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Slater, Parkinson, Fanning- Who Takes Out The ASP World Title?

After all three exited early in California, the world title remains a race between Joel Parkinson, Kelly Slater and Mick Fanning.

The surfing world title is up for grabs after Australian Joel Parkinson blew a fantastic opportunity to nab his maiden championship when he was eliminated before the semi-finals of the ASP event in Santa Cruz, California on Tuesday.

Fellow Australian Mick Fanning and American Kelly Slater were also eliminated leaving the title open to one of the three at Pipeline in December, the final event of the season in Hawaii.

Fanning and Slater have a combined 13 world titles and along with Parkinson are the only three with a chance at the crown, however Parkinson goes into Pipeline leading the championship standings despite losing ground to Slater in California and having not won an event all season long. Parkinson has collected 53,900 points, while Slater (50,700) and Fanning (47,000) trail by a small amount.

The championship system, which allows surfers to drop their two worst results, saw Slater sneak a little closer towards Parkinson’s position despite failing to reach the Santa Cruz quarter-finals.

"I haven't looked at the numbers, but funny enough, I gained a couple thousand points," Slater said. "It's a huge opportunity lost for Joel (Parkinson)."

All three will benefit from seeding advantage, which allows them entrance into the third round and guarantees a finish no worse than 13th, the equivalent of 1750 points.

Surf.co.nz provided this detailed breakdown of title possibilities:

If Parkinson finishes 13th, 9th or 5th at the Billabong Pipe Masters:
- Slater needs a 5th or higher to take the 2012 ASP World Title.
- Fanning needs to win at Pipeline to take the 2012 ASP World Title.*
*Contingent upon Slater finishing 5th or Lower at Pipeline.

If Parkinson finishes Equal 3rd at the Billabong Pipe Masters:
- Slater needs a 3rd or higher to take the 2012 ASP World Title.
- Fanning needs to win at Pipeline to take the 2012 ASP World Title.*
*Contingent upon Slater finishing 5th or Lower at Pipeline.

If Parkinson finishes 2nd at the Billabong Pipe Masters:
- Slater needs to win at Pipeline to take the 2012 ASP World Title.
- Fanning cannot win the 2012 ASP World Title.

The Santa Cruz event was a battle between to other Australians, Taj Burrow and Matt Wilkinson, with the tour veteran Burrows claiming his second event win of the year in a final which featured some nice two metre waves.

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Follow Robert White on Twitter @RobertWhitebrrr.