The WSL has announced that The Billabong Pipe Masters will most likely kickoff tomorrow in surf expected to peak with 8-12′ faces. With a stacked list of local specialists in the trials and a three-way title race on the line, there’s bound to be drama at the final stop on the 2018 Championship Tour. For the title scenarios between Gabriel Medina, Julian Wilson and Filipe Toledo, click here.
In the meantime, below are the top picks from SURFER's editorial staff’s Fantasy Surfer teams. There's still time for those last minute changes should you feel the need. Let us know who you think will win the Pipe Masters and who will be crowned the 2018 World Champion in the comments.
A Trialist from Hawaii
No offense to the ‘CT surfers, but I'm way more comfortable picking a trialist to win this contest than a 'CT guy this year. I'll take Nathan Florence, Koa Rothman, Barron Mamiya, Mason Ho, Josh Moniz to disrupt masters like Kelly Slater or Parko. – Pete Taras, Digital Director
I don’t really want to pick Gabby. Not that I don’t like him or his surfing. It just feels a little expected. A little inevitable. I’d rather pick Julian, just for the sake of a little something different. But then, there’s that inevitability of Gabby’s. He can raise his game whenever he needs to, and he can surf Pipe. Julian might be a little better at Pipe, and I’d definitely pick him if I knew for sure it’d be at Backdoor, but Gabby just seems to have a competitive gear that nobody else will match. If I was betting, and I’m definitely not, my money would be on Gabby. – Justin Housman, Features Editor
He's the dark horse in this three-way title race. The most harshest criticism from competitive surfing fans has been Toledo’s lack of performance in waves of consequences. Along with the potential to win his first title, I think Toledo will channel that energy from the haters and won’t hesitate to hurl himself over the vertical ledge of some angry Pipeline beasts (if any show for the event). I wouldn't be surprised if Toledo hucks some airs just shy of sending himself into orbit after getting spat out of some deep tubes for some of those classic "Holy Toledo!" moments. – Ben Waldron, Online Editor
This is so tough to choose, but I firmly believe Julian can bring home the Pipe Masters win and take the World Title in the process if Pipe is properly pumping. He has both Backdoor and Pipe dialed, and has performed well at both in the past. Also, Dad power is a real thing– he wants to win for his family. Now, this will not come easily and Julian will certainly have to bring his A-game if he wants to take the title away from Medina. I want to see both Gabby and Julian bring the best and worst (lest we forget Gabby snaking Kelly last year) in each other. I want to see a battle. I want to see the Godzilla vs. Mothra, Rocky Balboa vs. Ivan Drago, Kelly vs. Flat-Earthers of Pipeline title battles. –Adam Jara, Social Media Manager