Jimmicane’s Passion Picks: 2014 Billabong Pro Tahiti

ASP passion picks-tahiti2014[1]Jimmicane’s Passion Picks: 2014 Billabong Pro Tahiti

The Elite
Michel Bourez
After he had yet another shocker here last year, I said that I'd never again pick Michel in Tahiti. He puts too much pressure on himself and isn't significantly better than the other elite surfers at Teahupo'o. Then I got drunk with him in Fiji and we talked about this event and what would happen if he won. It made me so happy to think about. This is Passion Picks and I want Michel to win so I'm picking him. Fuck the odds. He's going to do it for his brother, who got severely hurt in the trials just a few days ago.

Kelly Slater
If the forecast looked iffy, I would not be doing this because Kelly is disinterested in competition right now. Partly because he's losing, partly because he's focused on his new company, and mainly because the guy has won so goddamn much and there's nothing left to prove. I still don't think he cares a ton if he wins this event, but there's something magical about surfing perfect Teahupo'o with only one other guy out -- especially when you can remind all surf fans that you're the ultimate badass and we should worship the ground you walk on. Plus, 6th place is no spot for this man to be after seven freaking events.

I'm skeptical of picking...
Gabriel Medina

He's due for one bad result before going into beat-down mode and dominating people on the way to his first World Title. Are you picking against this guy at Lowers, France or Portugal? Didn't think so. I don't doubt him at all at Teahupo’o, but his chances for success are certainly lower here than they are at the next three contests.

The Grinders
John Florence

Josh Kerr
The bigger it is, the better it is for this psycho and the forecast is looking favorable. Some people will put their head down and paddle because there's a pride factor and judgmental internet lurkers are waiting for someone to fuck up so they can release their inner rage in a comment box. Some people will just go because they love it and scary waves loosen a few screws upstairs. Kerr seeks this kind of situation and would probably go to to Tahiti for this swell even if there wasn’t a contest going on. He lives it and that's why he will live on my team.

Owen Wright
It was this event in 2011 when everyone found out Owen is serious. This guy has the athletic ability to do shit most others do not. He has arms like wings and can scrape into the latest drops with ease. I believe he's back and although he won’t be able to challenge for a World Title this year, building some momentum for 2015 is key.

CJ Hobgood
I refuse to have a Teahupo'o team with CJ not listed on my roster. I don't know if his chances are any better than Freddy P, Julian, Seabass or Ace but fantasy surfing is about picking for people you want to root for and I'm going to watch every minute of this contest so I want it to be fun. Remember when he caught the biggest paddle in wave ever here? I'm not sure if that will ever be one-upped.

I'm skeptical of picking...
Alejo Muniz

He’s currently on 0% of teams and I'd hate to pile on, but given the options available in this bracket I wouldn't bet anything you care about on Alejo at Teahupo'o. Then again, he did get one crazy wave here in 2011 so you know he'll go.

The Strugglers and Wilds
Kai Otton
Ottz is a rock solid tube rider and wouldn't be a crazy pick if he was in the Grinders bracket, so you have to give him a shot here.

Brett Simpson
This might actually be Brett's best event on tour although he's had a few bad match-ups in the past couple years. He lost to a freakishly in-tune Jeremy Flores last year, barely lost to John John the year before, and made Quarters in the bombing year of 2011. Brett's chances for re-qualifying through the WCT this year are looking dismal at best, but right now at least make one goddamn heat. No one wants to be in the company of the 2008 Detroit Lions or the 2008 Ricky Basnett. That was a bad year.

I'm skeptical of picking...
Mitch Crews

Mitch can do work in tear-able rights, but there are a lot of guys in the Strugglers bracket that can make heats at Teahupo'o. Raoni's gotten a 10 here before. Aritz surfs Mundaka on the reg. There are crazy left slabs where Dion lives in South Oz. Even Jadson can be a darkhorse at bombing Teahupo'o! Mitch is the one with the most question marks being a rookie, but it's always a roll of the dice in the Strugglers so you never know what might happen. Heat draw plays a big factor.