The 2014 Billabong Rio Pro is the last piece of a WCT trifecta of average surf. Margaret River, Bells and Brazil all in a row? That's pretty brutal. Still, it's a WCT event and it means we get to watch the best surfers in the world go at it. —Jimmicane
Last year, girls were so obsessed with this kid that they would break out in tears every time he came into their range of vision. That is psycho shit. The type of thing that only happens to Justin Bieber and Gabriel Medina. Both the most polarizing figures in their respective genres. Imagine what girls will do this year now that Gabs is coming in leading the ratings? I predict at least five Brazzo chicks faint in clear view of the webcast. If he wins, expect that number to double.
Adriano De Souza
I tried not to make this team too Brazilian heavy, but what the hell? If you look at recent history, Adriano always makes at least the quarters. Sure, one of those times was floatergate and we all know that was bullshit, but you've seen the judging this year. Has it improved any since 2011? Questionable. Give this video another watch. It's hilarious.
I'm skeptical of picking…
Kelly doesn't seem to freesurf much. I see him surf less warm-up sessions than anyone else by a large margin. Maybe he's sneaking down the coast and finding waves to himself? He's a sneaky dude, but go down to the beach at 5:00am every morning during one of these events and I guarantee you'll see Mick Fanning. I guarantee you'll see John John. I double guarantee you'll see Adriano. The only person missing on a regular basis is Kelly. At age 42, that's sketchy and it could be part of the reason why he hasn't looked as on-point this year. I'm sure when the waves get good he'll go straight back to beast-mode, but in small, wonky beach break it's a little bit of a risk.
This is an obvious choice. He won here last year and is on a demolition derby when it comes to beating the living shit out of waves. Did he get screwed down at Bells against Julian? Definitely, but at the same time, Julian's highest score happened under Jordy's priority. He's undoubtedly the worst user of priority on tour. Possibly the worst in history. He’s managed to fuck priority up at every single event in 2014 so far. The only way to make up for past mistakes is getting back on the podium in Rio.
Miggy is quietly having an insane year on tour and looks better than ever. Not that he has a weakness in tubing left reefs or pointbreak rights, but I've been waiting for a beachbreak to finally get him into Passion Picks.
If a tree falls in the forest and no one posts it on Instagram, does it make a sound? If that tree is named Jonathan Florence, it certainly does. I know the world is in the dark about what's going on with John and his web edit drought. The guy tends to keep things pretty secretive but let me tell you, the footage is there and it'll be worth however long you have to wait to watch it. I've seen enough to know, and I won't be left with him on the bench while his roll continues at the place of his first and only WCT win.
Previously, I've been one of the harshest critics of the Werewolf's rail game. I’ll go ahead and admit to being wrong. This kid is improving his surfing faster than anyone on tour. Check out his turns from a year ago — a joke compared to now. The jury is still out on a few things, namely backside tube riding, but with the potential to drop a 10 on any single section that comes his way, I like Filipe's chances.
I'm skeptical of picking…
I genuinely like Kolohe and can see from a distance that he is not in the greatest place right now. Just for shits, I'm going to play psychiatrist for a minute…
From the looks of it, Kolohe has lost confidence in his surfing and spends too much time harping on it because he so badly wants to improve. My recommendation would be lose the overbearing seriousness of his support crew and add a prescription for at least two doses of fun per day. Side effects include traveling the world with friends, trying airs, and stacking a shitload of Benjamins. If it doesn't work, oh well, at least you enjoyed it more.
The Strugglers and Wilds
The time has passed where you can sneak a John John onto your team in the Strugglers bracket. It's evened out and is now filled only with frowns. But there was a time in 2010 where one of those frowns turned upside down. Jadson Andre won the WCT at Santa Catarina by beating Kelly Slater in the final! For that reason alone it's worth giving him a go.
Why is it not allowing me to pick Glen Hall? I'm hoping this bug is fixed by the time the event starts. Micro ain't scared of shit. You see what he did to Michel Bourez coming off that win in West Oz? Sent him packing with a last place result and ended the life of a Firewire. For a moment you might've even thought he had a chance to slay Kelly. Glenny made Round 5 here last year before eventually falling to Jordy. If anyone from the Strugglers can make it to Round 5 , beers are on me in Fiji!
I'm skeptical of picking…
55% of you have him on your team for Rio. Flores tweeted right before Bells, "Just a heads up: For all you fantasy surfers out there I have been kooking it hard" and he was not lying. Has the Frenchy gotten things figured out since then? I doubt it. The guy has a surfboard problem. You'll always see him riding other people's boards like Kelly Slater or Lisa Anderson's — that means he ain't happy with his own sleds and that's a problem.