Click on image to watch video. Photo: Noyle/SPL

4. Mick Fanning vs. Kelly Slater, Final, Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach.
Bells Beach isn’t the place where surfers earn perfect 10s for just an air, unless you’re Kelly Slater. Despite what some called Kelly’s best air ever, it wasn’t enough to stop Mick’s flawless rail surfing.

5. Dane Reynolds vs. John Florence, Semifinals, Quiksilver Pro France.
Surfing’s best freesurfer vs. tomorrow’s World Champion; At La Graviere, it was Dane who won, proving he could still compete and win.

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6. Patrick Gudauskas vs. Ace Buchan, Round 2, Rip Curl Pro Portugal.
Needing a big result to stay on Tour, Pat Gudauskas appeared to be on his way to Round 3. But in the final minutes, Ace Buchan earned a 9.3, ending Pat’s Rip Curl Pro campaign.

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7. Joel Parkinson vs. Jordy Smith, Quarterfinals, Hurley Pro at Lowers.
After a disappointing loss in Tahiti, Jordy Smith looked like a favorite to win at Lowers. The heat came down to who had the better rail surfing, so Joel got the nod.

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8. Bede Burbidge vs. Josh Kerr, Round 3, Billabong Pipe Masters.
Nursing an injury he suffered prior to the Pipe Masters, Josh Kerr exchanged waves and the lead with former Pipe Masters champion Bede Durbidge. In the end, Kerr came out on top.

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9. Raoni Monteiro vs. Kai Otton, Round 2, Volcom Fiji Pro.
In the last heat of the day before contest officials deemed it too big for competition, Raoni Monteiro landed on the disabled list for several months. He was injured when he attempted to doggie-door a terrifying end section, which would’ve given him the lead and the win.

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10. Gabriel Medina vs. Taylor Knox, Round 3, O’Neill Cold Water Classic.
When most of his competitors were surfing the Slot, Gabriel Medina used Middle Peak lefts to launch two big airs and earn a last minute heat win.

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Three Most Controversial Heats:

1. Julian Wilson vs. Gabriel Medina, Final, Rip Curl Pro Portugal.
Ask an Australian, a Nike employee, or any one who loves to debate and they’ll tell you Julian Wilson won. Ask every other surf pundit and they’ll say Gabriel Medina won. Either way, Wilson was the last surfer standing on the stage.

2. Joel Parkinson vs. Jeremy Flores, Quarterfinal, Billabong Pro Tahiti.
Commentator Nathan Webster said Parko’s last wave wasn’t enough. Jeremy Flores aggressively voiced his disapproval shortly after on Twitter.

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3. Dusty Payne vs. Kelly Slater, Round 3, O’Neill Cold Water Classic.
Dusty Payne called it one of the best airs he’s ever done. The judges didn’t think it was enough. Slater advanced, increasing his chances at the time for his 12th World Title.

Click on image to watch video.

  • Ben

    Controversy? You forgot Kelly vs. Ace @ France, Jordy vs. Parko @Trestles…. At the end of the day, the world title would likely have been the same close result, though Mick would’ve appeared to be more “in the mix.”

  • Eli Gersten

    Slater’s second scoring ride in his Semi vs. CJ – A 9.5 for that ?! It was a 7 ! It was a medium-length tube ride. Big Wave, but no Big Deal.

    Did the judges carry over some of their feeling about Slater’s 10 to bump up his second scoring score ?

    Note to other readers – forget the Parko-Flores Quarter @ Fiji – unless you want to watch that Sony phone ad OVER and OVER again.

  • http://WebsiteYes Stevo

    You have missed the two terrible heats joel was pushed through at the pipe masters (Semi and quarters). But yeah looks like they may have decided much earlier in the year that it was his turn to win. i love surfing and would love to see it do well but we must admit it’s currently a joke. The judging is pathetic for a top level sport and i can do better. Also the commentating may as well be done by school kids as it is not professional. never understood how you could get by just freesurfing but it is the only kind of surfin that makes sense. Seriously Taj deserves a title so lets give it to him next year regardless of the results just make sure he is in the hunt by the pipe masters then billabong can give it to him. wont be watching but would be good to hear about.

  • Max

    Joel won the pipe masters. The Hobgoods are awesome but Backdoor was firing better and Joel’s 9 point backdoor tube was about twice as long as Damiens best tube. Also Joel finished his rides better and both CJ and Damien didn’t complete a turn after their scoring barrels in the quarter and semi.

    Watch all of Joel’s 2012 pipe heats and nobody except maybe Slater comes close to Joel’s backdoor wraparound cutback and foam re-entry. Joel is so smooth you have to watch the slow-mo to see how radical he is.

  • Ben

    I agree that Joel won Pipe Masters fair and square. IMO Dorian may have beat Slater in their heat as well.

  • burck

    “.. ask any one who loves to debate, and they’ll tell you Julian Wilson won. ” hahaha that says it all! only the love for a debate will put someone on defending julian`s win…
    and what about kelly vs. ace in france?