Fanning goes into the tenth and final event of the year 368 points clear of Parkinson, knowing that if he finishes at least second in Oahu, Hawaii, he will be crowned world champion for the second time no matter how his close friend and rival performs.
The championship leader, who has won three of the last four events, had this to say: "It's been a few years since the ASP Title has come down to Pipe and I'm really stoked that it's between myself and Joel. I guess it's like a dream come true coming down to Pipeline and I'm really excited. There isn't going to be any sand on the reef and hopefully we get a couple of really good days."
"It's like a dream come true coming down to Pipeline; I'm really excited." - Mick Fanning
Parkinson had made an impressive start to the season only to sustain an ankle injury while training in Bali, allowing Fanning to overtake him in the overall standings. And, having just claimed an emphatic win at Sunset Beach, Parko will be out to maintain his winning momentum and draw upon his preternatural affinity with the wave at Pipeline as he looks to seal his maiden ASP title.
Parkinson, who is also out to defend his Vans Triple Crown Title, said: "It's definitely exciting to see the ASP title come down to Pipe. Mick was in form all throughout Sunset and I feel like I'm in form as well; it's going to be a great match-up. After losing Haleiwa in the quarter-finals, I thought I'd have to win Sunset and my focus wasn't 100 percent on the Triple Crown anymore, it was more on Pipe, but now that I've won Sunset I'd love to win the Vans Triple Crown again."
Here are the various scenarios for the destiny of the title:
- If Fanning finishes between ninth and 33rd at Pipeline, Parkinson needs 3rd or higher to overtake.
- If Fanning finishes 5th, Parkinson needs a top-two finish.
- If Fanning finishes 3rd, Parkinson must win the season-finale.
- If Fanning finishes in the top two, he will win the 2009 ASP World Title.
The action will be webcast on the Billabong Pipeline Masters' site as well as on triplecrownofsurfing.
For more information, go to Red Bull's surfing website.