I had some bad intel for Brazil. My contact on the ground in Rio might’ve been a little blinded by all the thongs and lost focus on the actual surfing. Medina didn’t look very hurt during the event, but then again, it’s pretty easy to ignore bad ankle for 30-minute stints if you stick a few needles in it. Happens in all sports when athletes have nagging injuries and who knows what kind of crazy deer antler shit you could buy in Brazil.
For Fiji, I did my picks without any intel from the event site. These picks right here are born from straight passion, like a child conceived under a full moon on prom night. They might not end up doing too well, but it sure was a hell of dance.—Jimmicane
I had a hard time depleting my budget on this dude, but I had to do it. He’s been quiet and unthreatening the past two events and it’s just weird. For a moment, I wondered if old age is finally beginning to take its toll. Then I saw a backside air sequence from Sebastian Inlet a couple days ago. Rest assured, this dude is still beasting.
But if Kelly’s gonna win another world title, it’ll be because he capitalizes at the places where he always dominates. Y’all have obviously seen Kelly Slater in Black and White. That was 1990. Old 11x has owned this wave since you were popping zits on your funny face and jerking off to the lingerie section of the Sears catalog. Those pages are still stuck together, and Slater is still king of Cloudbreak.
A lot of people think I hate Brazillians. That’s simply not true. I like just about every single one I’ve hung out with.
I've never hung out with Medina and I’ll openly admit to having a hard time becoming a fan of his. From what I’ve seen, the dude spends most of his free time crying (literally) about the judges, finding selfies for Instagram and burning people like he owns the ocean. That's why you won't see me ordering a MEDINA T-shirt and partying it up at Camp Gabriel with his parents on the beach anytime soon. Maybe he wants that villain role and the me-against-the-world attitude is what gets him fired up? I don’t know. But I just can’t deny him in Fiji. He wants it more than everyone not named Adriano (who is secretly battling him in one of the best underground rivalries surfing has ever seen). I’ll pick this guy up, but that doesn’t mean I’d be bummed if he peaced out in Round 2.
John John Florence
I’ve watched him surf a few times recently in California, then saw photos of his free surfs in Fiji. That ankle is looking A-OK. Expect him to do at least one mind blowing backside air on an impossible section after he gets spit out of a crazy tube.
For some guys on tour, prize money is an afterthought. For CJ, it’s his wife and three daughter’s food on the table. The total cost to stay on Fiji over the course of the waiting period is around $5,000 with a plane ticket. So he would have to make Round 5 in order to break even if the wife comes along. CJ doesn’t plan on breaking even when it comes to Cloudbreak. He plans on stacking 10-point rides and big face hundreds! I’ll throw my own stack up against anyone who wants to bet against him.
The bigger it is, the better. This Floridian goes. What WCT surfer was rushing harder than Damo during the legendary freesurf session last year? No one. He didn’t have anything close to a proper board for those conditions, but Damo still charged. Like John John, watch out for some psycho end section attempts onto dry reef. And pray that he meets up with his twin bro at some point because when those guys draw each other, it’s 30 minutes of all out brawling. They both surf better when they’re angry. Don't piss these guys off!
Remember when we were discussing Owen as a world title contender? I barely do either. The man had a contract year like Albert Haynesworth, then seemingly fell straight off the face of the earth. I’m calling him the dark horse on this one.
(Update: Owen has pulled out due to back injury. I replaced him with fellow Rip Curler, Matt Wilko.)
Volcom is throwing down a lot of loot for this event, which is doing the world a favor because Cloudbreak is the shit. Wouldn't it be nice to see some karma kickback? In the post-Bruce era, they desperately need their new #1 to fill those shoes. Dusty doesn't need to win, but at least show us something!
He’s fuckin Freddy P. One of the realest dudes to ever be on tour. I’m not sure how much longer he’ll be pulling it off, but he’s in Fiji ready to kick some ass and stay on the tour bubble. I was just reminiscing about when he snapped in the post-heat interview at Bells a few years ago and said how the commentators “Got his [Owen Wright’s] testicles so far up their mouth, this is bullshit.”
Well at least we get Dave Wassel, Ronnie Blakey, Chris Cote, Alex Gray and Wooly for commentators this time around. That’s a pretty entertaining lineup if you ask me, and not likely one where you’ll find a scrotum anywhere near an open mouth…Well, possibly in Cote’s a few times if Kelly decides to force-feed them…