Shea’s Fantasy Picks for Pipe

Shea Lopez picks his Pipeline team for the last event of the season

The stage is set. Who will take home the title at Pipe? Photo: Noyle
The stage is set. Who will take home the World Title at Pipe? Photo: Noyle

As the 2015 season comes to a close and the collective focus of the surfing world shifts toward Pipeline, we’re left with a bevy of World Title scenarios and a solid near-term forecast. The early rounds of the event are sure to pack fireworks as competitors gunning for requalification stare down World Title contenders. As a venue, Pipe is our coliseum, and the World Tour surfers are our gladiators. To do well here, you’ll have to be ferocious, calculating, and ready to push yourself over the ledge. It’s this mindset that has set the tone for my Fantasy team.

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Wiggoly Dantas
Market Price: $4,750,000
While he hails from Brazil, Wiggoly has been a fixture on the North Shore for years. Having surfed with him during his younger days, I can say with confidence that he is as talented out in the lineup at Pipeline as any other surfer in the event and bodes well to do some damage when the comp unfolds.

Italo Ferreira
Market Price: $7,750,000
Throughout this season, Italo has continued to impress me with his smart-yet-committed approach to his heats—all of this as a rookie, no less. The Pipeline Masters is another golden opportunity for him to solidify his already-formidable reputation on the tour.

Dusty Payne
Market Price: $3,000,000
Dusty’s boys from Maui just made history at the Jaws big-wave event. It’s scary to think that Dusty is the most talented of the bunch. What he does with all that talent has often been a wonder in competitions the world over, but not at Pipe. Dusty brings it all to the table here and I look forward to seeing him take down some big names.

Josh Kerr
Market Price: $7,500,000
Kerr is a certifiable madman when it comes to positioning himself in critical parts of critical waves—all with an almost ridiculous sense of confidence. His proven ability at Pipeline and at waves of consequence the world over make him a favorite year after year.

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Kelly Slater
Market Price: $10,000,000
With a mixed plate of responsibilities before him, Kelly has been preoccupied as a World Title slipped beyond his reach this year. However, I’m keeping the faith. Kelly loves to surf for scalps and fulfillment. I pity the Word Title contender who comes across the king in the draw.

John Florence
Market Price: $6,250,000
John has taken his performance along the North Shore to new and previously unseen levels. Although not technically in the World Title race, everyone else is in a race to keep up with him.

Owen Wright
Market Price: $9,250,000
When conditions tip into that that uncomfortable zone, Owen is able to use his superior fitness and massive frame to command lineups and toy with waves. A Pipe Masters title is in his future.

Bruce Irons
Market Price: $1,500,000
There are plenty of us who recall the days when Bruce dominated and laughed in the face of Pipeline and his competition—all before he could drive. The more things change, the more they stay the same. There’s an overwhelming wish in the surf world for Bruce to put on a show out at Pipe and represent the Irons family name.