Will we see more of this? Yes, yes we will. Photo: Brent Bielmann
I Can't Believe It's Not Winter™.
If you were to look at NPAC swell models, you'd be sure to say it was late January, maybe early Feb. Blob after blob of purpley goodness are tracking their way along the Aleutian Islands, sending wonderful NW swell to Hawaii and eastward. All this swell got the SURFING staff thinking about the Hawaiian season, and all that crazy things that could happen this year (blood, beers, tears!). We collectively brainstormed and decided upon these 10 predictions for 2016/2017 Hawaiian season.
1. Albee will win the backside 540 duel, on camera.
Sorry John, but you've got a title to win; we can't have you wasting that opportunity by blowing out your ankles and knees. And while you're keeping it cruisey, Mr. Layer will be on Maui spin-spin-spinning til his head falls off. And one of these times it's gonna stick. Granted he’s already (allegedly) landed one, but we’re talking on camera.
2. Kanoa finishes perfect rookie season with a 13th at Pipe, takes the last slot on tour.
We just can't get over the Kanoa Igarashi phenomenon. Nine contests surfed, zero last place finishes. The only other two surfers without a 25th are Gabby and John – the two guys currently vying for a world title. We're thinking Kanoa will get another result in Portugal and by sheer will he'll acquire that 13th at Pipe and requalify, despite the fact that his Pipe result won’t factor in.
3. Keanu will solidify his spot on tour with gladiator performance at Pipe.
You simply can't win a tour event and fall off in the same year, right? Mathematically you can, but Keanu doesn't believe in numbers as an objective reality, rather as a barrier meant to be broken. He will lose early in Portugal but save his ass with another clutch Pipe performance.
Da boiiii. He’ll make it happen. Photo: DJ Struntz
4. There will be drone wars at Pipeline, prompting aerial pecking order.
Drones are getting out of control, and unlike in water photography, there are no set parameters for who can film when and where. It's likely this year we'll see some drone crashes, leading to drone fights, leading to a new drone conglomerate called Da Heli regulating who can and cannot fly along the 7 Mile Miracle.
5. Zeke will win at Sunset.
Speaking of qualification, that Ezekiel Lau needs to be on the CT. He currently sits at 11th on the QS – just outside "the bubble". Despite this, Zeke's power and bravery make him an absolute beast in Hawaii, and we see him winning the World Cup of Surfing (like he did in 2013) and making the big leagues all in one fell swoop.
6. Jack Robinson will win WOTW.
This kid is something special. He reminds us of a previously tall, blonde-haired, stanky-legged grom that we now call World Number One. Jack likes big barrels and he's not afraid to wait for them. Remember the second reef roll-in he got last year? Consider that a precursor to the best wave of his life, this winter.
7. Evan G will get a Pipe bomb… in a helmet.
Did you forget that Evan Geiselman almost died at Pipeline last year? This kind of accident isn't something you can just brush off. It's almost inevitable that the Floridian will lose sleep the night before a good Pipe swell in 2016. But we'd bet our bottom dollar that when that wave comes to him, he'll turn and burn like never before. Gath helmet and all.
All smiles despite a near-death sentence. Photo: Brent Bielmann.
8. Eric G will get a sea urchin in his left foot.
If you thought Evan's near drowning was bad, you’ll find Eric's future sea-urchin-infested-left-foot mildly disconcerting. Four prongs total, one in the pinky toe. Eric will be biting the pillow as SURFING's Hawaiian liaison Beau Flemister fumbles around his sole with a rusty pair of tweezers. Peter Taras will Facebook Live the entire ordeal.
9. Kai Otton retires after making quarters at Pipe, huge party ensues.
And we mean huge. If Aussie goofy-foots are good at two things, it's getting really tubed and really hammered. Expect half of the CT to wake up with future children and without eyebrows.
10. Kelly won't quit.
The man just ain't done yet. We're not sure what it's going to be, but when Slater's ready he will go out with a bang… just not this year. The 63-year-old still has some tricks up his wizard sleeve, and we can't wait to see what's next.