Jimmicane’s Passion Picks: Billabong Pipeline Masters

The Picks

It’s been a pretty mellow season on the North Shore thus far. No reports of surfer kidnappings, house raids, false cracks or other scary moments. Nope, all we've gotten is the typical stolen boards trick and the ASP judges house getting TP'd (as in, doused with toilet paper). –Jimmicane

Kelly Slater
I love Mick, and odds are he wins his 3rd World Title next week, but odds also favor Kelly doing better in this particular event and giving Fanning one hell of a scare. Still, Kelly has surprisingly only won the Pipe Masters once in the past decade (2008, in brown water against Wardo). His truly dominant years at Pipe were in the early stages of his career. Some might say that means he's due, and it would certainly surprise no one if Slater took this event and his 12th silver cup. No matter what, we are in for a great show on surfing's biggest stage and should all be thankful that it was not decided in Portugal.

Josh Kerr

The man who ended Slater's dreams of #12 last year continuously proves it wasn't a fluke. Kerrzy is sneaky good at both Pipe and Backdoor. He carries a hefty price tag on this fantasy team but with the swell forecast being slightly more north, you need to think about who’s going to do well in rights. Backdoor isn't the nicest of waves to most goofy footers. It is very nice to Josh Kerr.

Nat Young

I started the year with Nat on here and I'm damn sure gonna end it that way. He’s the greatest surfer in the history of Santa Cruz at the young age of 22 and I hope you've already seen his Wave of the Winter entry from Black Friday. It's only his first Pipe Masters but Nat has nailed a 10 in the Volcom Pipe Pro. The kid has a knack for being in the right spot in any lineup around the world and when the Pipe playing field is cleared of that pesky crowd, look for the ROY to stamp an exclamation point on his banner ASP season.

Jonathan Florence

Enough beating around the bush. It's time for John to take what is rightfully his: The first of many Pipe Masters. This contest will likely be renamed after John John someday. Watch for Mick to become John's biggest fan, possibly even massaging him before heats, as a matchup against Slater is almost inevitable.

Gabriel Medina

I just can't deny it after watching him yesterday. Gabs has to be on my team. He was out at Insanities and caught every single wave, making impossible barrels. Other pro surfers along that stretch looked like scrubs compared to him. The overlapping heat format for Pipe Masters favors this hell-raiser more than anyone. I don't doubt he'll have his opposition in combo-land before they even get into the priority half of their heat.

Damien Hobgood

Only a week ago, we were imagining the benefits of Damo being off tour and hunting more legendary video segments with Joe G. After a 2nd place result at Sunset, chances are we'll see him grabbing another singlet at Snapper come early March. Damo only has to make three heats. Not a lock by any means, but unfortunately for Mitch Coleborn, it's pretty damn likely he will.

Shane Dorian

Dorian gave good friend Kelly a run for his money last year in the Quarters, trading off lengthy Backdoor shacks. He is undeniably biggest badass in surfing and I'd be an asshole not to have him on this team.

Zeke Lau

Zeke is currently tied for 1st in the Triple Crown with Michel Bourez. Seems like Michel is constantly in the race, but this is Zeke’s year. He’s the new Sunny Garcia and this will be the first time he claims a crown. This is what's expected of you when you live in the top floor of the Volcom house where Bruce used to reign.

Who not to pick:

Since the top seeded guys are automatically seeded into the 3rd round, it sure makes it easier knowing they can't lose super early. Definitely want to stack your team with those guys and then cherry pick the wildcards who can do damage.

High seed:
Adriano Desouza

In all his years on tour, I cannot remember him ever making an impact at Pipe.

Medium seed:

Filipe Toledo

I keep my distance in anything that might force him to pig dog. Airs aren't gonna win you any heats out here, not even Filipe airs.

Wildcards/Low seed:

Bruce Irons

A few years ago I would've never guessed I'd be doubting Bruce at Pipeline, but at this point it's simply not wise to bet on him succeeding in any kind of surf competition. He does have Raoni in the first round so if there's such thing as a winnable heat, that’s it.