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Sunday, December 5, 2010
The boys of the bubble

The 2010 ASP season, one that will require several chapters when Jake Howard writes a comprehensive history book about it some day, is coming to a close. Although other happenings this year trumped the whole "transition" year thing, it was still significant.

It's always been a big deal when someone stocks up enough qualifying nuts in their ASP den to get a spot on the elite World Tour, but in some respects, it's even more of an accomplishment this year. Al Hunt recently broke down the situation for pro surfing's current bubble boys.

Hey Josh Kerr, three's a charm.

After winning the O'Neill World Cup of Surfing at Sunset, Raoni Monteiro has slid into that number 29 position, with a good chance of making the tour. Right behind him is Josh Kerr, who has qualified and fallen off twice already in five years.

Trailing Kerr is Floridian, Gabe Kling. Kling is in a unique position from the others because his fate is in his own hands. Kling got the injury wildcard slot earlier this year (which has meant drawing Slater a lot) and will actually surf the Billabong Pipe Masters this week and try to save his position.

Like Monteiro and Kerr, Alejo Muniz and the Julian Wilson (who has been heralded as tour surfer since the junior ranks) have to watch their future unfold from a picnic table at Ehukai Beach Park. The Pipe Masters will ultimately tell who's in and out.

Raoni Monteiro is in a good position after his win at Sunset.

Hunt recently pointed out that all surfers move up one spot with the tragic passing of Andy Irons. He also dropped this science:

"Essentially, there are six surfers hunting four spots with results at the Billabong Pipeline Masters. Travis Logie, Dusty Payne, and Tom Whitaker, need a 9th or better at Pipeline to overtake Wilson, and a 5th or better to overtake Monteiro. Roy Powers and Kai Otton, need a 5th or better at Pipeline to overtake Wilson, and a 3rd or better to overtake Monteiro. Luke Stedman (AUS), 34, needs a 5th or better at Pipeline to overtake Wilson, and a 2nd or better to overtake Monteiro."

There weren't the fates decided at Sunset like in the past. It all comes down to Pipe.