Over the years, the Pipe Masters has played host to a slew of world title showdowns. As the waiting period approaches, surf fans from across the world are on edge as we approach another nail-biting, world-title-deciding event. As a young prodigy from Brazil, Gabriel Medina will be looking to withstand late surges from seasoned veteran world champions Kelly Slater and Mick Fanning. If he can pull it off, Medina would bring home the world title for the first time to Brazil. When I pick my Fantasy Surfer team before every event I usually go with a combination of surfers who have the potential to surf the best, and who have been performing the best in recent events. Here are eight surfers that I feel are prepared to do damage to the field and the world title outcome:
Market Price: $5,000,000
Flying the flag for Hawaii, Freddy is lethal when presented with opportunity to perform in epic conditions at Pipeline. He's also willing to dig into the rights at Backdoor, where a lot of heats are won.
Market Price: $5,250,000
After a tumultuous season where results and waves were difficult to locate, Pipeline would be a great place to begin rebuilding the confidence needed to compete for a world title in 2015.
Market Price: $5,000,000
Finding the flow that works best for you in competition is paramount to reaching your potential. Sebastian has varied his approach to competition so far in his career with mixed results. Knowing the waves at Pipeline well, Sebastian should have an easier time fitting all he has to offer into a 30-minute heat.
Market Price: $5,750,000
Since his early teens, Owen has been catching waves at Pipeline with the greatest of confidence and remarkable poise. Like Freddy, the bigger and better Pipe gets for the event, the greater the chance he has of becoming this year's Pipe Master.
Market Price: $8,250,000
When Michel surfs a heat in large, challenging surf, certain waves come to him that most competitors wisely let go for various, and obvious, reasons. This 10s-or-2s-style of surfing makes for some tremendously entertaining spectating that keeps me tuning into his heats event after event.
Market Price: $1,500,000
Momentum comes and goes during a career. With the volatile nature of Dusty’s surfing not always leading to consistent results, he can be hard to gauge. But when Dusty does connect with an event, the rest of the field is forced to raise their surfing to match his level.
John John Florence
Market Price: $10,000,000
When John stopped surfing to win heats and began surfing heats to win, it began looking like a world title in 2015 was as likely as a Pipe Master's victory in 2014.
Market Price: $11,750,000
It should be very interesting to see how far Kelly will rise to keep his hopes of a 12th world title alive as competes against one of the most talented fields he has ever faced. But Kelly's always shown us—particularly at Pipe—that victory is always within his reach.
Pick your Fantasy Surfer team now.
Note: Shea Lopez' picks are based upon what he purchased surfers for earlier in the season, many of whom have increased in market value since. That'll explain why it adds up to more than a cool $50 million.