Jimmicane’s Passion Picks: Oi Rio Pro

WSL passion picks-rio2015Jimmicane’s Passion Picks for the 2015 Oi Rio Pro.

This event was sponsor-less up until just a few weeks ago when Oi, the largest telecommunications company in South America, decided to step in and support. My only request from Oi is to make a watchable commercial in the short time they had to prepare. That nightmare of a commercial from Moche (another telecommunications company) during the Portugal ‘CT last year still haunts me.

The Elite
Filipe Toledo

Seriously how can you go against this kid right now? He's on another damn level. Need a refresher? Take a look at the last time Filipe competed in Brazil. He didn't just beat people, it was cold-blooded murder. I just feel sorry for Gabriel Medina because he's been swagger-jacked only months after winning Brazil's first World Title. Toledo Fever is in the air!

Taj Burrow

There's something about expecting a child that lights a fire under your ass. I barely know Taj but can already see it happening. At 36, he's the second oldest man on tour, yet he's now a man on a mission. Of course we'll have to be careful and watch for signs of "Dad Bod" developing, in which case he will go straight to the bench.

Maybe you should consider...

Adriano de Souza
I thought long and hard about this one but in the end decided not to throw him on my team. After looking over the past 4 years of results, it's solid. 9th, 2nd, 5th, 1st. Sure the win came in unison with floatergate, but for an event that's basically a crapshoot, Adriano shows solid consistency. Unfortunately, Passion Picks doesn't give a shit about consistency. And of course, his dream run is bound to end at some point. Maybe it's unlikely to think it ends in Brazil, but I want a good title race and Adriano is currently in the way of that by doing too well.

The Grinders
Gabriel Medina

I've heard some pretty crazy rumors about Gabby enjoying his fame a little too much. Maybe now that Filipe has stolen some of his thunder Medina will motivate and bounce back to his winning ways. Plus, the guy has still never won a CT on his home soil. That has to be irking the hell out of him.

Kelly Slater

It's all about availability here. You'd have to assume Kelly won't stay out of the Elite bracket for long. Even though I don't love his small wave prowess compared to a number of surfers on tour these days, he's still a magician when it comes to negotiating a lineup and getting barreled. Highly doubt he will win the event but putting up some big heat totals and making the quarters is almost automatic.

Jordy Smith

I'll be a little sketched on this choice if it's mostly barrels, but remembering his win in 2013 is forcing Jordy back on Passion Picks. Those claims! Those airs! Repeat please, minus the wheelie double grab.

Jadson Andre

Remember Jadson's first year on tour? Probably not, but I'm here to tell you he won Santa Catarina in 2010 by beating Slater in the most Cocoa Beach-esque conditions in history. It was impressive and after watching him win two Primes the past two years as well as final in France, I'll take a chance on old Jaddie at a beach break.

Maybe you should consider...
Sebastian Zeitz

You wouldn't initially think that this is Sebass' cup of tea, but he's snuck into the quarterfinals twice in his two years on tour. It makes sense after watching him pick off gems on the shittiest days ever at Off The Wall every winter. We've got a legitimate dark horse here.

The Strugglers and Wildcards
Kolohe Andino

A pretty obvious selection after finishing runner up in 2014, his best result on the CT so far. But really I just like his surfing. I like his style, I like his attitude, and I like his patriotism. It's been a real struggle the past three events, which is why he's in the Strugglers Bracket, but this is where it all turned around for Brother last year and I expect more of the same.

Matt Banting

If you can dominate on the QS, you better take advantage when it shows up as a CT venue because we're about to get into the "Dream" portion of the tour with Fiji and Tahiti. It's highly unlikely you'll see Banting on my squad again in the near future but I believe in him here.

Maybe you should consider...
Alejo Muniz

I believe Alejo is a fringe CT/QS surfer who will battle the cut-line his whole career, but I love the fact that he believes differently. Alejo believes he's a top-level surfer and the guy puts in work every day. I'll root for him.