Brazil have quietly, albeit not subtly, been taking over the WSL for quite some time now. It should come as absolutely no surprise however. The sheer determination and win at all costs nature is ingrained in every Brazilian surfer on the tour. Gabriel Medina is a cold, calculated machine who is unstoppable on his day, Felipe Toledo forever just one ramp away from aerial obliteration, and despite now being out of title contention, Italo Ferreira can and will cause an upset.
Most of the surfing world have refused to accept that the South American's have been steadily dominating the WSL since 2014 when Gabriel Medina became the first Brazilian champion. Adriano de Souza continued that with a title win the following year. The only thing to slow down complete domination is of course John John Florence, and his back to back title wins.
Brazilians have won all but two events this year. Julian Wilson has been the only other non-Brazilian winner this season. This level of dominance hasn't happened for sometime and unsurprisingly has never happened outside the usual suspects of Australian or American nationalities.
Can Julian Wilson save surfing for the Australians? Sitting in second place, the outlook looks bleak with Medina honing in on his second world title, which would match the title haul of this year's absentee; John John Florence. The only way Wilson can return home with the title is if Medina crashes out at the semi finals and Wilson wins the event. Or Medina would have to finish 5th or worse and Julian would still have to make the finals. It really is Medina's title to lose.
If there was to be a fly or two in the champagne, it could be Slater and Florence. Pipe is undoubtedly their favourite event on tour, and on their day are untouchable. It wouldn't be too much of a shock if either of them take a break from their rehab to blow up Pipe and ruin the dreams of at least three surfers.
Medina is dangerous at Pipe, he lost to Wilson in the final of 2014 but still won the World Title. The following year he made the final yet again, but lost to that year's World Champion de Souza. It all comes down to the final event, and even if Wilson could sneak an upset on Medina, he still has to contend with Felipe Toledo. Whatever the outcome in Hawaii, the Brazilian's will continue to dominate the WSL for the foreseeable future.