This edition of Passion Picks is dedicated to Andre Botha. That man is a hero and I still can’t fathom how he managed to save Evan Geiselman’s life. Seriously incredible stuff. That’s the most important thing right now, but we do have a crazy World Title race and a pumping swell for the start of the event. Let’s hope everyone stays safe and I get rich playing Fantasy Grudge. –Jimmicane
Kelly Slater ($15,750)
The only constant in this world is change, but Kelly Slater doesn’t give a shit. He’s still the king of Pipeline and not even John Florence can touch him. Despite a shocking 13th on his record (2014), Slater’s averaged 4.6th place over the past five years, the best of anyone on tour. No one is talking about it, but could this be his last full-time year on tour? Or maybe just wait for April Fools Day again?
Nat Young ($15,500)
I’ll admit Nat is a bit of a risk here, but after hanging with him leading up to the event, I just get the feeling this chief is in the fuckin zone. He’s zero percent bullshit. This is a business trip and his business is getting really barreled and making a shit ton of money.
Joel Parkinson ($9,000)
It’s strange to see Joel this cheap heading into Pipe. Although he doesn’t give me a ton of confidence like years before, still a solid option here with potential to make the finals in any conditions.
John John Florence ($8,000)
This man could spell the death of my Fantasy Grudge account if he lays another egg. I’ve invested a lot of money on John over the past few events with mostly crap results. In two out of the past three events, he’s been eliminated by Glenn Hall and Keanu Asing. Stop and think about that for a second. It can’t continue.
Sebastian Zietz ($5,000)
The bad news is, Seabass must improve two positions in the rankings to qualify, while also not getting jumped by anyone (other than CJ Hobgood). The good news is he’s surfed this event three times and has two 5th and a 9th.
CJ Hobgood ($5,000)
There isn’t a chance in hell CJ’s off my team in his final CT event ever. Especially being the Pipe Masters. End of story.
Dusty Payne ($3,000)
Dusty needs to win the contest to re-qualify and that actually might not be good enough. He’s probably better off blowing our minds with his freesurfing and leaving the WSL behind for good. Either way, he needs to step up and win a few heats.
Bruce Irons ($1,500)
Depending on who surfs through the trials, there’s a chance I will change this pick before the event starts. I do have more confidence in Bruce than anytime in the past 6 years, but that’s not saying much. The positive is, he’s been surfing. No one over the age of 30 can paddle out after not surfing for a while and kill it. If it’s pumping, there’s a real chance for success. Wouldn’t that be a story!